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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 Oregon228,000
First-Generation Immigrant Students13,000
Second-Generation Immigrant Students42,000
International Students10,705

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 427,000 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 Undocumented1.3%

Note: Undocumented students are a sub-group of first-generation students.

International students comprise only 5.5 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 Education10,705
Economic Contributions of International Students in the State$380.3 million
Jobs Supported by International Students in the State3,703
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 Oregon415,986
Immigrant Share of Total Population9.9%
Undocumented Immigrants in State93,469
DACA-Eligible Residents in State11,093
Spending Power of DACA-Eligible Residents$232.2 million
DACA-Eligible Residents Federal Tax Contributions$38.6 million
DACA-Eligible Residents State and Local Tax Contributions$26.3 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 Immigrants16.9%
Share of Nurses Who Are First-Generation Immigrants7.4%
Share of Health Aides Who Are First-Generation Immigrants15.9%
First-Generation Immigrant Faculty and Staff in Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools9,518

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 (NAE) and international students (NAFSA).

State Policies

Evaluating Access for Undocumented 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.

  • 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 three years of attendance at an Oregon primary and secondary school or five years at a primary and secondary school in the United States prior to receiving a high school diploma or equivalent;
  2. Enroll in a public university in Oregon within three years of earning a high school diploma or equivalent in Oregon; and,
  3. 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.
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 DACA and undocumented students attending eligible postsecondary institutions across the country. In Oregon, the following institutions are TheDream.US Partner Colleges:

  • Western Oregon University.
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.

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.

Proposed Policies

Oregon is considering legislation that would extend access to in-state tuition and state financial aid to refugees and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders.

In-State Tuition

Oregon Senate Bill (S.B.) 553, introduced on January 11, 2021, would provide access to in-state tuition and state financial aid, including state and university scholarships, to refugees and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders upon their resettlement in Oregon.

Effective Practices and State Resources

Spotlight on effective practices and policy, research, or community-based state resources.

  • Research

    Undocumented Students in Higher Education (Updated March 2021)

    More than 427,000 undocumented students in the U.S. are enrolled in higher education, including 181,000 DACA-eligible individuals.

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  • Effective Practice

    Promising Practices: Portland Community College (IET Career Pathways)

    A program offering education and training for career pathways for immigrant students with previous education and experience.

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