Average State Grant per Student by Dependency Status and Family Income over Time

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After increasing steadily between 1995-96 and 2007-08, state grant aid per full-time undergraduate student declined for students at all income levels between 2007-08 and 2011-12.

Figure 2014_28: Average State Grant per Full-Time Student in 2011 Dollars by Dependency Status and Family Income, 1995-96 to 2011-12, Selected Years

Figure 28 represents Average State Grant per Student by Dependency Status and Family Income over Time.  For a corresponding Section 508-compliant data table, see http://trends.collegeboard.org/student-aid.

Notes & Sources 

NOTES: Average grant amounts are per full-time student, including both recipients and nonrecipients. Includes students who were U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Income categories (all in 2011 dollars) are: lowest: less than $30,000; second: $30,000 to $64,999; third: $65,000 to $105,999; highest: $106,000 or higher.

SOURCES: NCES, National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012.

  • Across the nation, students from the lower half of the income distribution are much more likely than those from the upper half of the income distribution to receive state grant aid. For example, in 2011-12, 42% of students from the lowest income quartile received state grant aid, compared to 11% of those from the highest quartile.
  • In 1995-96, dependent students from the lowest family income quartile received about 9 times as much state grant aid on average as those from the highest family income quartile ($940 more in 2011 dollars). That ratio declined to 7 in 1999-2000, and to 4 in 2007-08 and 2011-12, when the difference was $1,230 per student.
  • The percentage of students from the lowest income quartile receiving state grants increased from 35% in 1995-96 to 49% in 2007-08 and decreased to 42% in 2011-12.
  • The percentage of students from the highest income quartile receiving state grants increased from 5% in 1995-96 to 14% in 2007-08, and decreased to 11% in 2011-12.
  • Over time, state grant aid has become less generous to independent students relative to dependent students.