Undergraduate Students Receiving Grant Aid

Grant aid is awarded by the federal and state governments, colleges and universities, employers, and other private entities—and it is the form of financial aid that best relieves the financial pressure of paying for college. [1] Unlike loans, grants do not have to be repaid; unlike work-study, grants do not require work in exchange for funding; and unlike tax credits, grants are available when bills must be paid.

Institutional grant aid varies depending on the resources and policies of the colleges and universities. Some of this grant aid depends on academic achievement, but many institutions allocate grant aid primarily based on students’ financial need.

Share of Full-Time Undergraduates Students Who Received Grant Aid, by Sector and Race and Ethnicity: 2019-20


U.S. Department of Education, National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, 2020

Institutions were categorized into sectors based upon control of the institution and the length of the predominant award granted.

Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.

Data for for the following should be interpreted with caution. Estimate is unstable because the standard error represents more than 50 percent of the estimate.

  • International students, For-Profit, 2019-2020

Reporting standards not met for the following data:

  • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, Public Four-Year, 2019-2020

[1] According to Cameron et al. (2023), employer aid consisted of grants to students from their employers or their parents’ employers, including employer-paid tuition reimbursements. It included tuition waivers from postsecondary institutions for faculty or staff and their dependents, but it did not include tuition waivers for graduate students holding assistantships. Percentage estimates indicate students who received any aid amount. Average award amounts include only students who received aid.