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Key Points

  • Lower-price private nonprofit four-year institutions tend to award larger shares of their grant aid without regard to the financial circumstances of recipients. In 2015-16, the lowest-price institutions (those with tuition and fees of less than $25,000) awarded more institutional grant aid, on average, to students from families with incomes of $70,000 or higher than to those from families with lower incomes.
  • On average, dependent students from families with incomes below $35,000 received more than five times as much institutional grant aid at high-tuition private colleges in 2015-16 as similar students at low-tuition private colleges ($33,260 vs. $6,160). Students from families with incomes of $120,000 or higher received, on average, about 50% more grant aid at high-tuition colleges than similar students at low-tuition colleges ($12,840 vs. $8,660).
  • In 2015-16, the lowest-income dependent students at public doctoral universities received about 25% more institutional grant aid, on average, than those from families with incomes of $120,000 or higher ($3,110 vs. $2,490). At public master’s universities, average institutional grants were similar for students from all income groups.

Figure 25A: Average Need-Based and Non-Need-Based Institutional Grant Aid, Full-Time Undergraduates at Private Nonprofit Four-Year Institutions, 2015-16

Figure 25A: Average Need-Based and Non-Need-Based Institutional Grant Aid, Full-Time Undergraduates at Private Nonprofit Four-Year Institutions, 2015-16

NOTES: Includes full-time undergraduates who were U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Averages are across all full-time students enrolled for the full year at one institution, including those who did not receive institutional grant aid. Non-need-based aid is based entirely on merit or other circumstances not related to need and includes athletic and merit scholarships, tuition waivers of all kinds, and other categories of institutional awards. Each tuition and fee category in Figure 25A includes about one-quarter of full-time undergraduates in the sector.

SOURCES: NCES, NPSAS 2016; calculations by the authors.

Figure 25B: Average Need-Based and Non-Need-Based Institutional Grant Aid, Full-Time Undergraduates at Public Doctoral and Master’s Institutions, 2015-16

Average Need-Based and Non-Need-Based Institutional Grant Aid, Full-Time Undergraduates at Public Doctoral and Master’s Institutions, 2015-16

NOTES: Includes full-time undergraduates who were U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Averages are across all full-time students enrolled for the full year at one institution, including those who did not receive institutional grant aid. Non-need-based aid is based entirely on merit or other circumstances not related to need and includes athletic and merit scholarships, tuition waivers of all kinds, and other categories of institutional awards. Public bachelor’s colleges, which enroll about 5% of undergraduates in the public sector, are not included in Figure 25B.