New Data on Financial Aid, Enrollment, Graduation and College Finances

Nearly 82% of the 3.3 million full-time, first-time (FTFT) undergraduate students attending Title IV institutions during the 2009-10 academic year received some form of financial aid, according to the latest data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

The data is included in the report titled First Look which collate findings from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) spring 2011 data collection. This collection includes:

·         Financial aid for the 2009-10 academic year

·         Enrollment for fall 2010

·         Graduation rates within 150% and 200% percent of normal completion time

·         Institutional revenues and operating expenditures for fiscal year 2010

In fall 2010, Title IV institutions enrolled 19 million undergraduate and 3 million graduate students and 14% (3.3 million) of undergraduate students were FTFT students. It is important to remember that this report is generally limited to FTFT undergraduate students and not the entire college student population.

Financial Aid

Generally, FTFT undergraduate students at private nonprofit and for-profit institutions were more likely to receive aid. Here is a breakdown of the percentage of FTFT undergraduate students who received some type of financial aid by sector:

·         91.8% at for-profit 4-year

·         88.8% at private nonprofit 4-year

·         88.0% at for-profit 2-year

·         81.5% at public 4-year

·         70.3% at public 2-year

Nearly half (48%) of FTFT undergraduate students received a Pell Grant. The average award was $4,254. Students at 2-year institutions and for-profit institutions were more likely to receive a Pell Grant. Here is the percentage of FTFT undergraduate students who received a Pell Grant by sector.

·         73.8% at for-profit 4-year

·         71.2% at for-profit 2-year

·         48.7% at public 2-year

·         33.5% at public 4-year

·         30.8% at private nonprofit 4-year

One in four (25.5%) FTFT undergraduate students received a state or local grant averaging $2,752. Nearly a third (29.2%) received an institutional grant averaging $7,529. Roughly 52% of these students borrowed a federal student loan and 5.3% borrowed a non-federal loan. The average federal loan was $6,456 and the average non-federal loan was $7,018. Borrowing of non-federal loans was more likely at private for-profit 2-year schools (10.1%) and private non-profit 4-year schools (8.6%).

Among these students who received any grant aid, differences in average price of attendance before aid and net price after aid varied by sector. At public 4-year institutions, average price for these students before aid was approximately $16,900 and the net price after aid about $10,200. At nonprofit 4-year institutions, average price before aid was roughly $32,700 and net price was about $16,700. At for-profit 4-year institutions, average price before aid was approximately $27,900 and net price was about $23,800.

Graduation and Retention

The overall four-year graduation rates for students starting college in 2004 was 38%.  However, graduation rates varied by sector.  Students seeking a bachelor’s degree at private nonprofit 4-year institutions were more likely to graduate on-time than their peers at 4-year public or for-profit institutions. The percentage of FTFT students attending 4-year institutions in 2004 who graduated in four years was higher at 52% at nonprofit institutions, 31% at public institutions and 20% at for-profit institutions. 

The overall six-year graduation rates were significantly higher than the four-year graduations rates.  For these students, the graduation rates was 58%. Graduation rates of FTFT students in 2006 increased when the time students were tracked was extended from 100% of normal time to 200%. At 2-year institutions the graduation rate increased from 23% to 37% and at from 45% to 70% at less-than-2-year institutions.

The report finds that full-time students are much more likely to matriculate. Among first-time undergraduate, students full-time students had a 72% 1-year retention rate while this rate was 44% among part-time students.