Record 57% of College Students Receive Federal Financial Aid
A new Education Department study reveals that for the first time ever, a majority of college students (57%) now receive federal financial aid.
The number of undergraduate students taking out loans has also increased from 35% to 41% over the last four years, even as experts debate the value of expensive college degrees in America's floundering economy.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan praised the study's findings and said they are a testament to President Barack Obama's leadership.
"As seen in the data, more college students are using federal grants to pay for college. Thanks to President Obama's leadership, we've expanded the Pell Grant program to provide billions of dollars a year in federal aid to low-income students," Duncan said in a statement. "In total, the number of Pell Grant recipients has increased more than 50 percent since 2008, giving millions of students around the country the opportunity to attend college."
Duncan went on to explain that covering the costs of higher education is now a communal responsibility that all Americans must share.
"All of us share responsibility for ensuring that college is affordable," said Duncan.
Pell Grant spending by the federal government has nearly tripled since 2007.
Experts debate whether the flood of taxpayer-funded federal money is worth the costs. A recent study found that 1.7 million college graduates now work as a cashier, waiter, or retail salesperson, and 15% of taxi drivers have college degrees.
Today, 48% of college graduates hold jobs that do not require a degree.