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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 Oklahoma196,000
First-Generation Immigrant Students6,000
Second-Generation Immigrant Students10,000
International Students6,125

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 Education6,125
Economic Contributions of International Students in the State$165.9 million
Jobs Supported by International Students in the State1,383
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 Oklahoma238,488
Immigrant Share of Total Population6%
Undocumented Immigrants in State83,575
DACA-Eligible Residents in State10,181
Spending Power of DACA-Eligible Residents$146.7 million
DACA-Eligible Residents Federal Tax Contributions$21.4 million
DACA-Eligible Residents State and Local Tax Contributions$21.5 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 Nurses Who Are First-Generation Immigrants6.4%
Share of Health Aides Who Are First-Generation Immigrants6.2%
First-Generation Immigrant Faculty and Staff in Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools5,900
Share of First-Generation Immigrants With a Postsecondary Credential30%

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: Oklahoma does not appear to have state policies that expand access to in-state tuition to the state’s refugee students. Policies may vary by institution.

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.

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.

  • Research

    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.

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  • 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.

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  • Research

    Immigrant-Origin Students in U.S. Higher Education

    The report shows that, in 2018, more than 5.3 million students, or 28% of all students enrolled in colleges and universities, were immigrants or the children of immigrants.

    Continue Reading