Logo for: President's Alliance Higher Education & Immigration

Portal to the States

The Portal highlights how 24 states and D.C. provide in-state tuition to the states’ undocumented students. Of those states, 18 and D.C. (“Comprehensive Access”) also provide access to state financial aid. Massachusetts, which just passed in-state tuition for undocumented students, brings the number of states with access to in-state tuition to 24.

Four states provide undocumented students with access to in-state tuition in some but not all universities, 5 states provide access to in-state tuition only to DACA recipients, 8 states and P.R do not have known policies, and 9 states actively block access to in-state tuition for undocumented students, including 3 states which prevent undocumented students from enrolling in all or some public colleges.

Tuition & Financial Aid Equity for Undocumented Students

WY WI WV VA VT UT TX TN SD SC RI PR PA OR OK OH ND NC NV NY NM NJ NH NE MT MO MS MN MI MA MD ME LA KY KS IA IL IN ID FL HI GA DE DC CT CO CA AR AZ AK AL
  • 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.
  • Accessible
    Policies provide statewide access to in-state tuition for the state's undocumented students, including DACA recipients.
  • Limited
    Policies provide the state’s undocumented students, including DACA recipients, with access to in-state or reduced tuition in at least some public institutions.
  • Limited to DACA
    Policies provide the state’s DACA recipients with access to in-state tuition in at least some public institutions.
  • 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.
  • Restrictive
    Policies actively bar access to in-state tuition or state financial aid for the state's undocumented students, including DACA recipients.
  • 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.
×


Benchmarks Across the States

The Higher Ed Immigration Portal measures where states are situated on equity and access to higher education, degree completion, and career prospects for DACA and undocumented students.

Tuition & Financial Aid Equity for Undocumented Students

The U.S. is home to more than 408,000 undocumented students, including DACA recipients, in higher education. Each state implements its own policies in terms of providing access to in-state tuition and state financial aid to the state’s undocumented residents.

The Portal analyzes in-state tuition and state financial aid policies across all 50 states and D.C. to measure and compare the inclusivity and effectiveness of the policies. Policies that provide tuition and state financial aid equity generally expand access to higher education and help fuel the state’s economy.

The Portal analyzes and measures a state’s in-state tuition and state financial aid policies for undocumented students to assign each state to one of the following seven classifications.

Key Point: Most undocumented students in the U.S. live in Comprehensive Access or Accessible states, but a significant percentage still face immigration-related barriers to higher education.

Professional & Occupational Licensure

The Portal scans professional and occupational licensure policies across all 50 states and D.C. to measure and compare the inclusivity and effectiveness of the policies. Policies that provide individuals with access to professional, commercial, and business licenses, regardless of their immigration status, generally aid the state’s economy.

The Portal analyzes and measures a state’s professional and occupational licensure policies for undocumented immigrants to assign each state to one of the following five classifications.

TheDream.US & Immigrant Finance Resource Guide

TheDream.Us and Immigrant Finance put together resource guides of state professional/occupational licensure requirements and state business and tax registration requirements for immigrants. The guides are based on outreach to the state’s specific licensing boards and each state’s business and tax agencies from April 2023 to July 2023 and are subject to change. The guides include an interactive table of contents. You can access the information for any state by clicking on the state you wish to learn more about on the table of contents. 

The professional/occupation licensure requirements guide provides licensing information for 11 different professions

(1) Nursing (Registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs);

(2) Physician’s Assistant;

(3) Counseling (i.e. Associate Licensed Counselor ALC), Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC);

(4) Therapy/Psychology (Psychologist, Psychological Technician);

(5) Clinical Lab Technician;

(6) Dentistry/dental assistant/dental hygienist;

(7) Education (Educator Certification);

(8) Law (License to Practice Law);

(9) Accounting (CPA):

(10) Social Work (LBSW, LMSW, LCSW, LCSW-C);

(11) Engineering (Professional Engineer).

You can find the guide for professional/occupational licensure requirements here and the guide for state business and tax registration requirements here or by clicking on the state you’re interested in to learn more about Professional & Occupational Licensure under the Professional & Occupational Licensure section.  

 

Expanding Access to Driver Licenses

The Portal analyzes driver license and state identification policies across all 50 states and D.C. to measure and compare the policies. Policies that provide individuals access to driver licenses and state identification cards, regardless of their immigration status, help expand mobility and increase safety in the state’s roads.

The Portal analyzes and measures a state’s driver license policies for undocumented immigrants to assign each state to one of the following two classifications.

Source: NILC

Admissions and Funding Opportunities for Undocumented Students

A growing number of private colleges and universities in the U.S. consider undocumented students to be domestic students for the purposes of admission and financial aid. Many colleges and universities have also expanded access to specific institutional funds, external scholarships or other donor funds to support undocumented students.

You can see a list of top 30 U.S. colleges and universities. The overwhelming majority have expanded financial aid equity to undocumented students comparable to other domestic students.

Top States by Immigrant & International Students

This section provides an overview of the top states in the number of undocumented, first and second-generation immigrant, and international students enrolled in higher education.

Undocumented Students in Higher Education,
Top States (2021)

RankStateNumber of Students
1California82,933
2Texas59,021
3Florida40,396
4New York29,727
5Illinois20,151
6New Jersey18,834
7Maryland11,970
8Georgia11,945
9Virginia10,539
10Washington10,388
11Arizona9,570
12Pennsylvania8,022
13Massachusetts6,663
14North Carolina6,166
15Colorado5,946
Full Report

Note: The year in parentheses in the chart's title refers to the year of the source data.

Undocumented Students Graduating High School Each Year,
Top States (2021)

RankStateNumber of Students
1Texas18,000
2California14,000
3Florida13,000
4New York7,000
5New Jersey6,000
6Virginia5,000
7Georgia4,000
8Ohio4,000
9Pennsylvania4,000
10Massachusetts3,000
11Minnesota3,000
12North Carolina3,000
13Wisconsin3,000
14Alabama2,000
15Colorado2,000
Full Report

Note: The year in parentheses in the chart's title refers to the year of the source data.

First and Second-Generation Immigrant Students,
Top 15 States (2021)

RankStateFirst and Second-Generation
Immigrant Students
First-Generation
Immigrant Students
Second-Generation
Immigrant Students
1California1,485,000387,0001,099,000
2Texas619,000199,000420,000
3New York560,000205,000356,000
4Florida448,000183,000265,000
5Illinois266,000108,000157,000
6New Jersey235,00085,000150,000
7Arizona158,00061,00097,000
8Virginia138,00067,00071,000
9Massachusetts136,00062,00074,000
10Maryland126,000 55,00071,000
11Georgia126,00042,00084,000
12Washington118,00044,00074,000
13Michigan97,00027,00069,000
14North Carolina96,00029,00067,000
15Pennsylvania93,00014,00079,000
Full List

Note: The year in parentheses in the chart's title refers to the year of the source data.

International Students in Higher Education,
Top States (2022/23)

RankStateNumber of Students
1California138,393
2New York126,782
3Texas80,757
4Massachusetts79,751
5Illinois55,337
6Pennsylvania48,593
7Florida42,590
8Ohio34,204
9Michigan33,501
10Arizona30,054
11Indiana26,739
12Georgia26,450
13Missouri24,260
14North Carolina23,488
15Washington23,100
Source

Note: The year in parentheses in the chart's title refers to the year of the source data.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) Participants,
Top 15 States (2017-18)

RankStateNumber of Students
1California44,536
2New York24,611
3Texas22,870
4New Jersey15,396
5Massachusetts10,604
6Illinois9,334
7Michigan7,840
8Washington7,585
9Virginia7,086
10Georgia7,035
11Florida6,997
12Pennsylvania5,265
13Ohio3,877
14Maryland3,808
15North Carolina3,715
Source

Note: The data is derived from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The location information for 14% of all OPT participants was not included in the DHS data. The true count of OPT participants in the top 15 states is likely higher. The year in parentheses in the chart's title refers to the year of the source data.

Immigrant-Origin Adults without Postsecondary Credentials,
Top 15 States (2022)

RankStateNumber of
Students
1California7,167,000
2Texas3,736,000
3New York2,335,000
4Florida2,316,000
5Illinois1,262,000
6New Jersey1,077,000
7Arizona884,000
8Georgia746,000
9Washington673,000
10Massachusetts638,000
11North Carolina634,000
12Virginia540,000
13Pennsylvania474,000
14Maryland464,000
15Nevada435,000
Source

Note: The year in parentheses in the chart's title refers to the year of the source data.

Immigrant STEM Workers,
Top 15 States (2019)

RankStateNumber of
Workers
1California609,000
2Texas241,000
3New Jersey150,000
4New York136,000
5Florida128,000
6Washington120,000
7Massachusetts107,000
8Illinois106,000
9Virginia100,000
10Maryland75,000
11Georgia74,000
12Pennsylvania65,000
13Michigan62,000
14North Carolina58,000
15Arizona46,000
Source

Note: The year in parentheses in the chart's title refers to the year of the source data.