September 1, 2006

Confirming what we’ve known for years.

Posted in The Financial Aid Process at 10:41 AM by Joe From Boston


This article on USA Today was really interesting. We’ve all seen the huge tuition hikes in recent years and financial aid not keeping pace. Now we’ve got definiteive proof, and some very interesting statistics.

Financial aid can’t keep pace

By Mary Specht, USA TODAY
Financial aid for students attending public flagship universities increased from 2002 to 2005 — but not as much as tuition and fees did, suggests USA TODAY’s annual 50-state survey.

The survey collected financial aid data from 65 of the 75 flagship schools contacted. It took into account state, federal and institutional need- and merit-based scholarships and grants, but not loans.

Students who received aid got an average of about $1,000 more last year, the latest year for which data are available, than they did in 2002, the first year for which data were collected. The median aid increase nationally during those years was 17%. That is compared with about $1,465 more in tuition and fees, a median increase of 34%, in the same period.

“Long term, that trend is very troubling because that means the ability to pay is eroding, and it’s eroding most quickly for the lower-income population,” says Jamie Merisotis, president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy, a think tank in Washington, D.C.

The University of California, Berkeley reported the highest average amount of aid to students who received it: $12,021. Slightly more than half of its students received aid. Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., was another top provider of aid. The 92% of students who received aid got an average of $11,673.

Two other schools also averaged more than $10,000 per student receiving aid: the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, at $11,738, and the University of California, Los Angeles, at $10,301.

Of the schools providing data, average aid was lowest at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., at $2,389, where in-state tuition is $5,779.

The survey suggests that slightly more students at state universities are getting aid than did four years ago: 60% received aid in 2002, compared with 65% last year.

At eight of the schools surveyed, 90% or more of the students received some aid. At the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and the University of Florida in Gainesville, 95% received aid. (The University of Florida also had the lowest tuition of the 75 schools this year, $3,206.)

About 23% of students received aid at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the lowest percentage among the universities surveyed.

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