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Below are some highlights from Trends in Student Aid 2020. Visit our resource library for the full report, Excel data, and PowerPoint presentation.

How Much Aid Are Students Getting?

$242.0 billion: The total amount of aid that undergraduate and graduate students received in 2019-20 from all grants, loans, tax credits, and work-study.

Average aid per full-time equivalent (FTE) student in 2019-20 was:

  • $14,940 per undergraduate student
  • $27,310 per graduate student

Grant Aid

$140.9 billion: The total amount of grant aid received by undergraduate and graduate students in 2019-20.

Federal grant aid: In 2019-20, total federal grant aid was $41.6 billion including $27.8 billion in Pell Grants. Since 2010-11, federal grant aid—including Pell Grants—has been declining as a share of the total grant aid.

State grants: Aid from states has been increasing over the past 7 years, and the amount varies by state. In 2018-19, state grant aid per full-time equivalent (FTE) undergraduate student ranged from under $200 in nine states to $1,000 or higher in 15 states.

Institutional grant aid: Aid from colleges and universities grew rapidly over the past 10 years, from $41.8 billion (in 2019 dollars) in 2009-10 to $68.9 billion in 2019-20.


$102.0 billion: The total amount that parents and students borrowed in federal and nonfederal loans to pay for postsecondary education in 2019-20.

  • This was the ninth consecutive year that annual borrowing declined.

Student Debt

$28,800: The average amount borrowed by 2018-19 bachelor’s degree recipients who took out loans to pay for college. It was $26,600 in 2008-09 and $28,900 in 2013-14.

Default rates (a sign of borrower distress) and repayment rates (a sign of borrower repayment success) have both been declining over time.