Why Does So Much State Financial Aid Go to Private Colleges?

Only 5 states in the country send a smaller proportion of their state financial aid grants to public colleges.  According to a new report by the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs, 53.8% of Massachusetts student aid went to public colleges and 46.2% to private colleges.  Only New York, North Carolina, Kansas, Ohio and Pennsylvania sent more of their aid dollars to private colleges.

Massachusetts spent $129.55 per college-age resident (18 – 24) in 2010-11.  Only 11 states spent less than that.

You can access the full report or see a summary graph published by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Many people are asking why, at a time of rising student costs and decreased state support for public colleges, the state continues to send such a large amount of scarce aid dollars to private, in some cases very well-endowed, colleges.  The Gilbert Grant program, for example, is available only to students going to private colleges.