Pell Grants vs. Cost of Attendance

The relative purchasing power of the Pell Grant has stayed steady between 2003 and 2015, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). As illustrated below, in 2015-16, each sector of higher education, including two-year, four-year publics, and four-year private, non-profits, have purchasing power equal to that of the 2003-04 academic year. The challenge remains that the earnings of students and families has remained stagnant or decreased during that time.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2003–04, 2007–08, 2011–12, and 2015–16 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:04, NPSAS:08, NPSAS:12, NPSAS:16).

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