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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 Indiana388,000
First-Generation Immigrant Students7,000
Second-Generation Immigrant Students17,000
International Students24,628

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 Undocumented1.2%

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 Education24,628
Economic Contributions of International Students in the State$785.1 million
Jobs Supported by International Students in the State7,837
Optional Practical Training (OPT) Participants2,308

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 Indiana360,076
Immigrant Share of Total Population5.3%
Undocumented Immigrants in State101,773
DACA-Eligible Residents in State11,155
Spending Power of DACA-Eligible Residents$180.8 million
DACA-Eligible Residents Federal Tax Contributions$26.4 million
DACA-Eligible Residents State and Local Tax Contributions$26.8 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 Nurses Who Are First-Generation Immigrants3.2%
Share of Health Aides Who Are First-Generation Immigrants3.6%
First-Generation Immigrant Faculty and Staff in Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools19,587
Share of First-Generation Immigrants With a Postsecondary Credential44%

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

    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

Indiana does not provide undocumented residents with access to in-state tuition, state financial aid, or driver licenses and state identification.

However, some public colleges and universities in Indiana may determine DACA recipients qualify for in-state tuition. The state extends occupational and professional licensure to eligible DACA recipients in more than 70 professions.

In-State Tuition

Indiana House Bill (H.B.) 1402, signed into law on May 10, 2011, prohibits undocumented students living in Indiana who are “not lawfully present” from accessing in-state tuition. Indiana Senate Bill (S.B.) 207, signed into law on May 7, 2013, does not require state educational institutions from verifying the legal status of students if the students:

  1. Enrolled at an Indiana state college or university prior to July 1, 2011;
  2. Are eligible to pay the in-state tuition rate of the state educational institution; and,
  3. Are not applying for any state, local, or federal public benefit other than the in-state tuition rate.

Undocumented students enrolling in Indiana public colleges and universities after July 1, 2011 are considered out-of-state for tuition purposes.

Some public colleges and universities in Indiana may determine DACA recipients qualify for in-state tuition if they meet the state’s standard residency requirements, because DACA recipients maintain lawful presence in the U.S.

Refugee In-State Tuition: Indiana does not appear to have state policies that expand access to in-state tuition to the state’s refugee students. Policies may vary by institution.

State Financial Aid

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

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 Indiana, undocumented and DACA students may be eligible for a scholarship to attend the following out-of-state institutions:

  • Christian Brothers University;
  • Delaware State University;
  • Eastern Connecticut State University; and,
  • Trinity Washington University (Women’s College)
Professional & Occupational Licensure

Indiana Senate Bill (S.B.) 419, signed into law on March 21, 2018, allows DACA recipients with valid work authorization to obtain occupational and professional licenses managed by the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency. This includes more than 70 professions, such as nursing, architecture, and cosmetology.

Driver Licenses

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

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

Proposed Policies

Indiana has proposed legislation that would expand driver’s license and In-State Tuition access to undocumented residents of the state.

Driver Licenses

Indiana House Bill (H.B.) 1195, introduced on January 6, 2022, by Rep. Michael Karickhoff (R-IN), would allow individuals who are Indiana residents and cannot provide proof of lawful status in the United States to apply for a driver’s license or driver’s learning permit to obtain driving privileges. The bill was referred to the Committee on Roads and Transportation. 

These driver’s licenses cannot be used for federal identification, voting purposes, or employment verification. Any licensed driver or permit holder would have to continuously verify and maintain financial responsibility on any motor vehicle that the individual operates. 

In-State Tuition
Indiana Senate Bill 135, introduced January 9, 2023 by Sens. Blake Doriot (R-IN) and Sen. David Niezgodski (D-IN) would allow undocumented students in Indiana to qualify for in-state tuition if they meet certain requirements. Among some of the requirements students must attend an Indiana high school for four years, graduate with an Indiana high school diploma or GED. The students must also submit an affidavit to the university stating their intent to become an American citizen when eligible. The bill had its first reading on January 9, 2023 and was referred to the Committee on Education and Career Development.

Effective Practices and State Resources

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

  • 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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  • Research

    Report: The Post-DACA Generation is Here

    A new report finds that an estimated 100,000 undocumented students will graduate from high school in 2022, with most of them not eligible for DACA. The new FWD.us report, published in May 2022, The Post-DACA Generation is Here, explains how DACA’s unavailability impacts undocumented youth in the U.S.

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  • 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