Skip Navigation

Financial aid

Question:
Do you have any statistics on financial aid for postsecondary undergraduates?

Response:

Grants and loans are the major forms of federal financial aid for first-time, full-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students.

They 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 Pell Grant program. A student must demonstrate financial need in order 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. The forms of financial aid discussed in this indicator are only those provided directly to students. For example, student loans include only loans for which the student is the designated borrower; they do not include Direct PLUS Loans1 or other loans made directly to parents.

At 4-year degree-granting postsecondary institutions overall and across types of institutional control (i.e., public, private nonprofit, and private for-profit), the percentages of first-time, full-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students who were awarded financial aid differed by less than 3 percentage points between academic years 2018–19 and 2010–11. Higher percentages of students were awarded aid in 2018–19 than in 2010–11 at institutions overall (86 vs. 85 percent), at public institutions (84 vs. 83 percent), and at private nonprofit institutions (90 vs. 89 percent).2 In contrast, a lower percentage of students in 2018–19 than in 2010–11 were awarded aid at private for-profit institutions (88 vs. 91 percent).


Percentage of first-time, full-time undergraduate students awarded financial aid at 4-year degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by control of institution: Academic years 2010–11, 2014–15, and 2018–19

The data in this figure is described in the surrounding text.

NOTE: Degree-granting institutions grant associate’s or higher degrees and participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Student financial aid includes any federal and private loans to students and federal, state/local, and institutional grants. Student loans include only loans made directly to students; they do not include Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) and other loans made directly to parents. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded data.


At 2-year degree-granting postsecondary institutions overall and across types of institutional control, the percentages of first-time, full-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students who were awarded financial aid differed by less than 7 percentage points between academic years 2018–19 and 2010–11. Higher percentages of students were awarded aid in 2018–19 than in 2010–11 at institutions overall (79 vs. 77 percent), at public institutions (77 vs. 74 percent), and at private nonprofit institutions (96 vs. 90 percent). In contrast, a lower percentage of students in 2018–19 than in 2010–11 were awarded aid at private for-profit institutions (87 vs. 90 percent).


Percentage of first-time, full-time undergraduate students awarded financial aid at 2-year degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by control of institution: Academic years 2010–11, 2014–15, and 2018–19

The data in this figure is described in the surrounding text.

NOTE: Degree-granting institutions grant associate’s or higher degrees and participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Student financial aid includes any federal and private loans to students and federal, state/local, and institutional grants. Student loans include only loans made directly to students; they do not include Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) and other loans made directly to parents. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded data.


1 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.

2 Student financial aid includes any federal and private loans to students and federal, state/local, and institutional grants.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2021). The Condition of Education 2021 (NCES 2021-144), Sources of Financial Aid.

Related Tables and Figures:  (Listed by Release Date)

Other Resources:  (Listed by Release Date)