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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 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 Idaho123,000
First-Generation Immigrant Students3,000
Second-Generation Immigrant Students11,000
International Students3,230

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 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 Education3,230
Economic Contributions of International Students in the State$63.8 million
Jobs Supported by International Students in the State455
Optional Practical Training (OPT) Participants240

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 Idaho93,320
Immigrant Share of Total Population5.2%
Undocumented Immigrants in State28,066
DACA-Eligible Residents in State3,390
Spending Power of DACA-Eligible Residents$67.1 million
DACA-Eligible Residents Federal Tax Contributions$9 million
DACA-Eligible Residents State and Local Tax Contributions$7.3 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 Health Aides Who Are First-Generation Immigrants10.4%
First-Generation Immigrant Faculty and Staff in Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools2,151
Share of First-Generation Immigrants With a Postsecondary Credential26%

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).

State Policies

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

    Limited to DACA: Policies provide the state’s DACA recipients with access to in-state tuition in at least some public institutions.

  • 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.

Enacted Policies

Idaho does not provide undocumented residents with access to in-state tuition or state financial aid. However, some public colleges and universities in Idaho may determine DACA recipients qualify for in-state tuition.

The state does not appear to have policies that expand access to occupational and professional licensure to undocumented individuals, including DACA recipients.

In-State Tuition

Idaho Senate Bill (S.B.) 1280, signed into law on March 22, 2016, requires students to be “lawfully present in the United States” to access in-state tuition. The Idaho State Board of Education permits public institutions to extend access to in-state tuition to students, potentially including DACA recipients, who meet Idaho’s “lawful presence” requirement as defined under Idaho Code 67-7901. Some public colleges and universities in Idaho may determine DACA recipients qualify for in-state tuition, because DACA recipients maintain lawful presence in the U.S.

Undocumented students without DACA are not eligible for in-state tuition in Idaho.

Refugee In-State Tuition: Idaho Statutes Section 33-3717B state that non-citizens who are lawfully present in Idaho may establish residency for in-state tuition purposes after one year of residency. The Idaho State Board of Education policy lists documents required that “prove” residency. 

State Financial Aid

Idaho does not appear to have policies regarding access to state financial aid for undocumented students.

However, DACA recipients may be eligible for some scholarships offered by the state and institutions if they meet residency requirements.

Professional & Occupational Licensure

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

Idaho Professional Licensure Requirements & Business Registration

To learn more about the licensure & business registration requirements, review TheDream.US & Immigrant Finance Resource Guide. The information in the guide is based on outreach to the state’s specific licensing boards from April to July 2023 and is subject to change. To get up to date information on licensure application requirements, individuals should verify this information with the licensing board.


Driver Licenses

Undocumented immigrants in Idaho do not have access to a driver license or state identification card.

DACA recipients in Idaho 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.

  • Research

    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
  • Research

    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.

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  • Research

    Report: Higher Education and Success for Undocumented Students Start with 9 Key Criteria

    Higher Education is the key to achieving social & economic mobility in the U.S. The Education Trust analyzed 9 criteria in the 15 states with the largest shares of undocumented college students to determine whether state policies are helping or hurting undocumented students’ ability to access & complete college.

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