The U.S. Department of Education released statistics today showing the number of college students receiving financial aid is at an all time high. Data from the 2011-12 academic year show that 57% of students receive some type of aid from the federal government. This is the first time that a majority of college students are receiving federal aid. According to an article in Politico
About 41 percent of all undergraduates took out loans, up from 35 percent four years ago. Borrowing is on the rise even in top income brackets. About 46 percent of students with families making more than $100,000 per year took out student loans, and a majority of students from families making $80,000 or less borrowed to pay for college.
The numbers also show the effect of skyrocketing spending on the Pell Grant. About 41 percent of all students received the grant in 2011-12, a 14 percent increase. Congress expanded the grant program several times between 2007 and 2009. As the economy faltered and incomes fell, spending on Pell grew from $12.8 billion in 2007 to $35.6 billion in 2011 before falling slightly last year.