This state page integrates student data, economic contributions, state policies, effective practices, and other resources to learn about and better support the state’s undocumented, other immigrant, and international students in higher education.
We classify South Carolina as a Prohibitive state in terms of inclusive in-state tuition and state financial aid policies for undocumented students. The Portal tracks state policies for undocumented students on in-state tuition, state financial aid, professional and occupational licensure, and driver licenses.
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 South Carolina||241,000|
|First-Generation Immigrant Students||7,000|
|Second-Generation Immigrant Students||5,000|
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 Education||5,352|
|Economic Contributions of International Students in the State||$128.3 million|
|Jobs Supported by International Students in the State||1,217|
|Optional Practical Training (OPT) Participants||721|
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 South Carolina||288,580|
|Immigrant Share of Total Population||5.6%|
|Undocumented Immigrants in State||102,029|
|DACA-Eligible Residents in State||8,785|
|Spending Power of DACA-Eligible Residents||$134 million|
|DACA-Eligible Residents Federal Tax Contributions||$19.6 million|
|DACA-Eligible Residents State and Local Tax Contributions||$13.7 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 Immigrants||7.5%|
|Share of Nurses Who Are First-Generation Immigrants||4.8%|
|Share of Health Aides Who Are First-Generation Immigrants||3.7%|
|First-Generation Immigrant Faculty and Staff in Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools||6,936|
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).
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
Prohibitive Enrollment: Policies actively bar enrollment in all or certain public institutions for the state’s undocumented students, but may still allow DACA recipients to enroll.
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.
South Carolina prohibits undocumented residents from enrolling in the state’s public colleges and universities, and from accessing in-state tuition, state financial aid, and driver licenses and state identification.
The state does not appear to have legislation that affirmatively extends professional and occupational licensure to undocumented individuals, including DACA recipients.
South Carolina House Bill (H.B.) 4400, signed into law on June 4, 2008, prohibits undocumented students from enrolling in the state’s public colleges and universities, and from receiving certain education benefits, such as in-state tuition, scholarships, and grants.
The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education determined that DACA recipients are eligible to enroll in the state’s institutions of higher education but cannot access in-state tuition or state financial aid.
South Carolina House Bill (H.B.) 3620, signed into law on June 29, 2007, specifies that undocumented students cannot receive tuition assistance, scholarships, or any form of state financial aid for higher education.
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 South Carolina, undocumented and DACA students may be eligible for a scholarship to attend the following out-of-state institutions:
- Christian Brothers University;
- Delaware State University;
- Eastern Connecticut State University; and,
- Trinity Washington University (Women’s College).
South Carolina does not appear to have statewide legislation that affirmatively extends occupational and professional licensure to undocumented individuals, including DACA recipients.
Undocumented immigrants in South Carolina do not have access to a driver license or state identification card.
DACA recipients in South Carolina are allowed to obtain a driver license or state identification card.
South Carolina Senate Bill (S.B.) 24, introduced on January 12, 2021, would allow individuals with lawful presence in the U.S., including DACA recipients, to establish domicile in the state for the purpose of accessing in-state tuition at public institutions and state-based scholarships and grants. The bill would also provide DACA recipients with access to professional and occupational licensure.
South Carolina is considering legislation that would allow qualified DACA recipients and victims of trafficking to obtain professional and occupational licensure in the state. South Carolina House bill (H.) 3243 passed the South Carolina House of Representatives on April 6, 2021 by a bipartisan 98 to 5 vote. The bill now heads to the Senate Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry where it awaits a vote. H. 3243 would allow DACA-recipients and victims of trafficking to access professional licenses, including nursing and cosmetology.
South Carolina Senate Bill (S.B.) 24, introduced on January 12, 2021, would allow individuals with lawful presence in the U.S., including DACA recipients, to be eligible for occupational or professional licensure in the state provided other licensure requirements are met. The bill would also provide DACA recipients with access to in-state tuition and some state financial aid.
Effective Practices and State Resources
Spotlight on effective practices and policy, research, or community-based state resources.
Rethinking Tuition for Undocumented Students Through ITAs
The report examines whether inter-state tuition agreements can expand access to higher education for undocumented students.Continue Reading
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.Continue Reading
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