Bioenergy Added to List of DHS STEM Designated Degree Programs
On January 21, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Department of Homeland Security announced that it had added bioenergy to the list of DHS STEM Designated Degree Programs, making certain nonimmigrant students F -1 bioenergy degree holders eligible to apply for a 24-month extension of their optional Post-Graduation Practical Training (OPT).
The DHS STEM Designated Degree Programs list is used to determine whether a degree earned by certain F-1 nonimmigrant students after completion of a program of study that qualifies as a science, technology, engineering, or math degree (STEM) as determined by DHS, allows the = student to be eligible to apply for a 24-month extension of their post-completion OPT. Bioenergy is one of 22 eligible fields of study added to the list on January 21.
Foreign students pursuing college and/or language training programs are classified as F-1 nonimmigrants. The OPT provides hands-on training experience directly related to a study’s major area of study. Upon completion of a degree program, the US government may authorize F-1 study for up to 12 months of OPT. F-1 students who receive an eligible STEM bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree may apply for a 24-month extension of their OPT. With the January 21 notice from DHS, F-1 students with a bioenergy degree are now eligible to apply for this extension.
The DHS advisory defines bioenergy as a program of study that focuses on the environmental and economic impact of using plants and microbes for the production of biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, including l teaching biochemical engineering, bioprocesses, bioseparations, conversion, raw materials, economics, environmental sustainability, hydrology and natural resource management. The field of study includes STEO disciplines such as research, innovation and development of new technologies using biological sciences.
A complete copy of the notice is available on the Federal Register website.