Cornell University reclassified its economics major as a STEM program this week, joining the four other Ivy League universities which have also done so in the past year. Penn is not among their ranks.
Following months of lobbying by international students, Cornell administrators announced the policy change on Monday, the Cornell Daily Sun reported. The reclassification benefits international students receiving a degree in economics.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services permits international students to use their student visa, instead of a work visa, to remain and work in the U.S. for up to a year after graduation. Known as Optional Practice Training, this period can be extended by an additional two years for students majoring in STEM-designated programs.
This reclassification has become more prevalent among universities since the Department of Homeland Security designated "Econometric and Quantitative Economics" as a STEM degree program in 2012.
Among the Ivies, Columbia, Yale, Brown, and Princeton universities — in addition to Cornell — have recertified economics as a STEM major.
At Penn, the economics department offers two majors — economics and mathematical economics — to College students. While mathematical economics could be classified as a STEM major, economics is not.
Some international students at Penn have reportedly opted out of pursuing economics as a major in order to better secure their visas.
Following Yale's reclassification earlier this year, School of Arts and Sciences Dean Steven Fluharty told the Daily Pennsylvanian that the school was reconsidering its classification of economics as a social science.
"The Economics department has begun exploring whether it is appropriate to seek this classification for its undergraduate program,” Fluharty wrote in an email.
The University has yet to make further announcements on the matter.
Cornell is currently working to implement the policy change, the Cornell Sun reported. The change applies to all students who graduated in or after December 2017, including those who are currently enrolled.