The College Post
The College Post -- Covering Higher Education in America

Nearly 30 Percent of US College Students Come From Immigrant Families: Report

Nearly one-third (28 percent) of all the students enrolled in the US colleges and universities in 2018 were from immigrant families, up from 20 percent in 2000, according to a new analysis by the Migration Policy Institute.

These students accounted for almost 60 percent of the growth of the total student population between 2000 and 2018.

The number of students from first and second-generation immigrant families, those who were either born abroad or born in the US to immigrant parents, rose 82 percent between 2000 and 2018, from 2.9 million in 2000 to 5.3 million in 2018, according to the study.

Out of the two categories, students from second-generation immigrant families grew by 131 percent (3.6 million), while the number of students of first-generation families rose by 26 percent (1.7 million).

Meanwhile, the number of students from third-generation immigration families increased at a more modest pace, 15 percent, in the same period.

The number of students from immigrant parents grew much faster than the number of US-born students with US-born parents, the study found.

“In higher education, we are producing and training the future workforce. That future workforce has more students from immigrant families than previously understood,” said Miriam Feldblum, executive director of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, to the New York Times.

Race and Ethnicity

Among first-generation immigrant students in 2018, 39 percent were Latino, 24 percent were Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI), 18 percent were Black, and 17 percent were white.

The second generation, by comparison, had somewhat larger shares of Latino and White students (45 and 19 percent), but smaller shares of AAPI students (20 percent) and Black students (10 percent).

Third-generation students were predominantly white (70 percent), followed by Black and Latino students (with 16 percent and 10 percent, respectively).

US States With Immigrant Families Students

In California, about half of the total number of students enrolled in colleges and universities were from immigrant families.

In the eight states of Hawaii, Nevada, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Washington, and Texas, the proportion of students from immigrant families ranged from 30 to 40 percent.

In 32 other states, the study said, at least 20,000 immigrant-origin students were enrolled in postsecondary education.

The study said that some of the Trump administration’s policies, like changes to the public charge rule, could potentially have a negative impact on some immigrant-origin students by reducing their families’ ability to afford post-secondary education.