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Financing Postsecondary Education

Reports are listed by publication year, in descending order.

2008

Trends in Undergraduate Borrowing II: Federal Student Loans in 1995–96, 1999–2000, and 2003–04

By Christina Chang Wei and Lutz Berkner

This Postsecondary Education Descriptive Analysis Report uses data from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Studies (NPSAS:96, NPSAS:2000 and NPSAS:04) to examine trends in Stafford loan borrowing among undergraduates. Since 1995–96, borrowing of subsidized Stafford loans increased among low-income dependent undergraduates and among independent students at all income levels. The rate of borrowing any Stafford loan (subsidized or unsubsidized) increased among all but those in the lowest income category, for both dependent and independent undergraduates alike. While the average amount of subsidized loans has leveled off over time, unsubsidized loans have continued to grow both in the amount of the average loan as well as in the percentage of borrowers. Unlike subsidized loans, interest on an unsubsidized loan accrues and is usually added to the principal of the loan while the student is enrolled in school and not yet in repayment. This study found that between 1995–96 and 2003–04, an increasing proportion of both dependent and independent student borrowers at all income levels took out unsubsidized loans either alone or in addition to their subsidized loans. This was true particularly among independent students whose higher loan limits allow more of them to take out both types of loans. The Stafford loan program permits dependent students to take out both subsidized and unsubsidized loans, but the combined amount cannot exceed the maximum amount of a single loan. In 2003–04, about three-fourths (73 percent) of all dependent student borrowers took out the annual maximum amount allowed in subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans combined. This was an increase from 57 percent in 1995–96.

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2006

Student Financing of Undergraduate Education: 2003–04 With a Special Analysis of the Net Price of Attendance and Federal Education Tax Benefits

By Lutz Berkner and Christina Chang Wei

Using data from the 2003–04 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:04), this report provides detailed information about postsecondary prices and financial aid in 2003–04. Three-quarters (76 percent) of all full-time undergraduates received some type of financial aid and the average amount received was $9,900. One-half (50 percent) took out student loans ($6,200 average), and more than one-half (62 percent) received grants ($5,600 average). The average tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates in 2003–04 were $2,000 at public 2-year, $5,400 at public 4-year, and $18,400 at private nonprofit 4-year institutions. About one-fourth (24 percent) of the full-time undergraduates did not pay any tuition, because the entire tuition amount was covered by grants. The total price of attendance (tuition plus room and board and other expenses) for full-time undergraduates in 2003–04 was $10,500 at public 2-year, $15,200 at public 4-year, and $28,300 at private nonprofit 4-year institutions. After subtracting all financial aid (including loans), the average out-of-pocket net price of attendance for full-time low-income dependent undergraduates was $6,000 at public 2-year, $5,600 at public 4-year and $9,200 at private nonprofit 4-year institutions. In addition to the traditional types of financial aid (grants, loans, and work-study), this report presents estimates of the federal education tax benefits (Hope and Lifetime Learning tax credits, and tuition deductions). Nearly one-half (49 percent) of all undergraduates or their parents had their taxes reduced by an average of $600 by claiming these benefits. Among upper-middle-income students, more than two-thirds (69 percent) received an average reduction in federal taxes of $1,100.

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Dealing With Debt: 1992–93 Bachelor’s Degree Recipients 10 Years Later

By Susan P. Choy and Xiaojie Li

Using data from the 1993–2003 Baccalaureate and Beyond Study (B&B:93/03), this report describes the borrowing patterns of 1992–93 bachelor’s degree recipients and examines the repayment of undergraduate Stafford loans for those who had no additional degree enrollment. About half (51 percent) of all graduates had borrowed to help pay for their undergraduate education, borrowing an average of $10,200 from all sources. Among graduates with no additional degree enrollment, 74 percent had repaid all their undergraduate loans by 2003. Of the 26 percent still repaying their loans, the median debt burden (monthly payment divided by monthly income) in 2003 was 3.3 percent. Among bachelor?s degree recipients with no further degree enrollment, 39 percent had taken out Stafford loans as undergraduates. Among these Stafford loan borrowers, 5 percent ever had a deferment, 12 percent ever had a period of forbearance, and 10 percent had defaulted at some point. Students did not tend to run into repayment problems immediately; the average length of time between graduation and the first deferment, forbearance, or default was 4–5 years. For many, the problems were temporary, with 45 percent of defaulters able to re-enter repayment later. In addition, most of those who deferred or had periods of repayment were able to recover financially and did not default.

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Student Financing of Graduate and First-Professional Education, 2003–04: Profiles of Students in Selected Degree Programs and Part-Time Students

By Susan P. Choy and Emily Forrest Cataldi

This report uses the 2003–04 NPSAS data to describe the characteristics of graduate and first-professional students and how they finance their education, with a section focusing on students who attend exclusively part time. The report also includes a compendium of tables providing detailed data on student and enrollment characteristics, types of financial aid, sources of financial aid, and employment while enrolled. The report shows that the majority of students (60 percent) were enrolled at the master's level. Seventy-three percent of all graduate and first-professional students received some type of aid (grants, loans, assistantships, or work-study), and the average amount received by aided students was $15,100. Aid patterns varied across programs, however. For example, doctoral students were more likely than others to receive grant aid (55 percent vs. 38 percent of master?s students and 41 percent of first-professional students), while first-professional students were the most likely to borrow (78 percent vs. 40 percent of master?s students and 30 percent of doctoral students). About half (51 percent) of all graduate and first-professional students attended exclusively part time in 2003–04, and 70 percent of these students worked full time while enrolled.

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Changes in Patterns of Prices and Financial Aid

By Alisa Cunningham

This new NCES report uses data from the Integrated Postsecondary Educations Data System (IPEDS) to examine median prices of attendance, financial aid, and net prices for first-time, full-time, degree/certificate-seeking undergraduates over the period 1999–2000 to 2001–02. To capture the interaction between price of attendance and financial aid patterns over time and to take into account inflation during this period, indices of changes in three different types of prices—tuition, price of attendance, and net price—were developed for this report. The major findings of the study are that during this period, both the median price of attendance and the median value of total aid increased as a faster rate than inflation at public 4-year institutions, private not-for-profit, 4-year institutions, and private for-profit, less-than-4-year institutions. However, as a result of financial aid, net prices did not rise as rapidly as price of attendance. At public 2-year institutions, net prices not only increased at a slower rate than did sticker prices, but they also increased at a slower rate than inflation. The analysis of the price indices confirmed that examining different types of prices and net prices may lead to different conclusions. In all institutional sectors, increases in median tuition and fee levels and in price of attendance tended to be greater than increases in net prices. In most sectors, median net prices increased at a slower rate than did price of attendance over the three-year period reviewed in this report. In the public 2-year sector, net prices increased at a slower rate than inflation or even decreased.

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2005

Debt Burden: A Comparison of 1992–93 and 1999–2000 Bachelor’s Degree Recipients a Year After Graduating

By Susan Choy and Xiaojie Li

This report uses the 1994 and 2001 Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study (B&B) to compare the borrowing patterns of 1992–93 and 1999–2000 bachelor’s degree recipients. It also examines their repayment situations and resulting debt burdens (defined as monthly loan payments as a percentage of monthly salary income) a year after they graduated. Members of the earlier cohort finished their undergraduate borrowing before the changes in the Stafford loan program were implemented, and most members of the later cohort would have done all of their borrowing under the new rules. The major finding of the analysis was that although both the percentage of graduates who had borrowed for their undergraduate education and the average total amount borrowed (adjusting for inflation) increased, the median debt burden (as defined in the previous paragraph) a year after graduating was about the same for both cohorts.

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2004

A Decade of Undergraduate Student Aid: 1989–90 to 1999–2000

By Christina Chang Wei, Xiaojie Li, and Lutz Berkner

Tuition increases and the broader availability of federal student loans were the major driving forces of change in undergraduate student financing during the 1990s. A Decade of Undergraduate Student Aid: 1989–90 to 1999–2000 uses data from four National Postsecondary Student Aid Studies (NPSAS) to look at changes in financial aid to students in four types of institutions: public 2-year; public 4-year; private not-for-profit 4-year; and private for-profit less-than-4-year. The study focuses on full-time, full-year undergraduates in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico and includes information on grants, loans, and work-study aid. The report also discusses the 1992 Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA-92) and its effects on how federal financial aid was distributed over time.

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2003

How Families of Low- and Middle-Income Undergraduates Pay for College: Full-Time Dependent Students in 1999–2000

By Susan Choy and Ali Berker

Paying for college has always been considered primarily a family responsibility, to be met to the extent possible through some combination of income, savings, and borrowing. However, a variety of government, institutional, and private programs exist to help students who lack the necessary financial resources or whose academic or other achievements qualify them for scholarships. This report describes how the families of dependent students used financial aid and their own resources to pay for college, emphasizing variation by family income and type of institution attended. The tables in this report show many aspects of student financing at five types of institutions, and within each type, at five levels of family income.

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What Colleges Contribute: Institutional Aid to Full-Time Undergraduates Attending 4-Year Colleges and Universities

By Laura Horn and Katharin Peter

Many colleges and universities, both public and private, provide grant aid to undergraduates to help them pay for all or part of the tuition and fees charged by the institution. This study provides information about recent trends in institutional aid receipt and then examines the relationship between such aid and the likelihood of recipients staying enrolled in the awarding institution relative to comparable unaided students.

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Characteristic of Undergraduate Borrowers: 1999–2000

By Melissa E. Clinedinst, Alisa F. Cunningham, and Jamie P. Merisotis

Using the 1999–2000 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:2000), this report describes the population of undergraduate students who borrowed to help finance college attendance in 1999–2000. Two sets of borrower groups were considered: 1) high, medium, low, and nonborrowers as defined by borrowing from all sources; and 2) Stafford loan maximum borrowers (total, subsidized, and unsubsidized), less-than-maximum borrowers, and Stafford nonborrowers. The report describes the demographic and enrollment characteristics of these borrowers as well as their risk for not persisting to completion of an educational program and the various types of loans and other financial aid they received. The report also considers all borrowers as a group and explores the likelihood of borrowers with certain characteristics obtaining particular types of financial aid.

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What Students Pay for College: Changes in Net Price of College Attendance Between 1999–2000

By Laura Horn, Christina Chang-Wei, and Ali Berker

The report examines the most recent trends in the net price of college attendance (price includes tuition, living expenses and other nontuition costs), analyzing changes in various measures of net price between 1992–93 and 1999–2000. Price changes are reported for full-time students attending different types of institutions, and trends are reported for low- middle- and high-income students. Despite increases in tuition, once all grant aid combined (including federal, state and institutional aid) was subtracted from the total price of attendance, low-income students did not pay a higher price on average in 1999–2000 than they did in 1992–93. In almost all cases, however, middle- and high-income students did pay more on average to attend in 1999–2000 than in 1992–93.

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Persistence and Attainment of Beginning Students with Pell Grants

By Christina Chang-Wei and Laura Horn

This report describes Pell Grant recipients who began postsecondary education in 1995–96 and compares their postsecondary outcomes 3 years later with low- and middle-income students who did not receive a Pell Grant. In examining outcomes, high school academic preparation and factors that place students at risk of not finishing postsecondary education were taken into consideration. Despite the finding that Pell Grant recipients were less prepared academically and had more risk factors, the analysis could not detect a difference in the rate of persistence between Pell Grant recipients and their nonrecipient counterparts, either among those enrolled in all 4-year institutions or all less-than-4-year institutions.

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Study of College Costs and Prices, 1988–89 to 1997–98

By Alisa Cunningham, J. Wellman, Melissa Clinedinst, and Jamie Merisotis

This report presents the findings of a study mandated by Congress as part of the 1998 Amendments to the Higher Education Act. The study examines the relationship between costs and prices at groups of public and private not-for-profit institutions, and explores the potential association between financial aid and tuition, using data primarily from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Volume 2 (2002-158) contains seven commissioned papers papers from expert authors in the higher education community, as part of the first phase of a study mandated by Congress as part of the 1998 Amendments to the Higher Education Act.

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Student Financing of Undergraduate Education in 1999–2000

By Lutz Berkner, Katharin Peter, and Kathryn Rooney

This report begins with a discussion of the percentage of undergraduates receiving various types of financial aid, the sources of the aid, and the average award amounts in 1999–2000. The focus is on loans and grants at the four major types of institutions where undergraduates were enrolled: public 2-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, and private for-profit postsecondary institutions. In addition to the loans received in 1999–2000, there is also a description of the cumulative amount of federal loans that students had ever borrowed as undergraduates. The report also includes a compendium of tables that describe tuition, total price of attendance, and the various types and sources of financial aid in more detail by institutional and student characteristics.

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Student Financing of Graduate and First-Professional Education, 1999–2000: Profiles of Students in Selected Degree Programs and Their Use of Assistantships

By Susan Choy and Sonya Geis

This report uses the 1999–2000 NPSAS data to describe the financing of graduate and first-professional education. It describes how students in selected graduate and first-professional programs pay for their education and compares the use of assistantships across programs and fields of study. The report also includes a compendium of tables providing detailed data on student characteristics, types of financial aid, sources of financial aid, and employment while enrolled.

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2001

Middle Income Undergraduates: Where They Enroll and How They Pay for Their Education

By Jennifer Presley and Sue Clery

This report examines the characteristics of dependent middle-income undergraduates who attended college full-time, full-year, and how they paid for their education. It also compares these undergraduates with their lower and higher income counterparts. It examines strategies that these middle income undergraduates might have used to meet the gap between financial aid and financial need (unmet need). The report also looks at how they filled the gap between price of attendance and the amount of financial aid they received (out-of-pocket costs). Data are shown separately for those with financial need and no financial need, and by price of attendance.

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Undergraduates Enrolled with Higher Sticker Prices

By John Lee

This report investigates the differences between undergraduates who attended postsecondary institutions by the sticker price levels they faced. Student characteristics, reasons for attendance finances, academic differences, student satisfaction, and persistence are among the topics explored. Undergraduates attending institutions with higher sticker prices and those in public research universities with sticker prices below $12,000 were traditional and academically prepared students from families with similar family incomes. However, undergraduates in the two groups had different reasons for selecting the institutions they did.

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2000

Debt Burden Four Years After College

By Susan Choy

Using data from 1992–93 Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study and the two follow-ups conducted in 1994 and 1997, this report examines the debt of 1992–93 bachelor's degree recipients in light of their financial circumstances in 1997, approximately 4 year after they earned their degree. First, it reviews the amount they borrowed as undergraduates and describes any additional borrowing by those who had enrolled in a graduate degree program. Next, it examines the progress that borrowers had made in repaying their student loans in 1997. Finally, the study describes their debt burden by examining the relationship between student loan payments and income and by searching for other indications of the impact of borrowing.

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Low-Income Students: Who They Are and How They Pay for Their Education

By Susan Choy

This report examines the characteristics of low-income undergraduates and how they pay for college. It begins with a profile of low-income students, comparing them with their not-low-income counterparts. Then, focusing on low-income students who attend full time, full year, it examines their financial need, describes the contribution of financial aid, and presents what is known about how they close the gap between what they have to pay and the amount of aid they receive. Finally, the report compares three-year persistence among low-income and not-low-income undergraduates.

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Trends in Undergraduate Borrowing: Federal Student Loans in 1998–90, 1992–93, and 1995–96

By Lutz Berkner

This study compares the borrowing patterns of undergraduates surveyed in the last three National Postsecondary Student Aid Study surveys (NPSAS:90, NPSAS:93, and NPSAS:96). The analysis examines students who received federal Stafford or Supplemental Loans to Students (SLS) and analyzes differences in borrowing before and after the 1992 Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

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Students at Private For-Profit Institutions

By Ronald Phipps, Kathryn Harrison, and Jamie Merisotis

Postsecondary education provided to students in private, for-profit institutions has been the topic of frequent and sometimes controversial-public policy action in recent years. Among the most important of those actions were changes implemented in the 1992 Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act that resulted in significant declines in overall participation by students at private, for-profit institutions in federal student aid programs. This report examines the financing patterns of students at these institutions and profiles changes in their demographic and enrollment characteristics between 1992–93 and 1995–96. It also includes a special focus on students attending 4-year, for-profit postsecondary institutions that offer programs leading to a baccalaureate degree.

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1999

Employer Aid for Postsecondary Education

By John Lee and Sue Clery

Using the NPSAS and NHES data, this report examines the support employers provide employees attending postsecondary education institutions. The questions addressed in this report include: What types of training and education did employers support?; how important were postsecondary institutions in providing employer-supported training and education compared to other sources of education?; and which types of employees were more likely to have received financial support from employers if they enrolled in a credential program?

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State Aid for Undergraduates in Postsecondary Education

By John Lee and Sue Clery

This report examines the differences between undergraduates who attended postsecondary institutions in states that provide different levels of state aid. Specifically, it describes how students combine their aid types and sources, their price of attendance, personal characteristics, and examines the relationship between these variables and the undergraduates' probability of attending institutions in either a high or low state aid group.

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1998

Student Financing of Graduate and First-Professional Education, 1995–96: With Profiles of Students in Selected Degree Programs

By Susan Choy and Ronald Moskovitz

This report uses the 1995–96 NPSAS data to describe the financing of graduate and first-professional education. It begins with a series of profiles of students in selected graduate and first-professional programs.

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Student Financing of Undergraduate Education in 1995-96

By Lutz Berkner

This report profiles undergraduates who were enrolled in U.S. postsecondary institutions in the academic year 1995–96. It begins with an essay that explores the extent to which undergraduates work while they are enrolled in school.

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Postsecondary Financing Strategies: How Undergraduates Combine Work, Borrowing, and Attendance

By Stephanie Cuccaro-Alamin and Susan Choy

This report examines the postsecondary financing strategies of undergraduates. Specifically, it describes how undergraduates combine work, borrowing, and attendance to support their postsecondary enrollment, and examines the relationship between various financing strategies and students' persistence in postsecondary education.

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Institutional Aid: 1992–93

By John Lee and Sue Clery

This report examines institutional aid awards among students who were enrolled in postsecondary education in 1992–93, using nationally representative data on student financial aid and background characteristics. Features of the institutions that these students attended, as well as characteristics of the students themselves, were examined in relation to the presence and size of institutional awards they received.

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Access to Postsecondary Education for 1992 High School Graduates

By Lutz Berkner and Lisa Chavez

Using the second (1992) and the third (1994) follow-ups of the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88), this report examines access to postsecondary education by low-income and minority students. Students are characterized according to whether they are at least minimally qualified academically to attend a 4-year institution. The role of financial aid is examined both in relationship to preconceived attitudes towards college costs and the actual experience of enrolled students.

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1997 

Early Labor Force Experiences and Debt Burden

By Susan Choy

With borrowing becoming an increasingly common way for undergraduates to finance their postsecondary education, this report examines this phenomenon relative to students' early labor market experiences after they leave. Students who are recent college graduates as well as those who dropped out are included in the analysis. Using data from the BPS and B&B surveys, the report focuses on the labor force status, the amount borrowed, the repayment schedule, and overall debt burden (monthly income devoted to repayment) experienced by students following their departure from PSE.

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1996 

How Low-Income Undergraduates Financed Postsecondary Education: 1992-93

By Susan Choy

This report describes how low-income undergraduates (defined as family income below 125 percent of the federally established poverty threshold) finance their postsecondary education. It examines specific subgroups of students, including those who are dependent, single independent, and independent with dependents.

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1995

Packaging of Undergraduates Student Financial Aid: 1989-90

By John Lee and Sue Clery

This report describes combinations of different types and sources of undergraduate aid called packages. It shows the percentage of undergraduates receiving various packages and the amount awarded for each package type.

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