College Financial Aid Increasingly Benefiting the Wealthiest Students

A new study by Education Sector, a nonprofit Washington, D.C.-based think tank, finds that the nation’s wealthiest college students have seen the largest increases in financial aid in recent years from private colleges and universities. According to the study, in 1993 private colleges and universities gave financial aid to 53 percent of all students whose family income fell in the lowest quartile of all students. By the year 2000, 56 percent of all students from this low-income quartile received financial aid. Black students make up a disproportionate percentage of students in this income quartile.

In contrast, in 1993, 35 percent of students in the highest-income quartile, a group that is predominantly white, received some financial aid from private colleges and universities. By the year 2000, 51 percent of the college students from families in the highest-income quartile received financial aid.

In dollar terms, the average financial aid award for students in the low-income quartile increased by $700 in the 1993 to 2000 period. For students in the highest-income quartile, financial aid awards increased by an average of $1,300 during this seven-year period.

 

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