Baruch must update its STEM codes for international students


Mohamed Hassan | Pxhere

The Editorial Board

Baruch College must update its codes for STEM-related degree programs to support international students seeking employment after they graduate.

The Department of Homeland Security grants F-1 visas to international students who want to study in the United States. Approximately 1,600 international students are enrolled currently at Baruch.

International students may wish to stay in the country following their graduation and find work.

The Department of Homeland Security can authorize F-1 visa holders temporary employment in the United States, allowing them to undergo one year of optional practical training that is directly related to their degree.

For international students who studied science, technology, engineering and mathematics — otherwise known as STEM — they may also apply for a two-year extension from the department after this period.

The Department of Homeland Security includes a broad range of degree programs as part of the STEM fields. These majors include but are not limited to biological sciences, business, communication, journalism, marketing and psychology.

Baruch offers several majors that qualify in the department’s list of STEM-designated degree programs. But the college does not classify all the qualifying programs as part of the STEM fields.

By updating its STEM codes, Baruch would allow more international students to qualify for the two-year extension for optional practical training.

Baruch would also enable more international students to expand their job prospects beyond their home countries.

Additionally, qualifying international students will contribute to the local workforce, in turn bolstering the economy, especially as the country seeks to recover from employment losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Baruch’s Undergraduate Student Government drafts its academic resolution to update the college’s course codes, Provost Linda Essig should act to make the changes quickly. Otherwise, some of Baruch’s graduates will be deported before finding suitable employment.