Notes & Sources

Trends in Student Aidwas authored by Sandy Baum, senior fellow at the Urban Institute and research professor at the George Washington University Graduate School of Human Development, Diane Cardenas Elliott, independent policy analyst to the College Board, and Jennifer Ma, policy research scientist at the College Board, with invaluable assistance from D’Wayne Bell.

For inquiries regarding
Trends in Student Aid please contact:

Sandy Baum,

Diane Cardenas Elliott,

Jennifer Ma,

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Tables, graphs and data in this report or excerpts thereof may be reproduced or cited, for noncommerical purposes only, provided that the following attribution is included:

Trends in Student Aid.

© 2014 The College Board.

Data Definitions

Federal Aid:

  • FSEOG.Federal aid amounts include only federal funds allocated for the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) Program. Institutional matching funds required since 1989-90 are reported under institutional grants.
  • LEAP.Formerly known as the State Student Incentive Grant (SSIG) program, the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) monies reported under federally supported aid include federal monies only; the state share is included in the state grant category. Funding for the LEAP program ended with the 2010-11 academic year.
  • Veterans.Benefits are payments for postsecondary education and training to veterans and their dependents, including the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance program established in 2009-10 and all programs established earlier. The Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants program began in 2010-11. These grants provide non-need-based grants for students whose parent or guardian was a member of the Armed Forces who died in Iraq or Afghanistan as a result of performing military service after Sept. 11, 2001.
  • Military.Includes educational expenditures under the F. Edward Hebert Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program; Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) programs for the Air Force, Army, and Navy/Marines; and higher education tuition assistance for the active duty Armed Forces.
  • Other Federal Grants.Includes Higher Education Grants for Indian Students; American Indian Scholarships; Indian Health Service Scholarships; National Science Foundation predoctoral fellowships (minority and general graduate); National Health Service Corps Scholarships; National Institutes of Health predoctoral individual awards; the Jacob K. Javits Fellowship Program; and college grants provided to volunteers in the AmeriCorps national service programs, for which funding began in 1994-95.
  • Perkins Loans.Since FY06, no funds have been appropriated for new federal capital contributions. Perkins Loans are funded from past federal and institutional capital contributions as well as collections from borrowers. All Perkins Loans awarded are included as federal loans.
  • Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans.Prior to 1993-94, Stafford Loans for students were made by banks and other private lenders and guaranteed by the federal government. From 1994-95 through 2009-10, the guaranteed loan program, known as the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP), continued as part of the Stafford Loan program, alongside the Federal Direct Loan Program (FDLP), which lends federal funds to students. Beginning in 2010-11, all of the loans are Federal Direct Subsidized or Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans. The term “Stafford Loans” refers to whichever of these programs were in effect at the date in question.

    Direct Subsidized Loans are need-based student loans for which the federal government pays the interest while the student is in school and during a six-month grace period thereafter. Prior to June 2012, these loans were available to both undergraduate and graduate students, but the Budget Control Act of 2011 eliminated the program for graduate students, whose federal loans are now all unsubsidized or Grad PLUS loans. Interest accrues on Direct Unsubsidized Loans from the time they are disbursed.
  • Other Federal Loans.Includes loans from the Health Professions Student Loan Program, Disadvantaged Student Loans, the Nursing Student Loan Program, and the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) grant program. The TEACH grant program is operated as a loan program with 100% loan forgiveness upon completion of a service requirement. Current estimates suggest that approximately three-quarters of participating students will not complete the required service and thus will have their grants converted to Direct Unsubsidized Loans.
  • Tax Benefits.Data on education tax credits are IRS estimates of the volume of Hope, Lifetime Learning, and American Opportunity credits for tax years 1998 and later. A portion of nonrefundable dollars claimed on nontaxable returns is excluded to account for credits that do not reduce tax liability. Tax deductions are based on IRS Statistics of Income Table 1.4, with associated savings estimated by the authors based on the marginal tax rates applied to the taxable income of the taxpayers in each income bracket claiming the deduction on taxable returns. Calendar year amounts are split between the two associated academic years.

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Students:Enrollment numbers based on a federal formula that counts each part-time student as equivalent to one-third of a full-time student.

Graduate and Undergraduate Aid:The breakdown of aid between undergraduate and graduate students is estimated based on the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS) when not available from other sources.

Inflation Adjustment:The Consumer Price Index for all urban dwellers (CPI-U) is used to adjust for inflation. We use the CPI-U in July of the year in which the academic year begins. See the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index table for changes in the CPI-U over time.

Loan Totals:Nonfederal loans from private lenders, states, and institutions are included in Table 1 and several other figures and tables as an important source of funding for students, but are not considered financial aid because they provide no subsidy to students.


Campus-Based Aid (FWS, Perkins, and FSEOG), Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants, and ACG/SMART Grants:U.S. Department of Education, Annual Federal Program Data Books.

Education Tax Benefits:Income Tax Returns, All Returns, Tables 1.3, 1.4, 2, and 3.3, and additional Statistics of Income sources.

Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Student Loans:Unpublished data from U.S. Department of Education staff and the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Enrollment:Based on computations by Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) staff at the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Institutional Grants:Estimates based on IPEDS data through FY11, information from NPSAS, and data from the College Board’s Annual Survey of Colleges. These figures represent best approximations and are updated each year as additional information becomes available.

Military:Estimates based on available data from F. Edward Hebert Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program amounts from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Defense (Health Affairs). ROTC program data from the Air Force, Army, and Navy/Marines program offices.

Nonfederal Loans:Estimates for 2011-12 through 2013-14 provided by MeasureOne and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Earlier data based on information provided by lenders. Data from NPSAS 2008 and 2012 are also incorporated. Data on lending also collected from the major credit unions and their associations. Estimates of institutional lending are based on NPSAS, 2008 and 2012, as well annual surveys of institutions conducted for the College Board by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA). Data on loans from states are based on information collected from staff of state-sponsored private loan programs or state grant agencies, in addition to the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs (NASSGAP).

Other Grants and Loans:Data collected through conversations and correspondence with the officials of the agencies that sponsor the programs.

Pell Grant Program:Data from U.S. Department of Education staff. Other data are from

Federal Pell Grant End-of-Year Reports
and from the Federal Student Aid Data Center.

Private and Employer Grants:Estimates based on data included in NPSAS and on annual National Scholarship Providers Association surveys of major private student grant providers, supplemented by information from Scholarship America, annual reports of selected scholarship providers, and data from institutional financial aid offices.

State Grant Programs:2013-14: Estimates based on an annual College Board survey of all states. 1988-89 to 2012-13: 20th through 44th Annual Survey Reports of the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs (NASSGAP).

Veterans Benefits:Benefits Program series (annual publication for each fiscal year), Office of Budget and Finance, U.S. Veterans Administration and unpublished data from the same agency.


This publication benefited from comments by Jack Buckley, Melanie Corrigan, Michael Hurwitz, and Anne Sturtevant. Barbara Kridl and her colleagues at RTI International provided expert graphic design work, as well as advice on content. The publication would not have been possible without the cooperation and support of many people at the College Board, including Doris Chow, Jessica Howell, Donovan Hylton, Silvia Ivanova, Kathryn McGinley, and Suzette Stone-Busa.

We thank all of those who contributed to the data collection for this publication. Donald Conner and Anthony Hales of the U.S. Department of Education provided key data. We also received invaluable assistance from institutional research department staff and campus administrators who provided us with data through the Annual Survey of Colleges; state agency and special-aid program contacts; Paul Fielding at MeasureOne, Charlotte Pollack of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), Mike Solomon of the Illinois Student Aid Commission, and Amy Weinstein of the National Scholarship Providers Association.