Do you have any statistics on
financial aid for postsecondary undergraduates?
Grants and scholarships1 and loans are the major forms of federal financial aid for first-time, full-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students. These are distinct forms of financial aid. Loans typically have to be repaid, whereas grants do not. The largest federal grant program available to undergraduate students is the Federal Pell Grant program. A student must demonstrate financial need to qualify for a Federal Pell Grant. Some federal loan programs are available to all students, and some are based on financial need. Other sources of financial aid include state and local governments, institutions, and private sources, as well as private loans. This Fast Fact only discusses forms of financial aid provided directly to students. Student loans include only loans for which the student is the designated borrower. They do not include Direct PLUS Loans2 or other loans made directly to parents.
At 4-year degree-granting postsecondary institutions overall, the percentage of first-time, full-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students awarded financial aid increased from 85 to 87 percent between 2010–11 and 2020–21. However, changes differed by control of institution (i.e., public, private nonprofit, and private for-profit). Between 2010–11 and 2020–21, the percentage of students awarded aid at 4-year institutions
- increased at public institutions (from 83 to 85 percent);
- increased at private nonprofit institutions (from 89 to 91 percent); and
- decreased at private for-profit institutions (from 91 to 85 percent).
At 2-year degree-granting postsecondary institutions overall, the percentage of first-time, full-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students awarded financial aid increased from 77 to 82 percent between 2010–11 and 2020–21. Over this period, the percentage of students awarded aid at 2-year institutions
- increased at public institutions (from 74 to 81 percent);
- showed no consistent trend at private nonprofit institutions (ranging between approximately 90 and 96 percent); and
- showed no consistent trend at private for-profit institutions (ranging between approximately 84 and 91 percent).
1 For the sake of brevity, “grants” will be used to refer to “grants and scholarships” for the rest of this Fast Fact.
2 Parent PLUS Loans are taken out by parents of dependent students and are used toward the students’ undergraduate education. Parent PLUS Loans were available through both the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program and the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) until FFELP was discontinued in 2010. Since then, Parent PLUS Loans have been referred to as Direct PLUS Loans.
SOURCE: National Center for Education Statistics. (2023). Sources of Financial Aid. Condition of Education. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved August 30, 2023, from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator/cuc.
Numbers in figure titles reflect original numeration from source Condition of Education indicators.
Related Tables and Figures: (Listed by Release Date)
- 2023, Digest of Education Statistics 2022, Table 331.20. Full-time, first-time degree/certificate-seeking undergrad students enrolled in degree-granting postsec. insts, by participation & avg. amount awarded in financial aid prgrms, and ctrl. and lvl. of inst: 2000–01 through 2020–21
- 2023, Digest of Education Statistics 2022, Table 331.30. Average amount of grant and scholarship aid and avg. net price for first-time, full-time degree/certificate-seeking students awarded Title IV aid, by ctrl. and lvl. of institution and income level: Selected academic years, 200910 through 202021
- 2023, The Condition of Education 2023: Loans for Undergraduate Students and Debt for Bachelor’s Degree Recipients
- 2022, Digest of Education Statistics 2021, Table 331.90. Percentage of full-time and part-time undergraduates receiving federal aid, by aid program and control and level of institution: 201112, 201516, and 201718
- 2022, Digest of Education Statistics 2021, Table 331.95. % of undergrad. degree/certificate completers who ever received federal loans and parent PLUS loans and avg. cumulative loan amt., by degree lvl., selected student characteristics, and institution ctrl.: 201718
- 2020, Digest of Education Statistics 2019, Table 331.45. Average amount of financial aid awarded to part-time or part-year undergraduates, by type and source of aid and selected student characteristics: 201516
Other Resources: (Listed by Release Date)
- 2023, 2019–20 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:20): First Look at Student Financial Aid Estimates for 2019–20
- 2023, Data Point: High School Counseling and College Financial Aid
- 2023, National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS): NPSAS examines the characteristics of students in postsecondary education, with special focus on how they finance their education.
- 2023, The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS): IPEDS is a system of surveys designed to collect data from all primary providers of postsecondary education.
- 2021, 201920 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:20): First Look at the Impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic on Undergraduate Student Enrollment, Housing, and Finances (Preliminary Data)
- 2021, National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, Administrative Collection (NPSAS:18-AC): First Look at Student Financial Aid Estimates for 201718
- 2019, Profile and Financial Aid Estimates of Graduate Students: 201516
- 2019, Student Financing of Undergraduate Education in 201516: Financial Aid by Type and Source
- 2019, Student Financing of Undergraduate Education in 201516: Students Net Price, Expected Family Contribution, and Financial Need
- 2019, Trends in Pell Grant Receipt and the Characteristics of Pell Grant Recipients: Selected Years, 200304 to 201516
- 2019, Trends in Undergraduate Nonfederal Grant and Scholarship Aid by Demographic and Enrollment Characteristics: Selected Years, 200304 to 201516
- 2018, Trends in Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Submissions