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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 Michigan534,000
First-Generation Immigrant Students52,000
Second-Generation Immigrant Students85,000
International Students33,501

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 408,000 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 Education6,230
DACA-Eligible Students in Higher Education2,431
Undocumented Students Graduating High School Each Year1,000

Note: Undocumented students are a sub-group of first-generation students.

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 Education33,501
Economic Contributions of International Students in the State$1.3 billion
Jobs Supported by International Students in the State11,335
Optional Practical Training (OPT) Participants7,840

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 Michigan693,690
Immigrant Share of Total Population6.9%
Undocumented Immigrants in State93,141

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 Immigrants17.3%
Share of Nurses Who Are First-Generation Immigrants6.3%
Share of Health Aides Who Are First-Generation Immigrants5.7%
First-Generation Immigrant Faculty and Staff in Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools24,027
Share of First-Generation Immigrants With a Postsecondary Credential43%

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: Policies provide the state’s undocumented students, including DACA recipients, with access to in-state or reduced 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

Michigan provides eligible undocumented residents, including DACA recipients, with access to in-state tuition at some public colleges and universities.

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


In-State Tuition

Michigan does not have statewide policies that expand access to in-state tuition to the state’s undocumented students.

However, the governing boards of several public universities and community colleges, including the University of Michigan, have exercised their constitutional autonomy and formally adopted in-state tuition for undocumented students and DACA recipients. The Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents approved a tuition equity policy that establishes the same tuition cost for in-state, out-of-state, or out-of-country undergraduate students, including undocumented, DACA recipient, and refugee students.

Other colleges and universities may maintain informal tuition policies that allow undocumented students to access in-state tuition.

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

State Financial Aid

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

The Michigan Equity, Courage, Hope, and Opportunity (MI ECHO) Scholarship allows people living in Michigan access to associates degrees and certificate programs at in-state, public community or tribal colleges. This scholarship is designed for students who hold a status that prevents them from accessing federal financial aid. Examples of such students include: DACA recipients/undocumented students, Temporarily Protected Status (TPS) holders, Asylum pending; and Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJ).  The scholarship covers tuition, contact hours, and other mandatory fees. Through MI ECHO, students can earn an associates degree or certificate to gain stable employment and boost their standard of living. For more information, see their website here. 

Professional & Occupational Licensure

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

Michigan Professional Licensure Requirements & Business Registration

To learn more about professional/occupational licensure requirements, review TheDream.US & Immigrant Finance Resource guide here

To learn more about state business and tax registration requirements, review TheDream.US & Immigrant Finance Resource guide here. 

The information in these guides is based on outreach to the state’s specific licensing boards and each state’s business and tax agencies from April to July 2023 and is subject to change. To get up to date information on requirements, individuals should verify with the appropriate state agency. 

Driver Licenses

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

DACA recipients in Michigan 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

    Undocumented Students in Higher Education

    The new estimates show there are more than 408, 000 undocumented students enrolled in postsecondary education, representing about 1.9 percent of all postsecondary students. This estimate represents a decrease of 4.2 percent from 2019, when 427,000 undocumented students were enrolled.

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  • 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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