On 12 May 2011 ICE published an expanded list of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degree programs that may qualify eligible students for an extension of Optional Practical Training (OPT) authorization in F-1 status. Under the post-graduation OPT authorization, foreign students who graduate from U.S. universities are eligible to remain in the country in F-1 status for up to 12 months to work in a field directly related to their major area of study. Students who graduate with designated STEM degrees and work for employers enrolled in E-Verify can remain for an additional 17 months on an OPT STEM extension. The new STEM designated programs list is a result of the current administration's efforts to address shortages in certain high-tech sectors of the U.S. economy.

The expanded STEM list added numerous designated degree programs, including degree programs in fields such as Animal and Food Sciences, Neuroscience, Biological and Physical Sciences, Psychology, Forensic Science, Medical Informatics, Pharmaceutics and Drug Design, Business Statistics, and Mathematics and Computer Science. View the complete list of ICE STEM-Designated Degree Programs. The newly added programs are indicated in bold.