Logo for: President's Alliance Higher Education & Immigration

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 Maine72,000
First-Generation Immigrant Students1,000
Second-Generation Immigrant Students4,000
International Students1,492

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 Education1,492
Economic Contributions of International Students in the State$61 million
Jobs Supported by International Students in the State417
Optional Practical Training (OPT) Participants138

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 Maine49,517
Immigrant Share of Total Population3.7%

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 Immigrants6.2%
First-Generation Immigrant Faculty and Staff in Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools1,378
Share of First-Generation Immigrants With a Postsecondary Credential57%

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

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

However, some public colleges and universities in Maine may provide DACA recipients with access to in-state tuition.


In-State Tuition

Maine does not appear to have statewide policies concerning access to in-state tuition for undocumented students.

However, institutions within the University of Maine System can provide DACA recipients and other individuals with temporary protection with access to in-state tuition if the students meet the state’s standard residency requirements.

Refugee In-State Tuition: According to the University of Maine system policy, a non-U.S. citizen who has refugee status, and was resettled in Maine after arriving in the United States, is considered a Maine resident for tuition purposes. A non-U.S. citizen who has refugee status, and was first resettled in a U.S. state other than Maine, is eligible for Maine residency for tuition purposes provided that he/she meets the same requirements for establishing residency in Maine as are required of a United States citizen.

State Financial Aid

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

Professional & Occupational Licensure

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

Maine 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 Maine do not have access to a driver license or state identification card. Maine House Paper (H.P.) 1268, signed into law on June 19, 2019, requires the Maine Secretary of State to participate in the federal Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program for the exclusive purpose of verifying the lawful presence of non-U.S. citizen applicants for driver’s licenses or non-driver identification cards.

DACA recipients in Maine 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.

    Continue Reading
  • 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.

    Continue Reading