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ED Releases Trend Data on Pell Grant, Nonfederal Grant and Scholarship Recipients

By Allie Bidwell and Brittany Hackett, Communications Staff

The National Center on Education Statistics (NCES) recently issued three reports that compare data from the 1999-2000 academic year and the 2011-12 academic year to provide statistics on Pell Grant recipients and trends in undergraduate nonfederal aid. Below are summaries of the data included in the reports.

Trends and Characteristics of Pell Grant Recipients

One of three recently-released data reports from NCES examined the trends and characteristics of Pell Grant recipients over time, from the 1999-2000 academic year until the 2011-12 academic year.

During that time, the minimum Pell Grant award increased from $400 to $555, while the maximum award increased from $3,125 to $5,550. Between 1999-2000 and 2011-12, the average Pell Grant award in the United States increased from $1,900 to $3,400, in current dollars, not adjusting for inflation. The percentage of students who received Pell Grants also increased from 21.8 percent in 1999-2000, to 41.3 percent in 2011-12.

Among undergraduates at public four-year institutions, the percentage of students who received Pell Grants increased from 24.1 percent (with an average grant of $2,000) to 38 percent (with an average grant of $3,800). The change was similar at private nonprofit four-year institutions, increasing from 24.1 percent (with an average grant of $2,000) to 35.8 percent (with an average grant of $3,700). The percentage of students at public two-year institutions who received Pell Grants more than doubled from 16.5 percent in 1999-2000, to 37.7 percent in 2011-12. The average grant award also nearly doubled from $1,700 to $3,000. For-profit institutions have consistently had the largest percentage of Pell Grant recipients – 54.2 percent of students did in 1999-2000, with an average award of $2,000; and nearly two-thirds of students (64.2 percent) did in 2011-12, with an average award of $3,400.

According to the data, it is also more common for slightly older students, between age 24 and 29, to receive Pell Grants. In 1999-2000, nearly 30 percent of students between 24 and 29 received Pell Grants, compared with 22.4 percent of those under 23 years old, and 18.3 percent of those 30 or older, although the youngest students had the largest average grant amount. By the 2011-12 school year, those percentages increased to 48.9 percent (24 to 29), 37.8 percent (23 or younger), and 43.5 (30 or older).

The data also show that minority students continue to be more likely to receive Pell Grants. In 1999-2000, 39.9 percent of African-American students received Pell Grants, compared with 30.9 percent of American Indian students, 29.5 percent of Hispanic students (excluding Puerto Rico), and 17.2 percent of white students. In 2011-12, 61.9 percent of African-American students received Pell Grants, compared with 54 percent of American Indian students, 50 percent of Hispanic students (excluding Puerto Rico), and 33.5 percent of white students.

The lowest income students also continue to be more likely to receive Pell Grants and to have a higher average grant amount, according to the data. In 1999-2000, 60.1 percent of dependent students in the lowest income quartile received a Pell Grant, with an average grant award of $2,200. Another 17 percent of dependent students from the second-lowest income quartile received a Pell Grant, with an average award amount of $1,200. By 2011-12, however, the likelihood that lower-middle income students would receive a Pell Grant increased. More than three-quarters (79.4 percent) of students from the lowest income quartile received a grant, with an average award amount of $4,300, and more than half (53.3 percent) of those from the second-lowest income quartile received a grant, with an average award amount of $3,000.

NCES also released a report on the demographic and enrollment characteristics of nontraditional undergraduate students from the 1995-96 school year, to the 2011-12 school year.

Trends in Undergraduate Nonfederal Grant and Scholarship Recipients

Additionally, NCES released data on grant and scholarship aid awarded to undergraduate students between 1999-2000 and 2011-12.

According to the data, 70.7 percent of undergraduates in the U.S. (excluding Puerto Rico) received some form of aid in 2011-12, a significant jump from just 54.6 in 1999-2000. Among the same group, 57.2 percent received federal aid in 2011-12 compared with just 38 percent in 1999-2000, while 40.4 percent received nonfederal aid – defined as financial aid awarded by states, institutions, employers, and private organizations – in 2011-12, a slight increase from 36.9 percent in 1999-2000. Just over 15 percent of undergraduates in 2011-12 received state aid, while 20.5 percent received institutional aid, and 5.6 percent received employer aid.

Among undergraduates at public two-year colleges, 57 percent received some form of aid in 2011-12 compared with only 36.6 percent in 1999-2000. Federal aid was received by 43.6 percent of students at these institutions in 2011-12, compared with just 19.2 percent in 1999-2000. Nonfederal aid was received by 30.5 percent of students in this group in 2011-12, compared with 26.3 in 1999-2000. Among that nonfederal aid, 12.2 percent of students received state aid, 13.4 percent received institutional aid, and 4 percent received employer aid in 2011-12.

The percentage of undergraduates who received aid at public four-year institutions was 73.9 percent in 2011-12 and 62.6 percent in 1999-2000. Among this group, 60.3 percent received federal aid in 2011-12 – up from 46.9 percent in 1999-2000 – and 46.8 percent received nonfederal aid in 2011-12, up from 40.6 in 1999-2000. Regarding the nonfederal aid awarded in 2011-12, 22.7 percent of undergraduates in this group received state aid, 21.5 percent received institutional aid, and 5.9 percent received employer aid.

The amount of aid received by students at private four-year schools was 86.1 percent in 2011-12 and 77 percent in 1999-2000. Just over 67 percent of students in this group received federal aid in 2011-12 compared with 58 percent in 1999-2000. Nonfederal aid was received by just over 71 percent of students in this group in 2011-12, compared with just over 63 percent in 1999-2000. Just over 21 percent of students received state aid in 2011-12, while 58.4 percent received institutional aid and 9.5 percent received employer aid.

Among undergraduates at two-year-or-more proprietary schools, 88.1 percent received aid in 2011-12 compared with 86.9 in 1999-2000. Just over 78 percent of students at these institutions received federal aid in 2011-12, down slightly from 83.4 percent in 1999-2000. Just over 27 percent received nonfederal aid in 2011-12, compared with just over 30 percent in 1999-2000. At less-than-two-year proprietary schools, 88.5 percent of undergraduates received some form of aid in 2011-12, compared with 89.9 percent in 1999-2000. Federal aid was received by 86.7 percent of these students in 2011-12 – up slightly from 85.6 percent in 1999-2000 – while nonfederal aid was received by 20.6 percent in 2011-12, up slightly from 18.9 percent in 1999-2000. The data on what type of nonfederal aid was received was incomplete.

The data also used student characteristics like race/ethnicity or income to examine the percentage of undergraduates who received nonfederal grant aid, as well as the average amount received. Among dependent undergraduates in the lowest income quartile, 50.9 percent received nonfederal aid in 2011-12 with an average amount of $6,800. In 1999-2000, the percentage was 48.7 percent and the award amount averaged $4,700. When compared to students in the highest 25 percent income bracket, only 39.6 percent received nonfederal aid in 2011-12, but the average award amount was higher at $9,200. In 1999-2000, the percentage for these students was 30.5 percent and the average award amount was $6,600.

When the data was broken down by race/ethnicity, Asian undergraduates had the highest percentage and average award amounts of nonfederal aid in 2011-12 at 41.2 percent and $7,600. Hispanic students followed this group at 38.9 percent and $4,900, American Indian students at 37.6 percent and $5,000, and white students at 35.9 percent and $6,400. Pacific Islander students received 34.9 of the total nonfederal aid in the 2011-12 award year and an average award amount of $6,800 and 32.2 percent of nonfederal funds and an average award amount of $5,300 was received by black students.

Younger students also received more nonfederal aid in 2011-12, with aid going to 55.2 percent of students 18-years-old or younger, with an average award amount of $8,100. In contrast, only 25.9 percent of students 45-years-old or older received nonfederal aid in 2011-12, with an average award amount of $2,400.

 

Publication Date: 9/21/2015


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