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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 Missouri303,000
First-Generation Immigrant Students11,000
Second-Generation Immigrant Students24,000
International Students24,260

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 Education2,448
DACA-Eligible Students in Higher Education925
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 Education24,260
Economic Contributions of International Students in the State$827.9 million
Jobs Supported by International Students in the State7,589
Optional Practical Training (OPT) Participants2,630

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 Missouri245,087
Immigrant Share of Total Population4.0%
Undocumented Immigrants in State53,499
DACA-Eligible Residents in State6,793
Spending Power of DACA-Eligible Residents$144.7 million
DACA-Eligible Residents Federal Tax Contributions$18.8 million
DACA-Eligible Residents State and Local Tax Contributions$16.2 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 Immigrants9.7%
First-Generation Immigrant Faculty and Staff in Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools15,026
Share of First-Generation Immigrants With a Postsecondary Credential53%

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

    Restrictive: Policies actively bar access to in-state tuition or state financial aid for the state's undocumented students, including DACA recipients.

  • 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

Missouri prohibits undocumented residents, including DACA recipients, from accessing in-state tuition and state financial aid. The state does not appear to have legislation that extends occupational and professional licensure to undocumented individuals, including DACA recipients.

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

In-State Tuition

Missouri’s legislature has adopted language in the state budget since 2015 that prevents public colleges and universities from offering in-state tuition to undocumented students.

Missouri House Bill (H.B.) 3, signed into law on May 8, 2015, clarified that DACA recipients are not eligible for in-state tuition.

Refugee In-State Tuition: The rules of the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development [6 CSR 10-3.010] states “Individuals who are not citizens of the United States must possess a lawful immigration status, as determined by the federal government, prior to consideration for resident status as otherwise provided in this rule, except that individuals and their family members who hold F, J, or M visa status are ineligible for resident status.“

State Financial Aid

Missouri House Bill (H.B.) 390, signed into law on May 15, 2009, prohibits the state’s public colleges and universities from providing financial aid to undocumented students, including DACA recipients.

Missouri Senate Bill (S.B.) 224, signed into law in 2015, prohibits undocumented students from receiving the state’s A+ Scholarship.

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 Missouri, 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
Professional & Occupational Licensure

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

Missouri 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 Missouri do not have access to a driver license or state identification card. Missouri House Bill (H.B.) 361, signed into law on May 13, 2009, specifies that applicants for a driver’s licenses must be U.S. citizens or provide proof of lawful presence in the United States.

DACA recipients in Missouri 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

    Washington University of St. Louis’ EMPOWER: Building Professional Skills & Opportunities for Refugees

    The English Language Program at WashU’s School of Continuing & Professional Studies merges English language development with valuable workforce certifications. The program is specifically designed for refugees looking for career development.

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  • 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.

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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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