The International Center is implementing new fees to enhance services for and help offset the federal compliance costs associated with students applying for Optional Practical Training benefits. The new fees will be effective immediately, following the criteria listed below.
OPT is an important and valuable training opportunity for F-1 international students, with more than 400 MU students and recent graduates participating each year. The International Center currently provides the following support related to OPT:
- Conducts weekly, in-depth OPT workshops.
- Reviews and endorses applications (including additional review for OPT STEM applicants).
- Responds to employer inquiries regarding OPT and OPT STEM benefits.
- Reports changes to students’ employer and address information to SEVIS, the federal government’s nonimmigrant student exchange and visitor information system.
- Provides travel advice and signatures.
What is changing
New Optional Practical Training processing fees will be assessed as follows:
- $75 for initial OPT applications, starting with spring 2018 graduates
- $150 for OPT STEM extension applications for individuals whose current OPT authorization ends March 1, 2018, or later
Why it’s needed
To establish sustainable and fair funding for OPT support.
- Federal compliance requirements have increased in recent years, requiring additional staff time and resources.
- MU is legally required to continue providing support for those on OPT for anywhere from one to three years beyond graduation.
- The cost should be borne by those who use the service.
Benefits to students
In addition to covering existing compliance requirements, the International Center will use fee revenues to enhance OPT support through:
- Additional practical training and transition support services.
- Pre-paid expedited delivery and tracking for all initial OPT applications.
- Implementation of a new online portal to facilitate communication and allow students to review and update their records more efficiently.
Paying the fee
The fee will be paid by cash, check or money order as part of the new online OPT and OPT STEM extension request processes to be launched in early February.