The Norman Transcript

September 21, 2013

Immigration reformwould keep grads here

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Some of Oklahoma’s college presidents have spoken out in favor of Congress passing immigration reform legislation this year.

They maintain it will help the state’s economy if foreign students who are studying in engineering, math, science and health fields could have a path to stay here when they graduate.

It makes sense in fields where there is a great need for workers that Congress would pave the way for them to stay here. A study cited in the presidents’ letter suggests that 262 jobs are created for every 100 foreign-born graduates of a master’s or doctoral program who stays in the country and works in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field.

Gov. Mary Fallin has pushed for more college graduates to make the state more attractive for high-tech businesses that locate here. Universities, including the University of Oklahoma, have made raising the graduation rate a priority.

OU recently went to a flat-rate tuition in hopes of encouraging students to take additional hours and graduate on time. Once they graduate, those foreign students should have a way to stay and contribute to the state’s economy.