Grant aid grows, outpacing tuition
The percent of grant aid received on average by students at Minnesota's Private Colleges increased 94% over eight years, from 2000-01 to 2008-09. This compares to the change in published tuition and fees of 61% over the same time period.
Grant aid clearly makes a difference in making our institutions affordable. Although the list price for a college education continues to grow, the amount our students actually paid has declined from 57% to 51% of the published tuition price between 2000-01 and 2008-09.
Grant aid comes primarily from three sources — the State Grant, federal grants and grant aid directly from institutions. In 2008-09, the average aid to member institution students was:
State Grant — $3,781
Federal grant — $5,069
Institutional grants — $13,123
Institutional grant aid is the primary source of financial assistance to students enrolled at private nonprofit institutions. Since 2000-01, institutional grant aid provided directly by our institutions has increased 75% — from $175 million to more than $307 million. Government aid has increased as well, just not as significantly as institutional aid. Over the same time, federal aid to our students has increased by 29% and State Grant aid has actually decreased by 8% due to enrollment fluctuations of eligible students and policy changes in the program.
While institutional grant dollars have generally increased, they are also being spread across a larger student body, given an enrollment increase of approximately 12%. Average institutional grants to our students have increased from about $7,500 in 2000-01 to more than $13,000 in 2008-09. At the same time, the number of students receiving these grants has grown from 7,110 to 8,137 — a 14% increase.
Costs continue to rise, but our institutions are working hard to keep college affordable. Higher education is an investment that provides economic returns over time. Individuals with college degrees see higher earnings (BA/BS degree holders will earn an average of 61% more over a 40-year working life than the typical high school graduate). Societal benefits include lower unemployment, better overall health and higher tax revenues for states and local governments. The substantial aid that's available helps low- and middle-income students continue to reap these benefits.