Optional Practical Training (OPT)
If you have a student interested in Optional Practical Training (OPT), the student MUST be in the appropriate plan and degree level in PeopleSoft and the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) at least one semester before applying for OPT.
For all changes to a graduate student’s program or degree level, the Change of Graduate Classification (CGC) form must be turned in by the deadline indicated on the form (no later than one week before the first day of the term the change is to be effective). Any form submitted after that date will be for the following term: even for those students who are graduating.
This hard deadline is being applied because of difficulties created when international students change their major program at the last minute without appropriate authorization. It is federal policy [8 CFR Sec 214.2 (f)(10)(ii)(A)] that a student’s I-20 must match the plan (or major) listed at the university.
Students who graduate with degrees that are not accurately reflected in their Immigration record are not in compliance with federal regulations and thus may be denied OPT or even penalized by being determined ineligible for benefits and services by the US Government at a future date. This is especially true of international students wishing to be switched from a PhD degree to a Master’s degree who want the opportunity for an immediate OPT. To ensure that the University of Utah complies with federal policy, and to avoid issues with OPT approval, it is important that students and departments understand and adhere to the deadlines described.
Students, with department approval, must submit the CGC no later than one week before the first day of the term they want the change to take effect to ensure the student receives their updated I-20 in time to apply for OPT.
The Registrar’s Office, International Admissions and International Student & Scholar Services WILL NOT make an exception for students who are changing their major late for OPT beginning spring 2013.
NOTE: It is also important for domestic and international students to lock in their program at least two terms before they graduate to ensure no issues arise.
For questions, contact the International Student & Scholar Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.