Financial aid is critical for most students and families who seek postsecondary educational opportunities. February is Financial Aid Awareness Month, a way to inform secondary students and their families of information and opportunities for federal, state, and local financial aid opportunities to support their postsecondary dreams. As we celebrate Financial Aid Awareness Month, here are some facts, statistics, and resources to guide your students’ college and career planning:
- The federal government’s annual budget for student grants is $32 billion, with just $30 billion claimed. That means that there is $2 billion in available federal grants that goes unclaimed each year.
- 84% of all college students receive financial aid.
- Full-time undergraduate students receive an average of $14,800 in financial aid. The breakdown of this includes, on average, $10,050 in grants, $3,780 in federal loans, $880 in education tax credits, and $90 in federal work study.
- The percentage of students who accept financial aid has seen a steady rate of growth over the past two decades, increasing 18.8% during that time.
- College students borrow an average of $11,836 per year to pay for school.
- 83% of students attending community college receive financial aid.
- A total of 17.7 million students filed the FAFSA in 2019-2020, down from the peak of 21.9 million applicants in 2011-2012.
- Federal student financial aid is available for vocational and trade school programs that include 15 weeks or more of training.
- 50% of public university students receive private grants and 83% of students at private, non-profit 4-year institutions receive institutional grants.
- 66% of students apply for federal financial aid using the Federal Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA). Some funding available through FAFSA is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, so students and families should apply as soon as the window opens.
Financial Aid Resources
Providing students and families with financial aid resources and information at strategic and regular intervals allows for thoughtful and proactive postsecondary planning. There is a tremendous amount of resources and online support for those navigating the financial aid process. To learn more about the timeline and process for completing FAFSA, students and families can visit the US government site on FAFSA Completion. Students who want to look for additional sources of scholarships and grants can search Fastweb.com, a national scholarship database. And, as students and families weigh their options and consider taking out student loans, they can use this interactive resource from the federal government to support exploration and decision making.
Making a college decision means making a financial decision, and students and families need resources to do that. SchooLinks supports students and families with information and activities on scholarships, FAFSA, financial literacy and more.