May 21, 2022

New Report/Data Analysis From Pew Research: “Number of Foreign College Students Staying and Working in U.S. After Graduation Surges”

The following report was released on May 10, 2018 by the Pew Research Center.

From the Report:

Between 2004 and 2016, nearly 1.5 million foreign graduates of U.S. colleges and universities obtained authorization to remain and work in the U.S. through the federal government’s Optional Practical Training program (OPT). More than half (53%) of the foreign graduates approved for employment specialized in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) data received through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Map showing that nearly three-quarters of the 1.5 million graduates on OPT came from Asia

Many foreign STEM graduates enrolled with OPT after executive actions in 2008 and 2016initially doubled (29 months), then later tripled (36 months), the maximum length of employment for foreign students with STEM degrees. The number of foreign STEM graduates participating in OPT grew by 400% since the first employment extension was introduced in 2008.

Report Resources

Direct to Full Text Report (HTML)

Direct to Full Text Report (44 pages; PDF)

Direct to Data Tool: Where Do Foreign Student Graduates Work in the United States?

Direct to Sortable Data Table: Foreign Students Who Stayed and Worked in the U.S. Under OPT After Graduation bu Metro Area, 2004-2016

See Also: Collection Development: Reference Resources Roundup (A Curated Collection of Recently Published or Updated Data-Rich Reports Available on the Web)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.