Washington — Sixty-six percent of undergraduates received some type of student aid during the 2007-8 academic year, up from 63 percent in 2003-4, says a report released today by the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics.
The center’s Institute of Education Sciences, the department’s research arm, conducts its National Postsecondary Student Aid Study every three to four years, and today’s report represents a preliminary look at data for 2007-8. The latest rise in the percentage of students receiving aid is not as sharp as the previous jump, from 55 percent in 1999-2000.
According to the “first look” report, which is typically followed by further analysis, the total average amount for all students receiving aid last year was $9,100. Fifty-two percent of students received grants, at an average of $4,900, and 38 percent obtained student loans, taking out, on average, $7,100. Over all, 47 percent of students received federal aid, 34 percent took out Stafford Loans, and 27 percent got Pell Grants.
Among students financially dependent on their parents, equal proportions of 28 percent came from families with annual incomes lower than $40,000 and higher than $100,000, the report says. Its tables break down students’ types of financial aid by income level, type of institution, and other characteristics. As for graduate students, 74 percent received financial aid in 2007-8, with an average amount of $17,600.
The report is based on responses from 114,000 undergraduates and 14,000 graduate students at more than 1,600 postsecondary institutions. More information is available on the statistics center’s Web site. —Sara Lipka