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Below are some highlights from Trends in Student Aid 2018. Download the report's full highlights and visit our resource library to see related tables, figures, and more.

How Much Aid Are Students Getting?

$241.3 billion:The total amount of aid that undergraduate and graduate students received in 2017-18 from all grants, loans, tax credits, and work-study. (Table 1)

Average aid per full-time equivalent (FTE) student in 2017-18 was:

  • $14,790 per undergraduate student
  • $27,230 per graduate student

For the average amount of aid per student over time, see Figure 1.

Grant Aid

$129.4 billion: The total amount of grant aid received by undergraduate and graduate students in 2017-18.

For more on total grants, see Figure 5.

Federal grant aid: In 2017-18, total federal grant aid was $41.7 billion including $28.2 billion in Pell Grants. Since 2010-11, federal grant aid—including Pell Grants—has been declining as a proportion of the total grant aid.

For more on Pell Grants, see Figures 20A, 20B, 21A, 21B.

State grants: Aid from states has been increasing over the past 5 years, and the amount varies by state. In 2016-17, state grant aid per FTE undergraduate student ranged from less than $200 in 9 states to over $1,000 in 13 states.

For more on state grants, see Figures 23A, 23B, 24A, 24B.

Institutional grant aid: Aid from colleges and universities is the only type of grant aid that grew rapidly over the past 5 years, from $48.4 billion (in 2017 dollars) in 2012-13 to $60 billion in 2017-18.

For more on institutional grants, see Figures 25A, 25B.

Aid from Loans

$105.5 billion: The total amount that parents and students borrowed to pay for postsecondary education in 2017-18.

  • This was the seventh consecutive year that borrowing declined.

For more on federal and nonfederal loans, see Figure 6.

Student Debt

$28,500: The average amount borrowed by 2016-17 bachelor’s degree recipients who took out loans to pay for college. This is a 3% increase over the average amount borrowed in 2011-12.

For more on student debt, see Figures 14A, 14B, Figure 15, and Figure 16.

To find out more about any of the highlighted data, visit our resource library or download the Full Trends in Student Aid 2018 report.