This state page integrates student data, economic contributions, state policies, effective practices, and other resources to learn about and better support the state’s undocumented, other immigrant, and international students in higher education.
We classify Mississippi as a Limited to DACA state in terms of inclusive in-state tuition and state financial aid policies for undocumented students. The Portal tracks state policies for undocumented students on in-state tuition, state financial aid, professional and occupational licensure, and driver licenses.
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 Mississippi||118,000|
|First-Generation Immigrant Students||3,000|
|Second-Generation Immigrant Students||3,000|
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 Education||1,323|
|DACA-Eligible Students in Higher Education||558|
|Undocumented Students Graduating High School Each Year||<1,000|
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 Education||2,960|
|Economic Contributions of International Students in the State||$73.5 million|
|Jobs Supported by International Students in the State||593|
|Optional Practical Training (OPT) Participants||245|
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 Mississippi||64,446|
|Immigrant Share of Total Population||2.2%|
|Undocumented Immigrants in State||19,445|
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|
|First-Generation Immigrant Faculty and Staff in Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools||2,414|
|Share of First-Generation Immigrants With a Postsecondary Credential||71%|
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).
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
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.
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.
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.
Refugee In-State Tuition: Mississippi does not appear to have state policies that expand access to in-state tuition to the state’s refugee students. Policies may vary by institution.
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 an out-of-state scholarship to attend the following institutions:
- Christian Brothers University
- Delaware State University
- Eastern Connecticut State University
- Trinity Washington University (Women’s College)
- Dominican University
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.
Mississippi 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.
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.
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
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
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