Ten-Year Trend in Student Aid and Nonfederal Loans per FTE

Total financial aid per full‐time equivalent (FTE) student increased 54% over the last decade, from $9,700 (in 2012 dollars) in 2002-03 to $14,980 in 2012-13. In addition, students borrowed an average of about $840 in 2002-03 and about $550 in 2012-13 from nonfederal sources.

Figure 1: Ten-Year Trend in Student Aid and Nonfederal Loans per Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Student Used to Finance Postsecondary Education Expenses in 2012 Dollars, 2002-03 to 2012-13
Notes & Sources 

NOTE: See Notes and Sources for a list of programs included in other federal programs. The Campus-Based Aid category in Figure 1 includes FSEOG, Perkins, and FWS. FSEOG funds are included in calculations of federal grants per student and Perkins loans are included in calculations of federal loans per FTE student.

SOURCES: Table 1; National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), unpublished IPEDS enrollment data.

  • Over the decade from 2002-03 to 2012-13, grant aid per FTE student increased by 55% in inflation-adjusted dollars. Total loans per student, including  federal student loans, parent loans, and nonfederal loans, increased by 33%.
  • Over the five years from 2007-08 to2012-13, grant aid per FTE student increased by 34%, from $5,420 (in 2012 dollars) to $7,270. Total loans per FTE student declined by 4%, from $7,250 to $6,930.
  • As of July 1, 2012, graduate students are no longer eligible for Direct Subsidized Loans, on which the government pays the interest while students are in school.
  • As a result of this policy change, the largest changes in aid from individual programs between 2011-12 and 2012-13 were a 32% decline in Direct Subsidized Loans, from $2,580 (in 2012 dollars) to $1,740 per FTE student, and a 17% increase in Direct Unsubsidized Loans, from $2,970 to $3,480. Total Direct Loans per FTE student declined by 6% in constant dollars.