Logo for: President's Alliance Higher Education & Immigration

Portal to the States

The Portal to the States is a map that combines immigrant and international student data with cogent policy analysis, effective practices, and up-to-date research to provide a comprehensive view of higher education and immigration in all 50 U.S. states and D.C.

You can visit a state page by clicking “Learn More” on a state in the map or selecting a state in the drop-down menu.

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.
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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 427,000 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.

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 (2019)

RankStateNumber of Students
1California94,030
2Texas58,255
3Florida40,152
4New York25,296
5Illinois17,757
6New Jersey17,590
7Washington15,039
8Georgia14,201
9Virginia12,387
10Massachusetts11,632
11Maryland9,730
12Arizona9,480
13North Carolina8,741
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 (2016-17)

RankStateNumber of Students
1California27,000
2Texas17,000
3Florida5,000
4Illinois4,000
5New Jersey4,000
6New York4,000
7Georgia3,000
8North Carolina3,000
9Arizona2,000
10Maryland2,000
11Virginia2,000
12Washington2,000
13Colorado1,000
14Nevada1,000
15Massachusetts1,000
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 (2018)

RankStateFirst and Second-Generation
Immigrant Students
First-Generation
Immigrant Students
Second-Generation
Immigrant Students
1California1,352,000338,0001,014,000
2Texas559,000163,000396,000
3New York488,000163,000325,000
4Florida487,000240,000247,000
5New Jersey215,00069,000146,000
6Illinois214,00075,000139,000
7Massachusetts143,00067,00076,000
8Virginia124,00064,00060,000
9Washington122,00031,00091,000
10Pennsylvania117,00050,00067,000
11Arizona112,00037,00075,000
12Maryland111,00043,00068,000
13North Carolina95,00038,00057,000
14Georgia92,00033,00059,000
15Michigan86,00035,00051,000
Full List

International Students in Higher Education,
Top States (2020)

RankStateNumber of Students
1California132,758
2New York106,894
3Texas67,428
4Massachusetts66,273
5Illinois44,004
6Pennsylvania42,477
7Florida39,179
8Ohio29,979
9Michigan27,454
10Indiana23,948
11Georgia21,515
12Washington21,402
13Arizona21,197
14New Jersey19,039
15Maryland18,784
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.