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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 Nevada118,000
First-Generation Immigrant Students19,000
Second-Generation Immigrant Students46,000
International Students2,642

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 427,000 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.

Share of All Students in Higher Education Who Are Undocumented3.7%
Undocumented Students Graduating High School Each Year1,000

Note: Undocumented students are a sub-group of first-generation students.

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 Education2,642
Economic Contributions of International Students in the State$73.3 million
Jobs Supported by International Students in the State731
Optional Practical Training (OPT) Participants600

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 Nevada614,416
Immigrant Share of Total Population19.9%
Undocumented Immigrants in State176,524
DACA-Eligible Residents in State21,321
Spending Power of DACA-Eligible Residents$351.1 million
DACA-Eligible Residents Federal Tax Contributions$46.4 million
DACA-Eligible Residents State and Local Tax Contributions$37.3 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 Immigrants15.2%
Share of Nurses Who Are First-Generation Immigrants32.8%
Share of Health Aides Who Are First-Generation Immigrants32.9%
First-Generation Immigrant Faculty and Staff in Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools4,019

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: Policies provide the state’s undocumented students, including DACA recipients, with access to in-state or reduced tuition in at least some public institutions.

  • Professional & Occupational Licensure Workforce Entry & Eligibility

    Comprehensive Access: Policies allow individuals to obtain occupational licensure in all professions regardless of their immigration status, provided that they meet all other requirements.

  • Driver Licenses & Identification Mobility

    Accessible: Policies provide the state’s undocumented residents with access to driver licenses and/or state identification regardless of their immigration status, but these are not REAL ID compliant.

Enacted Policies

Nevada provides eligible undocumented residents, including DACA recipients, with access to in-state tuition and state financial aid at some of the state’s public colleges and universities.

Nevada also provides undocumented residents with access to professional and occupational licenses, and driver licenses and state identification.

In-State Tuition

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

Nevada’s Board of Regents establishes the rules that govern how institutions may grant in-state residency and tuition. The Board of Regents allows institutions to grant eligible undocumented students, including DACA recipients, access to in-state tuition.

As a result, certain Nevada public institutions, including the University of Nevada Las Vegas, have established policies that provide access to in-state tuition to the state’s undocumented students if they graduated from a Nevada high school and meet other requirements.

State Financial Aid

Nevada’s Board of Regents allows undocumented students, including DACA recipients, to access some state financial aid. Eligibility requirements and procedures differ slightly based on the aid program.

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 Nevada, the following institution is a TheDream.US Partner College:

  • Nevada State College.
Professional & Occupational Licensure

Nevada allows individuals to obtain professional and occupational licensure regardless of their immigration status.

Nevada Assembly Bill (A.B.) 275, effective on June 14, 2019, prohibits a regulatory body from denying professional licensure to an applicant based on the applicant’s immigration status. The bill allows applicants to use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) in lieu of a Social Security Number (SSN) when applying for a professional or occupational license.

Nevada Assembly Bill (A.B.) 27, signed into law on May 13, 2015, authorizes the Superintendent of Public Instruction to issue a teaching license to undocumented immigrants who are otherwise eligible to work in the U.S., including DACA recipients.

Driver Licenses

Undocumented immigrants living in Nevada are eligible to obtain a driver authorization card. Nevada Senate Bill (S.B.) 303, signed into law on May 31, 2013, allows the state’s undocumented residents to obtain a driver authorization card if they submit documents establishing proof of identity and state residence, among other requirements. The card is granted for a renewable one-year period.

DACA recipients in Nevada 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.

  • Research

    Undocumented Students in Higher Education (Updated March 2021)

    More than 427,000 undocumented students in the U.S. are enrolled in higher education, including 181,000 DACA-eligible individuals.

    Continue Reading
  • 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