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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 Oregon213,000
First-Generation Immigrant Students19,000
Second-Generation Immigrant Students33,000
International Students7,379

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 in Higher Education4,328
DACA-Eligible Students in Higher Education1,962
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 Education7,379
Economic Contributions of International Students in the State$260.2 million
Jobs Supported by International Students in the State2,058
Optional Practical Training (OPT) Participants1,617

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 Oregon419,549
Immigrant Share of Total Population9.9%
Undocumented Immigrants in State85,434
DACA-Eligible Residents in State11,042
Spending Power of DACA-Eligible Residents$273.9 million
DACA-Eligible Residents Federal Tax Contributions$45.6 million
DACA-Eligible Residents State and Local Tax Contributions$30.9 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 Immigrants17.6%
Share of Health Aides Who Are First-Generation Immigrants13.1%
First-Generation Immigrant Faculty and Staff in Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools9,518
Share of First-Generation Immigrants With a Postsecondary Credential53%

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

    Accessible: Policies allow undocumented individuals to obtain occupational licensure in one or more 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

Oregon provides eligible undocumented residents, including DACA recipients, with access to in-state tuition, state financial aid, and driver licenses and state identification.

Undocumented residents, including DACA recipients, can also access certain professional and occupational licenses.

In-State Tuition

Oregon House Bill (H.B.) 2787, signed into law on April 2, 2013, provides eligible undocumented students, including DACA recipients, with access to in-state tuition. Students must meet certain requirements to access in-state tuition, including:

  1. Demonstrate five years of attendance at a primary or secondary school in the United States prior to receiving a high school diploma or equivalent in Oregon;
  2. Attended an Oregon primary or secondary school for at least three years prior to receiving a high school diploma or equivalent in Oregon;
  3. Received a high school diploma from a secondary school in Oregon or received the equivalent of a high school diploma; and
  4. Show intention to become a citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) in the United States, including submitting an official copy of registration forms for immigration or deferred action programs as well as an affidavit stating the student has applied for a federal individual taxpayer number.

Oregon Senate Bill (S.B.) 553, signed into law on July 27, 2021, provides certain individuals admitted to the United States as refugees or who have a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) with access to in-state tuition at any of the state’s undergraduate or graduate degree programs.

Refugee In-State Tuition: Oregon Senate Bill (S.B.) 1522, passed in 2021, (OR ST § 352.287) provides certain individuals admitted to the United States as refugees or who have a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) with access to in-state tuition at any of the state’s undergraduate or graduate degree programs without the requirement to establish residency so long as they have not previously established residence in any state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia other than Oregon.

On June 6, 2023, Oregon Governor Tina Kotek signed Senate Bill 272 which extends in-state tuition to undergraduate and graduate students at the Oregon Health and Science University if the student has not previously established residence in any state of the United States other than Oregon. Students qualify if they entered the United States lawfully as:

  • Refugees 
  • Through a special Immigrant visa 
  • Under Compact of Free Association treaty between United States and Republic of Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands or Federated States of Micronesia 
State Financial Aid

Oregon Senate Bill (S.B.) 932, signed into law on August 12, 2015, provides undocumented students, including DACA recipients, with access to state financial aid.

Undocumented students must meet the criteria set in H.B. 2787 to be eligible for the state’s financial aid assistance and grants.

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 Oregon, the following institutions are TheDream.US Partner Colleges:

  • Western Oregon University (Public)
  • Portland State University (Public)

Oregon extends financial aid to both public and private postsecondary institutions.

Professional & Occupational Licensure

Undocumented residents, including DACA recipients, can access certain professional and occupational licenses.

Oregon Senate Bill (S.B.) 854, signed into law on June 20, 2019, directs the state’s professional licensing boards to accept an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or other federally-issued identification number in lieu of a Social Security Number (SSN) on certain applications for professional licenses.  S.B. 854 directs professional licensing boards to accept only an SSN, not an ITIN, if federal or state law explicitly requires an SSN.

Oregon 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 Oregon are eligible to obtain a driver license. House Bill (H.B.) 2015, signed into law on August 9, 2019 and effective as of January 1, 2021, provides the state’s undocumented residents with access to a non-REAL ID driver license or state identification card. Applicants must provide evidence of identity, date of birth, and a Social Security Number (SSN) or a written statement that they have not been issued an SSN, among other requirements.

DACA recipients in Oregon 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