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Key Points

  • The federal government’s share of total student aid increased from 67% in 2007-08 to 74% in 2010-11, but fell to 64% in 2017-18.
  • Loans made up 71% of federal student aid in 2007-08, but fell to 61% of the total in 2017-18.
  • Nonfederal loans fell from 25% of all education loans in 2007-08 to 7% in 2009-10. In 2017-18, 11% of total loans were nonfederal loans.
  • The share of federal student aid in the form of grants increased from 20% in 2007-08 to 27% in 2017-18.
  • Total federal grant aid rose by 88% in inflation-adjusted dollars between 2007-08 and 2017-18. During this 10-year period, veterans benefits nearly quadrupled and Pell Grants increased by 64% in inflation-adjusted dollars. Over the decade, Pell Grants fell from 78% to 68% as a share of federal grant aid and veterans benefits increased from 15% to 31% of the total.


Table 1: Total Student Aid and Nonfederal Loans in 2017 Dollars (in Millions), 2007-08 to 2017-18

Total Student Aid and Nonfederal Loans in 2017 Dollars (in Millions), 2007-08 to 2017-18

NOTES: Table 1 excludes a variety of small federal grant and loan programs as well as some small programs for veterans and members of the military. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) and Federal Work-Study (FWS) funds reflect federal allocations and do not include the required matching funds from institutions. 2017-18 FSEOG, FWS, tax benefits, state grants, institutional grants, private and employer grants, and nonfederal loans are estimated from earlier data. Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.

SOURCES: See Notes and Sources for a list of sources for data included in Table 1.

Also Important

  • In 2017-18, undergraduate students received 76% ($184.1 billion) of total student aid, including 95% of federal grants and 60% of federal loans. They received 86% of total grant aid from all sources and 63% of all loans, including nonfederal loans. The remainder of the aid funded graduate students. (Table 1)