ATEC Reaches out to White House to Address STEM Categorization of Aviation Programs

In a Jan. 22 memo, ATEC outlined an issue that has plagued aviation maintenance programs for some time. 

The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) controls the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) which provides a taxonomic scheme supporting the tracking and reporting of fields of study. The CIP codes are used by U.S. institutes of higher education to categorize the programs they offer.

Agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, utilize commonly-categorized fields of study to determine what is considered STEM and what is not. The memo focuses in on the use of the DHS STEM Designated Degree Program list,  used to administer the U.S. Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, which only considers three of the six commonly-utilized aviation program CIP codes as a “STEM field.”

The memo seeks to educate leaders at the While House Office of Science and Technology Policy on the issue in an effort to expand OPT opportunities for international students, and also grant opportunities which often rely on the DHS framework to set forth STEM program eligibility criteria.