The percentage of undergraduates who use financial aid to help pay for college and the average annual aid amount both went up in the first few years after the economic downturn began, federal data released on Tuesday confirm.
Seventy-one percent of undergraduates received some form of aid in the 2011-12 academic year, up from 66 percent in 2007-8, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. Their average aid amount also went up, to $10,800 from $9,000 four years earlier, shows a report of selected findings from the latest round of the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, known as NPSAS, a nationally representative sample survey of students enrolled between the summers of 2011 and 2012.
The increase in students’ use of aid is part of a longer-term trend, but still, the new report is likely to spark attention. This iteration of NPSAS comes out as stakeholders gear up for the next reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, expected in 2014. And this week, President Obama plans to discuss his vision for reducing the cost of college, especially for middle-class students and families, on a two-day bus tour. <Read more.>