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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 Hawaii62,000
First-Generation Immigrant Students6,000
Second-Generation Immigrant Students22,000
International Students3,706

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.

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 Education3,706
Economic Contributions of International Students in the State$107.5 million
Jobs Supported by International Students in the State882
Optional Practical Training (OPT) Participants310

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 Hawaii269,448
Immigrant Share of Total Population19%
Undocumented Immigrants in State39,826
DACA-Eligible Residents in State3,974
Spending Power of DACA-Eligible Residents$76.7 million
DACA-Eligible Residents Federal Tax Contributions$17.2 million
DACA-Eligible Residents State and Local Tax Contributions$13.7 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 Immigrants14.3%
Share of Nurses Who Are First-Generation Immigrants24%
Share of Health Aides Who Are First-Generation Immigrants48.2%
First-Generation Immigrant Faculty and Staff in Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools4,587

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

    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

    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

    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.

Enacted Policies

Hawaii provides eligible undocumented residents, including DACA recipients, with access to in-state tuition, state financial aid, and driver licenses and state identification.

Hawaii does not appear to have legislation that extends occupational and professional licensure to undocumented individuals, including DACA recipients.

 

In-State Tuition

Hawaii provides undocumented students, including DACA recipients, with access to in-state tuition at the state’s public colleges and universities. The University of Hawaii system, which encompasses all public colleges and universities in the state, has expanded access to in-state tuition to the state’s undocumented students.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents Policy 6.209 states that undocumented students must meet the following residency requirements to access in-state tuition:

  1. Establish residency by domiciling and being physically present in Hawaii for 12 months;
  2. Attended a public or private high school in the United States for at least three years and graduated from or attained the equivalent of such from a U.S. high school; and,
  3. Filed an application for DACA or for legal immigration status, or filed an affidavit with the university affirming the student’s intent to file such an application as soon as the student is able.

Hawaii Statute Section 304A-402 allows the University of Hawaii Board of Regents to expand access to resident tuition fees to individuals, including undocumented students, living in Hawaii.

State Financial Aid

Hawaii provides undocumented students, including DACA recipients, with access to state financial aid. The University of Hawaii Board of Regents Policy 6.209 states that undocumented students who meet the Hawaii residency requirements are eligible for state financial aid.

Professional & Occupational Licensure

Hawaii does not appear to have legislation that affirmatively extends occupational and professional licensure to undocumented individuals, including DACA recipients.

Driver Licenses

Undocumented immigrants living in Hawaii are eligible to obtain a driver license. House Bill (H.B.) 1007, passed on July 2, 2015, permits the state’s undocumented residents to apply for a driver’s license if they show proof of identity and residency. These licenses cannot be used for federal identification purposes.

DACA recipients in Hawaii are 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.

  • Effective Practice

    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
  • Research

    Immigrant-Origin Students in U.S. Higher Education

    The report shows 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.

    Continue Reading