After 9-11, Congress required Immigration and Customs Enforcement to better track international students. So in 2003, ICE implemented a database for the students called the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Laurie Cox, UW Madison's International Student Services Director, says SEVIS allows universities can collect the information about students. Additionally, students can get a print out of their information to bring to their respective consulate for the student visa process. Fees are going up in October to pay for a more efficient, paperless SEVIS that even students can update with things like address changes.
The new mandate also gives students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors more time to work in the US. STEM students can be granted an additional 17 months for "optional practical training."
Cox says it will allow these students more time to complete research as well as work for companies who cannot give work visas. She says the government believes having these minds in the country longer will benefit the US.