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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 Kentucky263,000
First-Generation Immigrant Students13,000
Second-Generation Immigrant Students11,000
International Students8,891

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 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 Education8,891
Economic Contributions of International Students in the State$252.3 million
Jobs Supported by International Students in the State1,716
Optional Practical Training (OPT) Participants627

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 Kentucky188,771
Immigrant Share of Total Population4.2%
Undocumented Immigrants in State49,336
DACA-Eligible Residents in State4,247
Spending Power of DACA-Eligible Residents$75 million
DACA-Eligible Residents Federal Tax Contributions$15 million
DACA-Eligible Residents State and Local Tax Contributions$10 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 Immigrants2.9%
Share of Health Aides Who Are First-Generation Immigrants3.7%
First-Generation Immigrant Faculty and Staff in Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools7,337
Share of First-Generation Immigrants With a Postsecondary Credential38%

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

    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

Kentucky provides eligible undocumented residents, including DACA recipients, with access to in-state tuition. The state does not appear to have legislation that extends occupational and professional licensure to undocumented individuals, including DACA recipients.

Kentucky does not provide undocumented residents with access to state financial aid or driver licenses and state identification. However, displaced students might be eligible for certain scholarships in fiscal year (FY) 2022-2023.

 

In-State Tuition

Kentucky’s Residency Regulatory 13 KAR 2:045, which went into effect in July 2015, allows undocumented students living in Kentucky, including DACA recipients, to access in-state tuition.

Under the policy, undocumented students must graduate from a Kentucky high school to access in-state tuition.

State Financial Aid

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

Kentucky’s General Assembly passed House Bill 1 in 2022, which provides $10 million in funding for an “Innovative Scholarship Pilot Program” to develop and implement a pilot project to provide college access and promote undergraduate student success for displaced students and students participating in international exchange programs. The bill directs the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority to work in coordination with the Council on Postsecondary Education to establish the pilot program for fiscal year 2022-2023. The pilot project will support scholarships for displaced students, scholarships to promote international exchange, and a state-level community of practice. Under the program, a “displaced student” is defined as a traditional or non-traditional aged student who has received U.S. asylum (asylees), submitted a U.S. asylum application (asylum-seeker), is a resettled refugee, or is in the U.S. under Temporary Protected Status (TPS), humanitarian parole, or through a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV).
Professional & Occupational Licensure

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

Driver Licenses

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

DACA recipients in Kentucky 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.

  • Policy

    Kentucky Innovative Scholarship Pilot Project

    Kentucky is piloting an innovative approach to both supporting displaced students and promoting a trained and retained workforce in their state. The state is leveraging existing state funds to provide scholarships  and create a state-wide higher ed community of practice on how to enroll and support displaced students.

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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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  • 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.

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