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 Montana as a No State Policy 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 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 Montana||49,000|
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.
International students comprise only 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 Education||1,200|
|Economic Contributions of International Students in the State||$36.2 million|
|Jobs Supported by International Students in the State||312|
|Optional Practical Training (OPT) Participants||74|
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 Montana||21,095|
|Immigrant Share of Total Population||2%|
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 First-Generation Immigrants With a Postsecondary Credential||61%|
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
No State Policy: No known policies on access to in-state tuition or state financial aid for the state's 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.
Montana does not appear to have policies that provide undocumented residents, including DACA recipients, with access to in-state tuition, state financial aid, or professional or occupational licensure.
Montana does not provide undocumented residents with access to driver licenses and state identification.
Montana does not appear to have policies that expand access to in-state tuition to the state’s undocumented students.
The Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education’s Residency Policy (Policy 940.1), last revised on November 20, 2020, extends in-state tuition to “a resident alien” if the individual graduated from a Montana high school and enrolled in a Montana public institution no later than the fourth fall term following the student’s high school graduation. It is unclear if the term “resident alien” includes the state’s undocumented students.
Refugee In-State Tuition: The Montana Board of Regents Policy and Procedures Manual and associated Commissioner’s Directive regarding “BOR Policy 940.1 – Residency Policy” (dated March 9, 2016) states: “Individuals in lawful permanent resident status, or in asylee or refugee status are also presumed to have the ability to obtain in-state status.”
Montana does not appear to have policies regarding access to state financial aid for undocumented students.
Montana does not appear to have statewide legislation that affirmatively extends occupational and professional licensure to undocumented individuals, including DACA recipients.
Undocumented immigrants in Montana do not have access to a driver license or state identification card. House Bill (H.B.) 178, signed into law on April 4, 2011 requires the state’s Department of Justice to utilize the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program to verify lawful presence prior to providing individuals with driver’s license or state identification.
DACA recipients in Montana 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.
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
Report: The Post-DACA Generation is Here
A new report finds that an estimated 100,000 undocumented students will graduate from high school in 2022, with most of them not eligible for DACA. The new FWD.us report, published in May 2022, The Post-DACA Generation is Here, explains how DACA’s unavailability impacts undocumented youth in the U.S.Continue Reading
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