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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 Mississippi169,000
First-Generation Immigrant Students2,000
Second-Generation Immigrant Students5,000
International Students3,361

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 Education3,361
Economic Contributions of International Students in the State$81.8 million
Jobs Supported by International Students in the State779
Optional Practical Training (OPT) Participants245

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 Mississippi63,444
Immigrant Share of Total Population2.1%
Undocumented Immigrants in State17,946

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 Immigrants6.4%
Share of Nurses Who Are First-Generation Immigrants2.3%
First-Generation Immigrant Faculty and Staff in Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools2,414

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

    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

    Limited: Policies allow individuals with work authorization, such as DACA recipients, to obtain occupational licensure in one or more professions that require licensure.

  • 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

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

However, some public colleges and universities in Mississippi may allow DACA recipients to access in-state tuition.

Mississippi affirmatively allows DACA recipients with valid work authorization to obtain a license to work as a professional counselor.

In-State Tuition

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

Certain public colleges and universities in Mississippi might allow eligible DACA recipients to access in-state tuition.

State Financial Aid

Mississippi requires in statutory law that students apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to obtain state financial aid. This policy likely limits the number of undocumented students in the state, including DACA recipients, who can access state financial aid.

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 Mississippi, undocumented and DACA students may be eligible for a scholarship to attend the following out-of-state institutions:

  • Christian Brothers University;
  • Delaware State University;
  • Eastern Connecticut State University; and,
  • Trinity Washington University (Women’s College).
Professional & Occupational Licensure

Mississippi House Bill (H.B.) 708, signed into law on March 19, 2018, allows individuals with work authorization, to obtain a license as a Provisional Licensed Professional Counselor if they meet all other requirements. Non-U.S. citizens applying for this license should provide, “an immigration document to verify legal alien work status in the United States. The immigration document must be current.”

DACA recipients with a valid employment authorization are eligible to apply for this license.

Driver Licenses

Undocumented immigrants in Mississippi do not have access to a driver license or state identification card. House Bill (H.B) 1371, signed into law on July 8, 2020, specifies that applicants for a Mississippi driver’s license must present evidence of U.S. citizenship, lawful status, or a valid employment authorization document (EAD), among other evidence accepted by the state.

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