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State Data

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 Florida1,068,000
First-Generation Immigrant Students240,000
Second-Generation Immigrant Students246,000
International Students46,221

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.

Undocumented Students in Higher Education40,152
DACA-Eligible Students in Higher Education12,161
Non-DACA Eligible Students in Higher Education27,991
Undocumented Students Graduating High School Each Year5,000

Note: Undocumented students are a sub-group of first-generation students.

International students comprise only 5.5 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 Education46,221
Economic Contributions of International Students in the State$1.5 billion
Jobs Supported by International Students in the State15,165
Optional Practical Training (OPT) Participants6,997

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 Florida4,523,312
Immigrant Share of Total Population21.1%
Undocumented Immigrants in State911,356
DACA-Eligible Residents in State68,903
Spending Power of DACA-Eligible Residents$1.087 billion
DACA-Eligible Residents Federal Tax Contributions$158.2 million
DACA-Eligible Residents State and Local Tax Contributions$131.8 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 Immigrants25.4%
Share of Nurses Who Are First-Generation Immigrants25.4%
Share of Health Aides Who Are First-Generation Immigrants44.7%
First-Generation Immigrant Faculty and Staff in Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools56,834

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).

State Policies

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

    Accessible: Policies provide statewide access to in-state tuition for the state's undocumented students, including DACA recipients.

  • 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

    Restrictive: Policies do not provide the state's undocumented residents with access to driver licenses and state identification, but DACA recipients can still obtain a driver's license or state identification card.

Enacted Policies

Florida provides eligible undocumented residents, including DACA recipients, with access to in-state tuition. The state enacted legislation that allows eligible undocumented residents with valid work authorization, including DACA recipients, to obtain a license to practice law.

Florida does not appear to provide undocumented residents with access to state financial aid and driver licenses  or state identification.

In-State Tuition

Florida House Bill (H.B.) 851, signed into law on June 9, 2014, allows certain undocumented students living in Florida, including DACA recipients, to access in-state tuition. Undocumented students must apply for an out-of-state fee waiver. They must meet certain requirements to apply for the out-of-state fee waiver, including:

  1. Attend a secondary school in Florida for at least three consecutive years before graduation;
  2. Enroll in a Florida public institution of higher education within 24 months after high school graduation; and,
  3. Submit an official Florida high school transcript as evidence of attendance and graduation.

Students who apply for an out-of-state fee waiver are not eligible for state financial aid.

State Financial Aid

Florida does not appear to have policies regarding access to state financial aid for undocumented students, including DACA recipients.

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 Florida, the following institutions are TheDream.US Partner Colleges:

  • Broward College;
  • Florida Atlantic University;
  • Florida International University;
  • Miami Dade College;
  • Palm Beach State;
  • University of Central Florida;
  • University of South Florida; and,
  • Valencia College.
Professional & Occupational Licensure

Florida’s CS/CS/H.B. 755, signed into law on May 12, 2014, authorizes the Florida Supreme Court to admit undocumented individuals with valid work authorization, including DACA recipients, into The Florida Bar to practice law in the state. Applicants must meet the following conditions to qualify:

  1. Brought to the United States as a minor;
  2. Present in the United States for more than 10 years;
  3. Has fulfilled all requirements for admission to practice law;
  4. Has written authorization for employment from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS);
  5. Has a Social Security Number (SSN); and,
  6. Registered with the Selective Service System if the applicant is male.
Driver Licenses

Undocumented immigrants in Florida do not have access to a driver license or state identification card. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles implemented new changes in July 2020 that require non-citizens to provide evidence of lawful presence in the U.S. and a Social Security Number (SSN) to obtain a driver’s license.

DACA recipients in Florida are allowed to obtain a driver license or state identification card.

Proposed Policies

Florida is considering legislation to expand access to state financial aid to undocumented students.

State Financial Aid

Florida Senate Bill (S.B.) 300, introduced on December 18, 2020, and  House Bill (H.B.) 923, introduced on February 10, 2021, would expand access to state financial aid to undocumented students who graduate from a Florida high school and meet other certain requirements.

Effective Practices and State Resources

Spotlight on effective practices and policy, research, or community-based state resources.

  • Research

    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
  • Effective Practice

    Promising Practices: Miami Dade College (REVEST Program)

    A vocational and educational training program for refugees, asylees, and legal permanent residents

    Continue Reading