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 Georgia as a Prohibitive 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 31% 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 Georgia||629,000|
|First-Generation Immigrant Students||42,000|
|Second-Generation Immigrant Students||84,000|
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 408,000 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 Education||11,945|
|DACA-Eligible Students in Higher Education||5,691|
|Undocumented Students Graduating High School Each Year||4,000|
Note: Undocumented students are a sub-group of first-generation students.
International students comprise only 4 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||26,450|
|Economic Contributions of International Students in the State||$951.7 million|
|Jobs Supported by International Students in the State||8,842|
|Optional Practical Training (OPT) Participants||7,035|
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 Georgia||1,089,506|
|Immigrant Share of Total Population||10.1%|
|Undocumented Immigrants in State||312,034|
|DACA-Eligible Residents in State||30,734|
|Spending Power of DACA-Eligible Residents||$772.8 million|
|DACA-Eligible Residents Federal Tax Contributions||$127.9 million|
|DACA-Eligible Residents State and Local Tax Contributions||$97.5 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||20.2%|
|Share of Nurses Who Are First-Generation Immigrants||12.7%|
|Share of Health Aides Who Are First-Generation Immigrants||16.6%|
|First-Generation Immigrant Faculty and Staff in Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools||23,057|
|Share of First-Generation Immigrants With a Postsecondary Credential||52%|
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 (AIC) and international students (NAFSA).
Evaluating Access for Undocumented & Refugee 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. The section below on in-state tuition also includes policies related to refugee students.
In-State Tuition & State Financial Aid Access and Affordability
Prohibitive Enrollment: Policies actively bar enrollment in all or certain public institutions for the state’s undocumented students, but may still allow DACA recipients to enroll.
Professional & Occupational Licensure Workforce Entry & Eligibility
No State Policy: No policies identified that actively expand access to occupational licensure for individuals who do not have legal immigration status.
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.
Georgia prohibits undocumented residents, including DACA recipients, from enrolling in certain public universities. Georgia also blocks undocumented residents, including DACA recipients, from accessing in-state tuition or state financial aid at any public university or college.
Georgia Senate Bill (S.B.) 492, signed into law on May 14, 2008, requires the state’s undocumented students, including DACA recipients, to pay out-of-state tuition.
Georgia Board of Regents Policy 4.1.6 prohibits undocumented students from enrolling in any University of Georgia institution that did not admit all academically qualified applicants in the two most recent academic years, save for cases where the institution rejected the student for non-academic reasons. The policy effectively bars undocumented students, including DACA recipients, from enrolling in some of the state’s most prestigious public colleges and universities, including:
- Georgia Institute of Technology,
- Georgia College & State University,
- University of Georgia.
A federal appeals court upheld the validity of Policy 4.1.6 in March 2019.
Georgia House Bill (H.B.) 444, signed into law in April 2020, allows students, regardless of their immigration status, to participate in dual enrollment programs at no cost.
Refugee In-State Tuition: The University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents policy manual describes several categories of non-citizens as eligible for classification as Georgia residents for in-state tuition purposes. Eligible non-citizens are defined as a person who, in accordance with the Federal Title IV Programs Regulations, is a United States permanent resident with a permanent resident alien card (I-551); or a conditional permanent resident (I-551C); or the holder of an ArrivalDeparture Record (I-94) from the Department of Homeland Security showing any one of the following designations: “refugee,” “asylum granted,” “parolee” (I-94 confirms paroled for a minimum of one year and status has not expired); or “Cuban-Haitian entrant.” Victims of human trafficking, in accordance with the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, may also be considered Eligible Non-Citizens.
Georgia Senate Bill (S.B.) 492 prohibits the state’s undocumented students, including DACA recipients, from accessing state financial aid.
Additional Financial Aid
TheDream.US is a national organization that offers scholarships to students with or without DACA or TPS attending eligible postsecondary institutions across the country. In Georgia, the following institution is a TheDream.US Partner College:
- Oglethorpe University (Private)
In addition, students with or without DACA or TPS may be eligible for an out-of-state scholarship to attend the following institutions:
- Christian Brothers University
- Delaware State University
- Eastern Connecticut State University
- Trinity Washington University (Women’s College)
- Dominican University
Georgia does not appear to have legislation that affirmatively extends occupational and professional licensure to undocumented individuals, including DACA recipients.
Georgia Professional Licensure Requirements & Business Registration
To learn more about professional/occupational licensure requirements, review TheDream.US & Immigrant Finance Resource guide here.
To learn more about state business and tax registration requirements, review TheDream.US & Immigrant Finance Resource guide here.
The information in these guides is based on outreach to the state’s specific licensing boards and each state’s business and tax agencies from April to July 2023 and is subject to change. To get up to date information on requirements, individuals should verify with the appropriate state agency.
Undocumented immigrants in Georgia do not have access to a driver license or state identification card. The Georgia Department of Driver Services requires 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 Georgia are allowed to obtain a driver license or state identification card.
Georgia is considering legislation to expand access to reduced tuition to the state’s DACA recipients, noncitizen students with refugee or special immigrant status, and Afghan citizens and nationals on humanitarian parole.
Georgia House Bill (H.B.) 120, introduced on March 31, 2021, would grant Georgia public colleges and universities the ability to set “opportunity tuition rates” for the state’s DACA recipients. These rates would be between 100 percent to 110 percent of the standard in-state tuition rate. To qualify, students must be DACA recipients, have graduated from a Georgia high school or an equivalent, and lived in Georgia since at least January 1, 2013, among other requirements.
DACA recipients would still not be able to enroll in some of the state’s top research universities, such as Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia.
Georgia House Bill (H.B.) 932, introduced on January 14, 2022, would allow noncitizen students with refugee or special immigrant status and Afghan citizens and nationals on humanitarian parole to access in-state tuition if they meet certain requirements.
Effective Practices and State Resources
Spotlight on effective practices and policy, research, or community-based state resources.
Undocumented Students in Higher Education
The new estimates show there are more than 408, 000 undocumented students enrolled in postsecondary education, representing about 1.9 percent of all postsecondary students. This estimate represents a decrease of 4.2 percent from 2019, when 427,000 undocumented students were enrolled.Continue Reading
Immigrant-Origin Students in U.S. Higher Education (Updated August 2023)
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.Continue Reading
Report: The Post-DACA Generation is Here
A new report finds that an estimated 120,000 undocumented students will graduate from high school in 2023, with most of them not eligible for DACA. The new FWD.us report, published in May 2023, The Post-DACA Generation is Here, explains how DACA’s unavailability impacts undocumented youth in the U.S.Continue Reading