Media Availability: NASFAA Comments on College Board’s 2013 Trends Reports

Contact: Beth Maglione
(202) 785-6944

Financial aid professionals offer context about new financial aid and college cost data

Oct. 23, 2013 -- This morning, the College Board released its annual Trends in Student Aid and Trends in College Pricing reports.  Taken together, the reports help to illuminate how much college costs, who pays for college, who’s receiving financial aid and in what types and amounts, and how much student debt has accumulated over time, among other topics.

For the third year in a row, NASFAA surveyed members at financial aid offices across the nation to help the College Board gather data on institutional loans. The results show that total undergraduate and graduate institutional loans grew around 7 percent, from an estimated $668 million in 2011-12 to $713 million in 2012-13.

For 2012-13, the Trends reports show that recent annual increases in costs may be starting to level off. For four-year institutions, average sticker prices (e.g. published tuition and fees) at private not-for-profits increased by $1,105 (to $30,094) and $247, on average, for in-state students at public institutions (to $8,893). That 2.9 percent rise is the smallest average increase public four-year institutions have posted in more than 30 years, according to the College Board.

However, slowly rising sticker prices were not offset by commensurate increases in financial aid, resulting in higher average net prices this year than last, the College Board notes. Average net prices paid by in-state students at four-year public institutions rose $1,180, to $3,120 (though state-specific averages vary widely), and $910, to $12,460, for private nonprofit institutions.

Though increases in student aid have not kept pace with increases in total costs, total financial aid per full-time student increased 54 percent over the last decade, from $9,700 in 2002-03 to $14,980 in 2012-13.

That financial aid continues to come from a variety of sources. For 2012-13, the report found that undergraduate students received 52 percent of their funding in the form of grants, 39 percent as loans (federal and non-federal), and 9 percent in a combination of tax credits or deductions and Federal Work-Study.

Notably, although overall debt levels of public and private four-year grads increased slightly from $25,300 in 2010-11 to $26,500 in 2011-12, total education borrowing fell by 6 percent between 2011-12 and 2012-13.  

The growing national student loan debt is affected, in part, by an increasing number of borrowers, rather than significantly higher loan amounts, according to the College Board.

“Overcoming financial barriers to higher education remains a significant challenge for the nation’s low- and moderate- income families,” says NASFAA President Justin Draeger. “While NASFAA is pleased to see overall borrowing levels on the decline and cumulative debt holding mostly steady, it is clear that low and middle income families are continuing to shoulder an ever-increasing amount of college costs."  

The College Board report indicates that the vast majority of students borrow a reasonable amount, suggesting that efforts to relieve student indebtedness should be narrowly targeted to the outlier students who are at risk of borrowing too much.

To schedule an interview with a NASFAA spokesperson, please contact or call (202) 785-6944.


The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is a nonprofit membership organization that represents nearly 20,000 financial aid professionals at more than 3,000 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country. NASFAA member institutions serve nine out of every ten undergraduates in the U.S. Based in Washington, DC, NASFAA is the only national association with a primary focus on student aid legislation, regulatory analysis, and training for financial aid administrators. For more information, visit