The Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration commissioned a Migration Policy Institute-produced report, Immigrant-Origin Students in U.S. Higher Education, demonstrating that, in 2018, more than 5.3 million students, or 28% of all students enrolled in colleges and universities, were immigrants or the children of immigrants. The report’s findings reveal the growing proportion of first and second generation immigrant students in postsecondary education, the diversity of these students, and their importance for future U.S. labor growth. The report’s findings also show the direct impacts and real-life consequences that immigration policies can have on millions of students and families.
To download U.S. and state-level data on enrollment and other characteristics for first- and second-generation students, click here.
Among the report’s key findings:
- The United States is home to 5.3 million immigrant-origin students enrolled in U.S. higher education institutions. First-generation immigrants, individuals born abroad who immigrated to the U.S, account for 1.7 million students. Second-generation immigrants, persons born in the U.S. to one or more immigrants parents, account for 3.6 million students.
- The proportion of immigrant-origin students as a share of all students in higher education in the United States was 28% in 2018, up from 20% in 2000. Immigrant-origin students accounted for 60% of the increase in all post-secondary education students between 2000 to 2018.
- Immigrant-origin students are a heterogeneous population. The report finds that 63% of Latinx/Hispanic students are first- or second-generation immigrants, as are 85% of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students and 24% of Black students.
- In nine states, immigrant-origin students make up more than 30% of all students in higher education (CA, FL, HI, MA, NJ, NV, NY, TX, WA). There are 32 states with at least 20,000 immigrant-origin students in higher education.
Last Updated: October 2020.