Total Enrollment and Percentage Receiving Pell Grants over Time

The total number of undergraduate students in the U.S. increased from 20.7 million in 2002-03 to 22.3 million in 2007-08 and to 24.8 million in 2012-13. The percentage of these students receiving Pell Grants increased from 23% in 2002-03 to 25% in 2007-08 and to 36% in 2012-13.

Figure 14A: Total Undergraduate Enrollment and Percentage of Students Receiving Pell Grants, 2002-03 to 2012-13
Notes & Sources 

NOTE: Percentages are based on preliminary IPEDS estimates of undergraduate headcount enrollment at Title IV–participating institutions. Some students may be counted more than once if they enrolled in more than one institution.

SOURCES: NCES, Enrollment in Postsecondary Institutions and Financial Statistics and Postsecondary Institutions and Price of Attendance in the United States; The Federal Pell Grant Program End-of-Year Report, 2011-12; projections from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education.

  • The number of undergraduate students grew at an average rate of 1% per year from 2002-03 to 2007-08 and an average rate of 2% per year over the second half of the decade.
  • The number of Pell Grant recipients grew at an average rate of 3% per year from 2002-03 to 2007-08 and an average rate of 10% per year over the second half of the decade.