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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 Vermont43,000
International Students1,292

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 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 Education1,292
Economic Contributions of International Students in the State$60.4 million
Jobs Supported by International Students in the State389
Optional Practical Training (OPT) Participants134

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 Vermont27,165
Immigrant Share of Total Population4.4%

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
First-Generation Immigrant Faculty and Staff in Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools2,296
Share of First-Generation Immigrants With a Postsecondary Credential72%

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

    No State Policy: No known policies on access to in-state tuition or state financial aid for the state's DACA recipients and undocumented students.

  • 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

    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

Vermont does not appear to have policies that provide undocumented residents, including DACA recipients, with access to in-state tuition , state financial aid, or professional and occupational licenses.

Vermont does provide undocumented residents with access to driver licenses and state identification.

In-State Tuition

Vermont does not appear to have policies that expand access to in-state tuition to the state’s undocumented students.

Vermont S.283 (Act 166) signed into law on June 1, 2022 directs that an individual who qualifies as a refugee, is granted parole to enter the United States, or is issued a special immigrant visa pursuant to the Afghan Allies Protection Act of 2009 to be considered a resident for instate tuition purposes for the Community College of Vermont.

Refugee In-State Tuition: VT Stat. Ann. Tit. 16 § 2185 states that refugees are eligible for in-state tuition at the Community College of Vermont upon resettlement to the state. For public universities, it would appear that refugees would be eligible for in-state tuition after meeting residency requirements. 

State Financial Aid

Vermont does not appear to have policies regarding access to state financial aid for undocumented students.

Professional & Occupational Licensure

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

Vermont Professional Licensure Requirements & Business Registration

To learn more about the licensure & business registration requirements, review TheDream.US & Immigrant Finance Resource Guide. The information in the guide is based on outreach to the state’s specific licensing boards from April to July 2023 and is subject to change. To get up to date information on licensure application requirements, individuals should verify this information with the licensing board.

Driver Licenses

Undocumented immigrants living in Vermont are eligible to obtain an operator’s privilege card, which is a non-REAL ID compliant driver license. Vermont Senate Bill (S.B.) 38, signed into law on June 5, 2013, permits eligible undocumented residents to apply for an operator’s privilege card or state identification card. Applicants must submit proof of identity and Vermont residence, among other requirements.

DACA recipients in Vermont are allowed to obtain a driver license or state identification card.

Proposed Policies

Vermont is considering legislation to expand access to in-state tuition at community colleges for refugee students by creating more expansive tuition determination requirements.

In-State Tuition

Vermont Senate bill (S.283), introduced on January 27, 2022, states that for the determination of residency for tuition purposes for the Community College of Vermont, any person who resides in Vermont and meets the definition of “refugee” under 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(42) upon their arrival in Vermont and for the duration of residency in Vermont, will be considered a resident for in-state tuition purposes at the start of the next semester or academic period. 

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.

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  • 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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