This state page integrates student data, economic contributions, state policies, effective practices, and other resources to learn about and better support the state’s undocumented, other immigrant, and international students in higher education.
We classify Connecticut as a Comprehensive Access state in terms of inclusive in-state tuition and state financial aid policies for undocumented students. The Portal tracks state policies for undocumented students on in-state tuition, state financial aid, professional and occupational licensure, and driver licenses.
Higher education in the U.S. benefits from the participation of immigrant and international students. First and second-generation individuals comprise 28% of all students enrolled in higher education, a growing figure that underscores the importance of immigrant-origin students in the classroom and our workforce.
|All Students in Higher Education in Connecticut||197,000|
|First-Generation Immigrant Students||17,000|
|Second-Generation Immigrant Students||36,000|
Note: First-generation immigrants were born abroad and immigrated to the U.S. Second-generation immigrants are U.S.-born individuals with at least one immigrant parent. First-generation immigrants include undocumented immigrants. First-generation immigrants do not include international students on a visa.
The U.S. is home to more than 427,000 undocumented students enrolled in higher education. In their pursuit of higher education, undocumented students actively ready themselves to fill critical skill shortages and become better positioned to support their families, communities, and the U.S. economy.
|Share of All Students in Higher Education Who Are Undocumented||2.3%|
Note: Undocumented students are a sub-group of first-generation students.
International students comprise only 5 percent of all students in higher education, but provide significant economic, academic and cultural contributions that enrich learning, enrollment and funding opportunities for American students.
|International Students in Higher Education||11,778|
|Economic Contributions of International Students in the State||$411.6 million|
|Jobs Supported by International Students in the State||4,524|
|Optional Practical Training (OPT) Participants||1,842|
Note: Optional Practical Training participants are a subgroup of international students.
Immigrant residents, including undocumented immigrants and DACA-eligible residents, play an important role in the state's economy, contributing spending power and paying federal, state, and local taxes.
|All Immigrant Residents in Connecticut||522,787|
|Immigrant Share of Total Population||14.7%|
|Undocumented Immigrants in State||121,335|
|DACA-Eligible Residents in State||11,187|
|Spending Power of DACA-Eligible Residents||$220.5 million|
|DACA-Eligible Residents Federal Tax Contributions||$39.6 million|
|DACA-Eligible Residents State and Local Tax Contributions||$30 million|
Note: DACA-eligible residents are a sub-group of undocumented immigrant residents.
Higher education helps prepare all students, including immigrant and international students, to fill critical career and skills needs.
|State Immigrant Workers Fill Critical Skills Needs|
|Share of STEM Workers Who Are First-Generation Immigrants||23.9%|
|Share of Nurses Who Are First-Generation Immigrants||15.1%|
|Share of Health Aides Who Are First-Generation Immigrants||29.6%|
|First-Generation Immigrant Faculty and Staff in Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools||13,807|
Note: First-generation immigrants were born abroad and immigrated to the U.S.
You can find additional state data, including by congressional district, in the following resources by immigrant population (NAE) and international students (NAFSA).
Evaluating Access for Undocumented Students
State policies in four key areas – in state tuition, state financial aid, professional and occupational licensure, and driver licenses – play an important role in expanding access to higher education and workforce development for undocumented students.
In-State Tuition & State Financial Aid Access and Affordability
Comprehensive Access: Policies provide statewide access to in-state tuition and some state financial aid or scholarships for the state's resident DACA recipients and undocumented students.
Professional & Occupational Licensure Workforce Entry & Eligibility
Limited: Policies allow individuals with work authorization, such as DACA recipients, to obtain occupational licensure in one or more professions that require licensure.
Driver Licenses & Identification Mobility
Accessible: Policies provide the state’s undocumented residents with access to driver licenses and/or state identification regardless of their immigration status, but these are not REAL ID compliant.
Connecticut House Bill (H.B.) 6844, signed into law on June 19, 2015, allows undocumented students, including DACA recipients, to access in-state tuition at the state’s public colleges and universities. Students must meet certain requirements to access in-state tuition, including:
- Reside in Connecticut;
- Complete at least 2 years of high school in Connecticut;
- Graduate from a high school or its equivalent in Connecticut; and,
- Is registered or enrolled at a public institution of higher education in Connecticut.
The bill also requires that the individual file an affidavit with the institution of higher education stating that they have filed an application to legalize their immigration status or will file when eligible to do so.
Connecticut Public Act (P.A.) 18-2, enacted on April 27, 2018, provides undocumented students, including DACA recipients, with access to institutional financial aid. Students must meet certain requirements to access state financial aid, including:
- Be classified as an in-state student for tuition purposes;
- Thirty years of age or younger on June 15, 2012;
- Sixteen years of age or younger when they arrived in the United States and have continuously resided in the United States since such arrival; and,
- Have not been convicted of a felony in the state or another state.
Additional Financial Aid
TheDream.US is a national organization that offers scholarships to DACA and undocumented students attending eligible postsecondary institutions across the country. In Connecticut, the following institution is a TheDream.US Partner College:
- Eastern Connecticut State University.
Current regulations allow eligible DACA recipients to get a license to practice law. The Connecticut Bar Examining Committee Rules of the Superior Court Regulating Admission to the Bar, effective July 3, 2018, states that all applicants must be a citizen of the United States or an individual lawfully residing in the United States, including DACA recipients with valid work authorization.
Undocumented immigrants living in Connecticut are eligible to obtain a driver license. Public Act (P.A.) 2013-89, enacted on June 6, 2013, allows undocumented residents living in Connecticut to receive “Drive-Only Licenses” if they meet certain requirements, including showing proof of identity and residency as well as filing an affidavit promising to legalize when eligible.
In 2007, the city of New Haven started an identification resident card program that provides local government-issued identification cards for all New Haven residents, including undocumented immigrants. The identification cards, known as Elm City Resident Cards, allow individuals to open bank accounts and obtain access to public libraries, parks, and recreational services, among other benefits.
DACA recipients in Connecticut are also allowed to obtain a driver license or state identification card.
Effective Practices and State Resources
Spotlight on effective practices and policy, research, or community-based state resources.
Undocumented Students in Higher Education (Updated March 2021)
More than 427,000 undocumented students in the U.S. are enrolled in higher education, including 181,000 DACA-eligible individuals.Continue Reading
College Presidents with Undocumented Students: Eastern Connecticut State University
Eastern Connecticut State University has been active and vocal in building institutional support for undocumented students since 2016.Continue Reading
Higher Ed Guide to Tuition, Financial Aid, & Other Funding Opportunities for Undocumented Students
An overview of in-state tuition, state aid, and other funding opportunities for undocumented students.Continue Reading