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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 Maryland361,000
First-Generation Immigrant Students43,000
Second-Generation Immigrant Students69,000
International Students19,651

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.

Undocumented Students in Higher Education9,730
Undocumented Students Graduating High School Each Year2,000

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 Education19,651
Economic Contributions of International Students in the State$773.5 million
Jobs Supported by International Students in the State8,570
Optional Practical Training (OPT) Participants3,808

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 Maryland922,441
Immigrant Share of Total Population15.3%
Undocumented Immigrants in State237,845
DACA-Eligible Residents in State15,485
Spending Power of DACA-Eligible Residents$285.5 million
DACA-Eligible Residents Federal Tax Contributions$45.6 million
DACA-Eligible Residents State and Local Tax Contributions$36.1 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 Immigrants22.2%
Share of Nurses Who Are First-Generation Immigrants26.7%
Share of Health Aides Who Are First-Generation Immigrants39.5%
First-Generation Immigrant Faculty and Staff in Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools26,561
Share of First-Generation Immigrants With a Postsecondary Credential66%

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

    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

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

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

In-State Tuition

Maryland Senate Bill (S.B.) 167, signed into law on May 10, 2011, allows eligible undocumented students, including DACA recipients, to pay in-state tuition at the state’s public colleges and universities.

Undocumented students must attend a Maryland community college to qualify for in-state tuition at a public four-year institution. To qualify for in-state tuition at a community college, students must meet the following conditions:

  1. Attended a Maryland secondary school for a least three years;
  2. Graduated from a Maryland high school or received a GED;
  3. Register at a Maryland community college within four years of high school graduation or receiving a GED;
  4. Provide documentation that the student or the student’s parent or legal guardian has filed an annual Maryland income tax return for three years the individual attended a high school in the state, any period before attending community college, and the period of attendance; and,
  5. Sign an affidavit stating that they will apply for permanent residency within 30 days of becoming eligible.

Undocumented students are eligible for in-state tuition at a state four-year college or university once they earn an associate’s degree or complete 60 credits at a Maryland community college. Students must also meet all other conditions for in-state tuition at community colleges and register at a public four-year institution within four years of finishing a community college degree or earning 60 credits.

Refugee In-State Tuition: To be eligible for in-state tuition, noncitizens must have the “legal ability under Federal and Maryland law to live permanently and without interruption in Maryland.” See the University System of Maryland VIII-2.70 Policy on Student Classification for Admission and Tuition Purposes.

State Financial Aid

Maryland Senate Bill (S.B.) 532, enacted on May 26, 2018, and House Bill (H.B.) 262, enacted on X, extend eligibility to state financial aid to undocumented students, including DACA recipients, who meet the conditions for in-state tuition and fill out the Maryland State Financial Aid Application (MSFAA).

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 Maryland, the following institution is a TheDream.US Partner College:

  • St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
Professional & Occupational Licensure

Maryland 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 Maryland are eligible to obtain a driver license. Senate Bill (S.B.) 715, signed into law on May 2, 2013, provides undocumented immigrants the ability to apply for non-compliant driver’s licenses or state identification cards. Undocumented residents must meet certain requirements to apply for a driver license, including obtaining an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) and filing Maryland income taxes for the 2 years before seeking a driver’s license.

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

Proposed Policies

Maryland is considering legislation that would affirmatively provide undocumented individuals with access to professional and occupational licensure.

Professional & Occupational Licensure

Maryland Senate Bill (S.B) 523/House Bill (H.B.) 533, introduced on January 28, 2022 and January 21, 2022, respectively, would prohibit a state occupational or professional licensing board from denying an occupational or professional license, certification, or registration to an immigrant if the individual meets all educational, training, or professional requirements for licensure, certification, or registration, regardless of their immigration status. For purposes of this bill, an “immigrant” means an individual:

  • (1) Whose country of origin is a country other than the United States; 
  • (2) Who is not a citizen of the United States; and,
  • (3) Who is a resident of the state.


The following narratives highlight stories of immigrant, refugee, and international students, alumni, and scholars, including in their own words or as shared publicly.

  • Narrative

    Student Narrative: Camila Salkov

    Originally from Chile, Camila Salkov came to the U.S. at the age of 16. She received a B.S. and a Master’s degree and her greatest satisfaction comes from being an accountant.

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  • Narrative

    Student Narrative: Johanna Vazquez Coto

    Born in El Salvador, Johanna Vasquez now has a degree in Early Childhood Education and supports young children through the education system to succeed no matter their background.

    Continue Reading

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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  • Policy

    Extending Access to Professional Licenses in Maryland: Issue Brief

    This resource provides an overview of the benefits of providing undocumented individuals who live in Maryland with access to professional and occupational licenses, including the policy's economic benefits and opportunities to alleviate workforce shortages.

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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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