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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 Minnesota409,000
First-Generation Immigrant Students12,000
Second-Generation Immigrant Students26,000
International Students15,378

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 5.5 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 Education15,378
Economic Contributions of International Students in the State$467.7 million
Jobs Supported by International Students in the State4,202
Optional Practical Training (OPT) Participants2,265

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 Minnesota476,556
Immigrant Share of Total Population8.5%
Undocumented Immigrants in State75,510
DACA-Eligible Residents in State7,189
Spending Power of DACA-Eligible Residents$171.3 million
DACA-Eligible Residents Federal Tax Contributions$32.1 million
DACA-Eligible Residents State and Local Tax Contributions$21.1 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 Immigrants14.2%
Share of Nurses Who Are First-Generation Immigrants9.5%
Share of Health Aides Who Are First-Generation Immigrants24.8%
First-Generation Immigrant Faculty and Staff in Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools14,619

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

    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

    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

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

Minnesota does not provide undocumented residents with access to driver licenses and state identification.

In-State Tuition

The Minnesota Dream Act, signed into law on May 23, 2013 as part of an omnibus higher education bill, provides the state’s undocumented students, including DACA recipients, with access to in-state tuition. Students must meet certain requirements to access in-state tuition, including:

  1. Attended a high school in the state for at least 3 years;
  2. Graduated from a Minnesota high school or earned a GED;
  3. Registered with the U.S. Selective Service (males 18 to 25 years old); and,
  4. Provide documentation to show they applied for lawful immigration status, but only if a federal process exists. There is currently no federal process in place for DACA recipients and undocumented students to apply for lawful immigration status, so this documentation is not required at the moment.

Certain public colleges and universities in Minnesota offer access to in-state tuition to all students regardless of their immigration status or state of residence, including students who do not qualify for the Minnesota Dream Act.

The Minnesota Dream Act is also known as the Prosperity Act.

State Financial Aid

The Minnesota DREAM Act provides eligible undocumented students, including DACA recipients, with access to state financial aid.

Students may also be eligible for privately funded financial aid through public colleges and universities if they meet the state’s residency requirements.

Professional & Occupational Licensure

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

Driver Licenses

Undocumented immigrants in Minnesota do not have access to a driver license or state identification card. According to the Minnesota Administrative Rules, all applicants for a driver’s license, driving permit, or state identification card need to provide proof of residency in Minnesota and lawful status in the United States.

DACA recipients in Minnesota 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.

  • 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.

    Continue Reading
  • Research

    Immigrant-Origin Students in U.S. Higher Education

    The report shows that, in 2018, more than 5.3 million students, or 28% of all students enrolled in colleges and universities, were immigrants or the children of immigrants.

    Continue Reading