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Indicator 20: Financial Aid
(Last Updated: August 2016)

Among full-time, full-year undergraduate students, 85 percent of Black and American Indian/Alaska Native students and 80 percent of Hispanic students received grants in 2011–12. These percentages were higher than the percentages of students of Two or more races (73 percent) and White (69 percent), Pacific Islander (67 percent), and Asian (63 percent) students who received grants.

The cost of a postsecondary education is a potential burden for some students in their completion of an undergraduate degree. Financial aid can help ease this burden. Grants and loans are the major forms of federal financial aid for degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students. The largest federal grant program available to undergraduate students is the Pell Grant program; in order to qualify, a student must demonstrate financial need. Federal loans, on the other hand, are available to all students. In addition to federal financial aid, there are also grants from state and local governments, institutions, and private sources, as well as private loans.


Figure 20.1. Percentage of full-time, full-year undergraduates who received financial aid, by source of aid and race/ethnicity: 2011–12

Figure 20.1. Percentage of full-time, full-year undergraduates who received financial aid, by source of aid and race/ ethnicity: 2011–12


1 Includes Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS).
NOTE: Full-time undergraduates are those who were enrolled full time for 9 or more months at one or more institutions. Data include undergraduates in degree-granting and non-degree-granting institutions. Data exclude Puerto Rico. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2011–12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:12). See Digest of Education Statistics 2014, table 331.35.


In school year 2011–12, the percentage of full-time, full- year undergraduate students who received grants varied by race/ethnicity. Higher percentages of Black and American Indian/Alaska Native (85 percent each) and Hispanic (80 percent) students received grants than students of Two or more races (73 percent) and White (69 percent), Pacific Islander (67 percent), and Asian (63 percent) students. A higher percentage of Black students than of Hispanic students received grants. The percentages of American Indian/Alaska Native and Hispanic students who received grants were not measurably different. Similar patterns emerged for the percentage of full-time undergraduate students who received Pell Grants.

In 2011–12, the percentage of full-time, full-year undergraduate students who received loans was highest for Black students. Seventy-two percent of Black students received loans, compared with 62 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native students, 59 percent of students of Two or more races, 56 percent of White students, 51 percent of Hispanic students, 51 percent of Pacific Islander students, and 38 percent of Asian students. The percentage of Asian students who received loans was lower than the percentage of any other racial/ethnic group.


Figure 20.2. Average annual amount of financial aid received by full-time, full-year undergraduates, by source of aid and race/ethnicity: 2011–12

Figure 20.2. Average annual amount of financial aid received by full-time, full-year undergraduates, by source of aid and race/ethnicity: 2011–12


1 Includes Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS).
NOTE: Full-time undergraduates are those who were enrolled full time for 9 or more months at one or more institutions. Data include undergraduates in degree-granting and non-degree-granting institutions. Amounts are in constant 2013–14 dollars based on the Consumer Price Index, prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, adjusted to an academic-year basis. Data exclude Puerto Rico. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2011–12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:12). See Digest of Education Statistics 2014, table 331.35.


Among full-time undergraduate students who received grants in 2011–12, Asian students received a higher average annual amount of grant aid ($12,120) than did White ($9,360), Black ($8,880), Hispanic ($9,580), and American Indian/Alaska Native ($9,650) students and students of Two or more races ($10,400). Black students received a lower average amount of grant aid than did White, Hispanic, and Asian students and students of Two or more races.

In addition, White students received a lower average annual amount of Pell Grant aid ($4,380) than did Black ($4,780), Hispanic ($4,740), Asian ($4,710), and Pacific Islander ($4,980) students and students of Two or more races ($4,690). The was no measurable difference in the amount of Pell Grant aid received by White students and American Indian/Alaska Native students ($4,600).

Among full-time undergraduate students who received loans in 2011–12, students of Two or more races received a higher average annual amount of loan aid ($11,250) than did Black ($10,320), Hispanic ($9,760), Asian ($9,790), and American Indian/Alaska Native ($8,260) students. Additionally, White ($10,620) and Black students received higher average annual amounts of loan aid than did Hispanic students. In contrast, American Indian/Alaska Native students received the lowest average annual amount of loan aid.


Figure 20.3. Percentage of part-time or part-year undergraduates who received financial aid, by source of aid and race/ethnicity: 2011–12

Figure 20.3. Percentage of part-time or part-year undergraduates who received financial aid, by source of aid and race/ethnicity: 2011–12


1 Includes Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS).
NOTE: Part-time or part-year undergraduates include those who were enrolled part time for 9 or more months and those who were enrolled less than 9 months either part time or full time. Data include undergraduates in degree-granting and non-degree-granting institutions. Data exclude Puerto Rico. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2011–12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:12). See Digest of Education Statistics 2014, table 331.37.


Among part-time or part-year undergraduate students in 2011–12, a higher percentage of Black students (65 percent) received grants than did students of Two or more races (57 percent) and Hispanic (56 percent), Pacific Islander (48 percent), White (45 percent), and Asian (44 percent) students. The percentages of Black and American Indian/Alaska Native students who received grants were not measurably different. Additionally, a higher percentage of Hispanic students than of White and Asian students received grants in 2011–12. Similar patterns emerged for the percentages of part-time undergraduate students who received Pell Grants, although the percentage for Black students was higher than that for American Indian/Alaska Native students.

In 2011–12, the percentage of part-time or part-year undergraduate students who received loans was highest for Black students. Forty-three percent of Black students received loans, compared with 36 percent of students of Two or more races, 34 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native students, 32 percent of White students, 31 percent of Pacific Islander students, 27 percent of Hispanic students, and 20 percent of Asian students. In contrast, the percentage of students who received loans was lower for Asian students than students of any other racial/ethnic group.


Figure 20.4. Average annual amount of financial aid received by part-time or part-year undergraduates, by source of aid and race/ethnicity: 2011–12

Figure 20.4. Average annual amount of financial aid received by part-time or part-year undergraduates, by source of aid and race/ethnicity: 2011–12


1 Includes Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS).
NOTE: Part-time or part-year undergraduates include those who were enrolled part time for 9 or more months and those who were enrolled less than 9 months either part time or full time. Data include undergraduates in degree-granting and non-degree-granting institutions. Amounts are in constant 2013–14 dollars based on the Consumer Price Index, prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, adjusted to an academic-year basis. Data exclude Puerto Rico. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2011–12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:12). See Digest of Education Statistics 2014, table 331.37.


Among part-time undergraduate students who received grants in 2011–12, Asian students received a higher average annual amount of grant aid ($4,340) than did White ($3,570), Black ($3,510), American Indian/Alaska Native ($3,480), Hispanic ($3,300), and Pacific Islander ($3,240) students. White students and students of Two or more races ($3,690) received a higher amount than Hispanic students. Asian students received a higher average annual amount of Pell Grant aid ($2,980) than did Black ($2,730) and White ($2,670) students and students of Two or more races ($2,660). Among part-time undergraduate students who received loans in 2011–12, there were no measurable differences between racial/ethnic groups in the average annual amount of loan aid received.

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