Annual Report on State Financial Aid Funding Released

November 4, 2022

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Title: 52nd Annual Survey Report on State-Sponsored Student Financial Aid, 2020-2021 Academic Year

Author: National Association of State Student Grant Aid Programs

The National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs (NASSGAP) recently released an annual survey report on state student aid programs. The report highlights how states are funding student financial aid by providing descriptive overviews of the amount of and types of aid given from 2020 to 2021.

State-funded financial aid covers a significant portion of all financial aid dollars awarded to students and is often available to in-state students attending both public and private institutions. This data from NASSGAP is important for leaders to understand major trends among the states and potential directions moving forward. There are several key takeaways from the report:

Total dollars awarded by states remained relatively constant from 2019-2020 to 2020-2021. In both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years, states awarded around $14.8 billion in student aid. From this, around $12.9 billion was awarded in need- and merit-based grants, while around $1.8 billion was given in non-grant aid, such as loans or tuition waivers.

Need-based grant aid continues to be the most popular form of undergraduate student aid. The majority of states use some form of need-based aid. This type of scholarship is based on the student’s financial need and accounts for 66.7 percent of all undergraduate aid dollars in 2020-21. Comparatively, non-need-based grants comprised 24.2 percent of aid dollars, and loans accounted for 1.5 percent.

States rely on different types of aid for graduate students. At the graduate level, while need-based grants are still popular (37.2 percent of total graduate aid), tuition waivers account for slightly more (38.8 percent).

There is substantial variation between states in how they award student aid. The states with the highest totals of per capita grant aid were Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington. Yet some states specifically favor need-based funds, with eight states accounting for just under 70 percent of all need-based aid (California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington) totaling $6.3 billion.

The full report can be found here.

—Alexander Cassell

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