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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 Oklahoma156,000
First-Generation Immigrant Students6,000
Second-Generation Immigrant Students23,000
International Students7,651

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 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 Education7,651
Economic Contributions of International Students in the State$218.9 million
Jobs Supported by International Students in the State1,582
Optional Practical Training (OPT) Participants800

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 Oklahoma245,600
Immigrant Share of Total Population6.1%
Undocumented Immigrants in State82,700
DACA-Eligible Residents in State8,600
Spending Power of DACA-Eligible Residents$161.5 million
DACA-Eligible Residents Federal Tax Contributions$18.5 million
DACA-Eligible Residents State and Local Tax Contributions$23.3 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 Immigrants9.7%
Share of First-Generation Immigrants With a Postsecondary Credential15%

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

    Accessible: Policies provide statewide access to in-state tuition 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

Oklahoma provides eligible undocumented residents, including DACA recipients, with access to in-state tuition.

Oklahoma does not appear to have policies that provide undocumented residents with access to state financial aid, professional and occupational licensure or driver licenses and state identification.

In-State Tuition

Oklahoma House Bill (H.B.) 1804, signed into law on May 8, 2007, provides eligible undocumented students, including DACA recipients, with access to in-state tuition. The bill allows the Oklahoma Board of Regents to expand in-state tuition to the state’s undocumented students if they meet certain requirements. After the bill’s passage, the board expanded in-state tuition access to undocumented students.

Students must meet certain requirements to access in-state tuition, including:

  1. Graduated from public or private high school in Oklahoma;
  2. Resided in Oklahoma with a parent or guardian while attending classes for at least 2 years prior to high school graduation;
  3. Secured admission to and enrolled in, an institution within the Oklahoma state system of higher education; and,
  4. Provided to the institution a copy of a true and correct application or petition filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to legalize the student’s status or signed an affidavit that the student will file for legal status when able.

Refugee In-State Tuition: The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education officially passed policy 3.18.5 Students Impacted by War on September 7, 2023. This new policy grants in-state tuition to students who have been given Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and students who meet the criteria for Special Student Relief (SSR) established by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The university Designated School Official (DSO) must provide a letter of verification to support SSR or TPS eligibility.

State Financial Aid

Oklahoma does not appear to provide undocumented students with access to state financial aid.

Oklahoma Senate Bill (S.B.) 596, signed into law on May 12, 2003, provided the state’s undocumented students with access to state financial aid. The bill states that students will not be disqualified on the basis of the student’s immigration status from any scholarships or financial aid provided by the state of Oklahoma. However, an amendment passed by the state legislature in 2007 (Title 70 Section 3242.1), appears to effectively bar undocumented students from accessing state financial aid, including the Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant (OTAG) and other state-funded programs.

Professional and Occupational Licensure

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

Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma do not have access to a driver license or state identification card.

DACA recipients in Oklahoma 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

    The University of Tulsa: leveraging housing on campus and partnering with local resettlement agencies to house newcomers

    Since 2021, The University of Tulsa (TU) has housed refugee individuals on campus in unused student apartments. This housing program was developed in partnership with local resettlement agencies to address housing needs in the City of Tulsa. To date, TU has housed 38 non-student refugees on campus.

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  • Effective Practice

    The University of Tulsa: a service learning course to support students’ participation in its ECAR Chapter

    This service-learning course involves students in the refugee resettlement process through participation in the University of Tulsa’s Every Campus A Refuge (ECAR) chapter. Through a trauma-informed approach, students work with an ECAR family on campus and engage in other service-learning tasks with local refugee resettlement. 

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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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