Total Student Aid and Nonfederal Loans in 2012 Dollars over Time

In 2012-13, 28% of federal student aid was in the form of grants, an increase from 22% five years earlier. Loans declined from 70% of federal aid in 2007-08 to 60% in 2012-13, tax credits and deductions increased from 7% to 12%, and about 1% of federal aid was in the form of Work-Study during each of the past five years.

Table 1: Total Student Aid and Nonfederal Loans Used to Finance Postsecondary Education Expenses in 2012 Dollars (in Millions), 2002-03 to 2012-13
Notes & Sources 

NOTE: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding. The Ford Direct Student Loan Program began in 1992-93 and the Federal Family Education Loan Program was discontinued in 2010-11. The latest available data for education tax benefits are for calendar year 2011. Estimates for later years are based on these data. FSEOG and FWS funds reflect federal allocations made to institutions and do not include the required matching funds from institutions.

  • The federal government’s share of total student aid increased from 68% in 2002-03 and 67% in 2007-08 to 74% in 2009-10 and 2010-11, and was 71% in 2012-13.
  • During the 2012-13 academic year, $238.5 billion in financial aid was distributed to undergraduate and graduate students in the form of grants from all sources, Federal Work-Study (FWS), federal loans, and federal tax credits and deductions.
  • Private education loans, which are not part of the student aid system and do not involve subsidies, grew from about $10.5 billion (in 2012 dollars) in 2002-03 to $25.5 billion in 2007-08. Since that year, student loan volume from banks, credit unions, and other private lenders has declined, and totaled an estimated $8.8 billion in 2012-13.