The College Board, in its annual “Trends in Student Aid” report, estimates that a total of $154.5 billion in student financial aid was distributed in 2009–10. Grants now comprise about 50 percent of student financial aid from all sources, both federal and private sector.
In 2009–10, the average undergraduate student financial aid package was worth nearly $11,500. This figure includes more than $6,000 in grants and more than $4,800 in government-backed federal student loans. Graduate students received slightly more financial assistance, on average, in the form of grants — nearly $6,400 — but also borrowed more heavily. The average graduate student took out more than $15,700 in graduate student loans.Grants
Compared to student financial aid figures for 2008–09, grant aid to undergraduate students increased by 22 percent, while federal student loans increased by 9 percent. The 2009–10 academic year also saw a 16-percent increase in the average federal Pell Grant award to $3,656, the largest one-year rise in the program’s history. Only about one-fourth of all Pell Grant recipients, however, qualified for the maximum grant amount of $5,350.Student Loans
Private student loans — college loans issued by private lenders rather than by the federal government — represented about 8 percent of all student loans in 2009–10, a decrease from 25 percent in 2006–07.
Federal subsidized Stafford student loans made up about 35 percent of all student loans in 2009–10, an increase from 31 percent in 2006–07. Unsubsidized federal Stafford student loans accounted for 42 percent of the combined federal and private student loans taken out in 2009–10, an increase of about 12 percent from 2006–07.
Subsidized Stafford loans, which are available only to students who demonstrate financial need, are government-backed college loans on which the government will pay the interest while the student is in school or in a period of approved deferred payments. Unsubsidized Stafford loans are available to students regardless of financial need. Although students, as on a subsidized loan, may defer payments on a federal unsubsidized college loan while they’re in school or in certain other authorized circumstances, the student, not the government, will be responsible for paying all the interest that accrues on an unsubsidized loan during those periods of deferment. lawn care business loans