More Than 70 Percent of Undergraduates Get Financial Aid

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Meanwhile, states and schools haven't offered more aid to help families keep pace with rising college costs.

A new report shows that 71 percent of all undergraduate students got some kind of financial aid in the 2011-2012 school year. Four years earlier, it was 66 percent. That includes all sources of aid, with the exception of private help from family and friends.

Here are some other findings from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics:

  • Federal student loan usage likewise jumped 5 percentage points over that period — to 40 percent.
  • There was an even bigger jump in federal grants — from 28 percent to 40 percent.
  • States and schools don’t seem to be stepping up aid. Just 15 percent of undergraduates received state grants and 20 percent received a grant from the college or university they attend, and those figures are little changed from 2007-2008.
  • Among full-time, dependent students, state grants declined, from 29 percent to 26 percent.
  • The average total grant amount for grant recipients in the 2011-2012 school year was $6,200, and borrowers took out an average of $7,100 in student loans.

Meanwhile, costs are still increasing. “In-state tuition at community college jumped almost 6 percent, to an average of $3,131 last year; in-state tuition at a public, four-year college averaged $8,655, up 5 percent,” The Associated Press says.

While more college students are receiving federal financial aid, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said it’s not enough to deal with the rising cost of college.

“All of us share responsibility for ensuring that college is affordable,” Duncan told AP. “Increasing federal student aid alone will not control the cost of college.”

If you’re racking your brain for ideas to help pay for college, check out our video below on creative college financing.

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