Undocumented immigrants, including DACA recipients, are integral members of communities across the United States, paying taxes, starting businesses, and serving in key industries, with many on the front lines as essential workers and health professionals battling the COVID-19 pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants are students enrolled in higher education, working to obtain degrees and going on to use those skills as significant contributors to our economy.
New estimates, drawn from the 2019 American Community Survey (ACS), indicate that undocumented students account for more than 427,000 or approximately 2 percent of all students in higher education in the United States. Students with DACA or who are eligible for DACA (referred to as “DACA-eligible”) represent less than half of the undocumented student population, constituting a subset of approximately 181,000 students or 0.8 percent of all students in higher education. The new estimates are an update to an April 16, 2020 report by New American Economy and the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, Undocumented Students in Higher Education: How Many Students are in U.S. Colleges and Universities, and Who Are They?