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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.

International Students1,334

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 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 Education1,334
Economic Contributions of International Students in the State$63.3 million
Jobs Supported by International Students in the State367
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 Vermont25,100
Immigrant Share of Total Population3.9%

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 First-Generation Immigrants With a Postsecondary Credential12%

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

    Comprehensive Access: Policies allow individuals to obtain occupational licensure in all 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

Vermont provides eligible undocumented residents, including DACA recipients, with access to in-state tuitionstate financial aidprofessional and occupational licensure, and driver licenses and state identification.

In-State Tuition

Vermont (S.191) was signed by the Governor on May 30, 2024.The bill ensures that all Vermont residents, regardless of immigration status, have access to in-state tuition rates and need-based financial aid when attending public colleges and universities in the state. This bill also applies to refugees, parolees, and individuals issued a special immigrant visa pursuant to the Afghan Allies Protection Act of 2009.

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 (S.191) was signed by the Governor on May 30, 2024.The bill ensures that all Vermont residents, regardless of immigration status, have access to in-state tuition rates and need-based financial aid when attending public colleges and universities in the state.

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 Vermont, undocumented and DACA students may be eligible for an out-of-state scholarship to attend the following institutions:

  • Christian Brothers University
  • Delaware State University
  • Eastern Connecticut State University
  • Trinity Washington University (Women’s College)
  • Dominican University
Professional & Occupational Licensure

Vermont H.606 was signed into law on May 13, 2024. It allows individuals who meet the requirements for professional licenses to be granted the license regardless of their immigration status. Applicants without a Social Security Number (SSN) can provide a federal employer identification number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) instead. The law goes into effect on September 1, 2024.

Vermont 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 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.

Effective Practices and State Resources

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

  • Effective Practice

    Jiran: The Arabic Community Action Summer

    Jiran is Middlebury College’s intensive summer language program that pairs intermediate and advanced language students with underserved newcomer families who speak their target language.

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  • 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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