State Expenditures on Student Aid per Undergraduate Student (Dollars)
The cost of an undergraduate education can be reduced with financial assistance from the state government, the federal government, or an academic institution. This indicator is calculated by dividing the amount of financial support from state grants to both public and private institutions in the state by the total undergraduate fall enrollment at public and private degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the state. A high value is one indicator of state efforts to provide access to higher education at a time of escalating undergraduate costs. The actual distribution of state grants to individual students may be affected by the percentage of undergraduates who are state residents.
State expenditures on student aid are collected by the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs annual survey. It is reported by the location of the school as is the number of undergraduate students, as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics.
This indicator should be viewed relative to the tuition charged to undergraduates in a state, as some states have chosen to subsidize tuition for all students at public institutions rather than provide grants. Other differences between states, such as the amount of scholarship aid available from other sources, the percentage of students attending out-of-state institutions, and students’ eligibility for state funding, mean that readers should exercise caution when making comparisons between states (which may vary dramatically) and examining changes over time. Rapid increases in undergraduate student enrollment in a state may cause this indicator to fall, even during periods when absolute state student aid expenditures have increased.
Total state grant expenditures for financial aid include need-based and non–need-based grants. State assistance through subsidized or unsubsidized loans and awards to students at the graduate and first professional degree levels is not included. The year is the end date of the academic year. For example, data for 2015 represent costs for the 2014–15 academic year.
Data sources: National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs, Annual Survey Report; U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics.