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Report: 28% of College Students Come From Immigrant Families

October 20, 2020

Students from immigrant families accounted for 28 percent of all U.S. college students in 2018, up from 20 percent in 2000, according to a new analysis by the Migration Policy Institute commissioned by the Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration. The number of students from immigrant families -- those who were either born abroad or born in the U.S. to immigrant parents -- grew at a much faster rate than the number of U.S.-born students with U.S.-born parents.

The analysis does not include international students. Researchers found that the majority (68 percent) of students from immigrant families are U.S. citizens, while another 16 percent are naturalized U.S. citizens.

Immigrants and U.S.-born children of immigrants accounted for 85 percent of all Asian American and Pacific Islander students and 63 percent of all Latinx students.

Students from immigrant families made up 50 percent of all college students in California. States where immigrant students made up a quarter of the college population or more were: Hawaii (40 percent), Nevada (40 percent), Florida (40 percent), New York (39 percent), New Jersey (36 percent), Massachusetts (34 percent), Washington (32 percent), Texas (32 percent), Connecticut (29 percent), Arizona (27 percent), Maryland (27 percent), Virginia (27 percent), Illinois (26 percent) and Oregon (25 percent).

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Elizabeth Redden

Elizabeth Redden, Senior Reporter, covers general higher education topics, religion and higher education, and international higher education for Inside Higher Ed. She has more than a decade of experience as an education journalist. She holds an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing from Columbia University.

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