The cost of a postsecondary education is a potential barrier to completing an undergraduate degree. Financial aid can help ease this burden. Financial aid includes assistance in the form of grants, loans, work-study, or any other type of aid. In the 2007–08 school year, the percentage of full-time undergraduate students who received financial aid and the amount of financial aid received varied by racial/ethnic group.
In 2007–08, a higher percentage of Black full-time, full-year undergraduate students received financial aid than did White, Hispanic, Asian, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander full-time, full-year undergraduates and full-time, full-year undergraduates of two or more races. Ninety-two percent of full-time, full-year Black undergraduate students received financial aid, compared to 85 percent of Hispanic students, 77 percent of White students, 68 percent of Asian students, 80 percent of Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander students, and 83 percent of students or two or more races. The percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native students (85 percent) who received aid was not measurably different from the percentage of Black students who received aid, in part due to a large standard error.
Grants and loans are two primary forms of financial aid. Grants are a type of student financial aid that does not require repayment or employment. Grants include need-based grants, merit-only scholarships, tuition waivers, and employer tuition reimbursements. In contrast, loans require repayment and can be issued by federal, state, institutional, or private sector financial institutions. Loans also include federal PLUS loans30 to parents, but do not include loans from family or friends to the student or commercial loans to parents.
In 2007–08, among full-time, full-year students who received financial aid, Black students received higher average amounts of aid ($13,500), than White ($12,900), Hispanic ($11,400), Asian ($12,600), and American Indian/Alaska Native ($10,900) students. Hispanic students received a lower average amount of aid than White and Asian students. Asian students received the highest amount of aid in the form of grants ($8,800). However, Asian students received a lower amount of aid in the form of loans ($8,800) than did White students ($9,800).View Table 25
30 Federal PLUS loans are available to parents of dependent undergraduate students and include Direct Loans from the federal government and loans from private lenders under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program.