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Total State Funded Student Financial Aid Dollars Increased in 2010-11

June 28, 2012

The 42nd Annual Survey Report of State-Sponsored Student Aid, recently released by the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs (NASSGAP), shows that state-sponsored student financial aid dollars rose from $10.8 billion in the 2009-10 academic year to approximately $11 billion in 2010-11—a 1.3 percent increase in inflation-adjusted dollars. The total includes need-based and nonneed-based grants and other nongrant aid.

As expected, total dollars of state aid awarded in 2010-11 varied greatly by state. The largest (California) gave $1.27 billion in student aid, while the smallest (New Hampshire) awarded $3.3 million. NACUBO‘s analysis shows that the average dollars for state aid (grants and nongrants) awarded per state was approximately $208 million.

Grants, the predominant form of state funded aid, represented $9.3 billion of the total $11 billion in state funds in 2010-11. Grants awarded on the criteria of need made up 71 percent of grant dollars, with nonneed-based grants representing 29 percent. The report does not specify how much of merit-based nonneed-based grants actually met student need.

Not all states have increased their funding for student financial aid. NACUBO analysis shows that 39.6 percent of states decreased their total grant aid from 2009-10 to 2010-11. Looking more long term, 18.8 percent of states have decreased their funding over the five-year period from 2005-06 to 2010-11. A smaller portion of states, 7.8 percent, have been decreasing student financial aid over the last decade.

The NASSGAP report also provides data on:

  • Expenditures for undergraduate and graduate student aid programs by need, merit, and special purpose.
  • Need-based grants by state and institution type.
  • Selected characteristics of primary need-based grant programs by state.
  • Grant dollars per estimated state population.
  • Undergraduate grant dollars per undergraduate enrollment.
  • State-by-state total grant expenditures as a percentage of state fiscal support for higher education operating expenses.

NASSGAP has collected data on state-sponsored student financial aid for 42 years. The 2012 Annual Report, as well as all prior years’ reports, can be downloaded at no cost from the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs Web site.


Natalie Pullaro Davis
Manager, Research and Policy Analysis