Thursday night, President Barack Obama announced his plans for immigration reform, and among those plans is expanding and extending the federal Optional Practical Training (OPT) program so foreign students can work in the U.S. while in college and afterwards for a longer period of time (via U.S. News & World Report).

According to the Washington Post, student participation in the OPT program has tripled since 2008.

Currently, students who study STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering or math) can stay in the U.S. on visas for 29 months after graduating. The president aims to lengthen students' visas and expand the definition of STEM.

If the plan succeeds, foreign students and recent grads from U.S. colleges will see more opportunities to land high-tech jobs in the U.S.

"Are we a nation that educates the world’s best and brightest in our universities, only to send them home to create businesses in countries that compete against us? Or are we a nation that encourages them to stay and create jobs here, create businesses here, create industries right here in America?" asked Obama Thursday.