Undergraduate Enrollment and Percentage Receiving Pell Grants over Time

The share of undergraduate students receiving Pell Grants rose from 25% in 2007-08 to a peak of 38% in 2011-12. It then declined steadily to 32% in 2017-18.

Figure 20A: Undergraduate Enrollment and Percentage of Undergraduate Students Receiving Pell Grants, 2007-08 to 2017-18

Notes & Sources 

NOTES: IPEDS headcount enrollments are adjusted for the difference between total headcount, which counts students more than once if they are enrolled in more than one institution at the same time, and unduplicated headcount reported by the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC). Twelve-month undergraduate headcount for 2017-18 is estimated from NSC data.

SOURCES: NCES, Postsecondary Institutions and Cost of Attendance in 2017-18, Degrees and Other Awards Conferred, 2016-17, and 12-Month Enrollment, 2016-17: First Look (Preliminary Data) and earlier editions; National Student Clearinghouse, Current Term Enrollment Estimates: Spring 2018; U.S. Department of Education, Federal Pell Grant Program End-of-Year Report 2016-17; U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid Data Center, Title IV Program Volume Reports and Aid Recipients Summary; calculations by the authors.

  • The number of undergraduates declined by 2.6 million (10%) between 2011-12 and 2017-18. The number of Pell Grant recipients declined by 2.4 million (26%) over these six years.