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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 Nevada151,000
First-Generation Immigrant Students16,000
Second-Generation Immigrant Students46,000
International Students2,031

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.

Share of All Students in Higher Education Who Are Undocumented2.8%
Undocumented Students Graduating High School Each Year1,000

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 Education2,031
Economic Contributions of International Students in the State$60.9 million
Jobs Supported by International Students in the State522
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 Nevada604,100
Immigrant Share of Total Population19.0%
Undocumented Immigrants in State141,600
DACA-Eligible Residents in State16,200
Spending Power of DACA-Eligible Residents$436.5 million
DACA-Eligible Residents Federal Tax Contributions$71.2 million
DACA-Eligible Residents State and Local Tax Contributions$44.7 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 Immigrants17.3%
Share of Nurses Who Are First-Generation Immigrants24.8%
Share of First-Generation Immigrants With a Postsecondary Credential38%

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

    Comprehensive Access: Policies provide statewide access to in-state tuition and some state financial aid or scholarships for the state's resident DACA recipients and undocumented students.

  • 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, state financial aid, professional and occupational licenses, and driver licenses and state identification.

In-State Tuition

Nevada’s Senate Bill (S.B.) 347, which went into effect on July 1, 2021, allows certain undocumented students, including DACA recipients, living in Nevada to access in-state tuition. Undocumented students must meet certain requirements to qualify for in-state tuition, namely:

  • Graduate from a high school located in Nevada, regardless of whether the student or the student’s family are considered “bona fide” residents.

S.B.347 prohibits the Nevada System of Higher Education’s Board of Regents from charging out-of-state tuition to Nevada students who meet this requirement, including the state’s undocumented students. Before the passage of S.B. 347 in 2021, the Board of Regents permitted institutions to grant eligible undocumented students, including DACA recipients, access to in-state tuition.

In Nevada, Governor Joe Lombardo signed A.B. 226, which provides TPS holders access to in-state tuition after one year of in-state residency. The law goes into effect July 1, 2023, and builds on the 2021 expansion of in-state tuition eligibility to undocumented students who graduate Nevada high schools. 

A footnote included in the Nevada System of Higher Ed Board of Regents Handbook outlines a section of AB 226 related to DACA recipients who did not graduate from a Nevada high school that will not go into effect until certain conditions are met (Section 6. Residency for Noncitizen Students). Currently those conditions have not been met. 

Refugee In-State Tuition: Nevada System of Higher Ed Board of Regents Handbook, Title 4, Chapter 15, Section 4.9 grants in-state tuition to “An alien who has become a Nevada resident by establishing bona fide residence in Nevada and who holds a permanent immigrant visa, has been granted official asylum or refugee status.”      


State Financial Aid

Nevada S.B. 347 allows eligible undocumented students, including DACA recipients, to access state financial aid. Undocumented students who graduate from a high school in Nevada are eligible for the Governor Guinn Millennium Scholarship, the Silver State Opportunity Grant Program, and the Nevada Promise Scholarship Program. In addition, the Nevada Higher Education Prepaid Tuition Program and the Nevada College Savings Program are open to Nevada students and their families, regardless of their immigration status.

Nevada only extends financial aid to public postsecondary institutions.

Additional Financial Aid

TheDream.US is a national organization that offers scholarships to students with or without DACA or TPS attending eligible postsecondary institutions across the country. In Nevada, the following institution is a TheDream.US Partner College:

  • Nevada State College (Public)
  • University of Nevada – Las Vegas (Public)
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.

Nevada 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 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

    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
  • Research

    Undocumented Students in Higher Education

    The new estimates show there are more than 408, 000 undocumented students enrolled in postsecondary education, representing about 1.9 percent of all postsecondary students. This estimate represents a decrease of 4.2 percent from 2019, when 427,000 undocumented students were enrolled.

    Continue Reading
  • 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.

    Continue Reading