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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 Ohio591,000
First-Generation Immigrant Students46,000
Second-Generation Immigrant Students48,000
International Students34,204

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 Undocumented0.5%
Undocumented Students Graduating High School Each Year4,000

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 Education34,204
Economic Contributions of International Students in the State$1.2 billion
Jobs Supported by International Students in the State10,683
Optional Practical Training (OPT) Participants3,877

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 Ohio581,000
Immigrant Share of Total Population4.9%
Undocumented Immigrants in State112,300

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 Immigrants11.7%
Share of Nurses Who Are First-Generation Immigrants5.0%
Share of Health Aides Who Are First-Generation Immigrants8.6%
First-Generation Immigrant Faculty and Staff in Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools19,435
Share of First-Generation Immigrants With a Postsecondary Credential12%

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

    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

    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

Ohio provides eligible DACA recipients with access to in-state tuition at the state’s public colleges and universities.

Ohio does not provide undocumented residents with access to driver licenses and state identification. The state does not appear to have statewide policies that extend  state financial aid or occupational and professional licensure to undocumented individuals, including DACA recipients.

In-State Tuition

Ohio State Statute 3333.31 actively bars the state’s undocumented students from accessing in-state tuition. However, the Ohio Board of Regent concluded on July 2013 that the state’s DACA recipients qualify for in-state tuition at all of the state’s public colleges and universities if the students fall into one of three resident categories:

  1. Students whose spouse, parent, or legal guardian have been a resident of the state of Ohio for twelve consecutive months or more immediately preceding their enrollment in a higher education institution;
  2. Students who resided in the state for at least twelve consecutive months immediately preceding their enrollment without receiving financial support from non-Ohio residents during this period; or,
  3. Students whose parent, legal guardian, or spouse who “has accepted full-time, self-sustaining employment and established domicile in the state of Ohio for reasons other than gaining the benefit of favorable tuition rates” the first day of enrollment.

Refugee In-State Tuition:  Under the Ohio Administrative Code, Chapter 333-1-10(D)(3), and Ohio Revised Code, Chapter 3333.31 political refugees are eligible for in-state tuition.

State Financial Aid

Ohio does not appear to have policies regarding access to state financial aid for undocumented students.

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 Ohio, 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

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

Ohio 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 Ohio do not have access to a driver license or state identification card. A lawsuit against the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), filed in October 2018, led a federal district court judge to overturn two BMV policies that barred certain refugees and U.S. citizen children of undocumented immigrants from obtaining an Ohio driver license.

DACA recipients in Ohio 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