CFED Scorecard

CFED Assets & Opportunity Scorecard

Education
Financial Aid for Postsecondary Education
Overview

Cost of attendance is consistently cited as one of the most significant barriers to attending college by low-income families. To defray these costs, all but one state offers aid to students. Most state aid falls into two categories: need-based and non-need-based. Whereas non-need-based aid can increase the number of well-off students that choose in-state schools, need-based aid encourages low- and moderate-income students to attend college who might not otherwise without the aid.

What States Can Do

To improve overall college attendance, states can provide adequate funding for financial aid. The national average for financial aid is $715 per undergraduate. States should ideally exceed that amount. To increase the number of low- and moderate-income students who attend college, states can ensure that aid is targeted to those who need it most. The national average for the percentage of state financial aid that is need-based is 76%. States should ideally exceed that percentage.

Strength of State Policies: Financial Aid for Postsecondary Education 1

Is state funding for financial aid above
national average of $715 per undergraduate?
Is state financial aid targeted to high-need students?
StateAdequate financial
aid funding?
Amount of financial
aid per undergraduate
Well-targeted
financial aid?
Percent of financial aid
that is need-based
Alabama $42 74%
Alaska $532 33%
Arizona $46 100%
Arkansas $1,064 6%
California $989 99%
Colorado $322 99%
Connecticut $290 99%
Delaware $533 65%
District of Columbia $729 4%
Florida $577 32%
Georgia $1,503 0%
Hawaii $75 100%
Idaho $16 96%
Illinois $712 99%
Indiana $890 98%
Iowa $276 93%
Kansas $125 100%
Kentucky $1,093 46%
Louisiana $1,360 11%
Maine $242 100%
Maryland $505 97%
Massachusetts $279 96%
Michigan $225 99%
Minnesota $737 99%
Mississippi $207 30%
Missouri $376 56%
Montana $123 73%
Nebraska $191 100%
Nevada $431 29%
New Hampshire $0 0%
New Jersey $1,252 98%
New Mexico $952 27%
New York $1,079 97%
North Carolina $842 98%
North Dakota $411 60%
Ohio $244 68%
Oklahoma $576 89%
Oregon $327 100%
Pennsylvania $842 99%
Rhode Island $189 100%
South Carolina $1,888 17%
South Dakota $117 0%
Tennessee $1,460 24%
Texas $725 100%
Utah $46 31%
Vermont $552 99%
Virginia $618 69%
Washington $1,318 99%
West Virginia $1,069 43%
Wisconsin $507 98%
Wyoming $623 100%

Notes on the Data

1. 45th Annual Survey Report on State-Sponsored Student Financial Aid: 2013-2014 Academic Year, (National Association of Student Grant and Aid Programs, 2015), Table 12. State funding for financial aid is adequate when it is above the national average of $715 per undergraduate, full-time equivalent. State financial aid is sufficiently targeted to high-need students when at least 76%, the U.S. average, of financial aid is allocated to high-need students.

How States Are Assessed

States receive credit for providing adequate financial aid funding if funding for financial aid is above the national average of $715 per undergraduate. States are given credit for sufficiently targeting financial aid to high-need students when at least 76%, the U.S. average, of financial aid is allocated to high-need students.

What States Have Done

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia provide more financial aid than the national average of $715 per undergraduate. One state, New Hampshire does not provide any financial aid to undergraduates. More than half of states (28) target a higher percentage than the national average (76%) of state financial aid to low- and moderate-income students. Georgia, New Hampshire and South Dakota do not provide any need-based financial aid.

Resources

Organizations and Experts:

Guides, Briefs and Papers:

Acknowledgements

CFED thanks Mike Solomon from the National Association of State Student Grant & Aid Programs for his input and expertise on this policy issue.

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