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Overview of Amount of Federal Aid

Amounts of Federal Grants and Loans

Liberty students receive amounts like students at other universities. Many students at Liberty receive federal aid to help pay for their education.  Due to Liberty's high enrollment, the number of students receiving this aid (and the total dollars received) looks large.  However, these numbers simply reflect the number of students who have chosen to attend Liberty (now over 100,000 students).  Similarly, other large schools also receive Federal Pell Grant dollars for many students.  Liberty is pleased to be included among this diverse group of colleges and universities from all sectors of higher education. (ED "Distribution of Federal Pell Grant Program Funds by Institution," A. Hales, Office of Postsecondary Education, Policy Initiatives)

Federal Grants Received Compared to Other Schools

Looking at published data for Federal Pell Grants in 2016-2017 for example, you will notice that Liberty students are similar to other students around our nation with regard to Federal Pell Grants:      

Liberty percentage of students receiving Federal Pell Grants

  46%   

National percentage of students receiving Federal Pell Grants*

  56.3%

*Please note that the national average is based on students who specifically applied for Federal financial aid by completing the FAFSA

In fact, the Federal Pell Grant is portable for the student.  This means that, if the student did not choose to attend Liberty, then they could take that same Federal Pell Grant and use it at any other eligible school. 

Liberty student average annual Federal Pell Grant amount

  $3,679

National student average annual Federal Pell Grant amount

  $3,738

(Source: IPEDS and ED Pell Grant Program End of Year Report)

Borrowing Compared to Students from Other Schools

During the 2017-18 academic year, undergraduate student-borrowers who graduated from Liberty University, borrowed an average of $22,894 through federal and private loan programs. This average includes students who graduated without borrowing any student loans.

During the 2017-18 academic year, undergraduate student-borrowers from Liberty University borrowed an average of $33,118.

Please note that the averages listed above are based on actual data from Liberty University students who graduated in the 2017-2018 academic year.  Some private and government websites will calculate averages using other methods, different student groups, and/or different years.  

Liberty total average student loan debt per undergraduate student at graduation

  $33,118

National student average annual loan debt per undergraduate student at graduation

  $39,400

(LU Annual Borrower Report and Higher Education expert, Mark Kantrowitz, as reported by multiple news outlets)

Additionally, Liberty University's student loan default rate remains below the national average.  The current default rates, by school type, are:

School Type

Default Rate

For-Profit Average

15.6

National Average

10.8

Public Average

10.3

Liberty University

9.2

Private Average

7.1

(Source: U.S. Department of Education, 3-Year, 2015 Federal Cohort Default Rate, 3-Oct-2018)

Assistance for Borrowing Less

Liberty University has a number of active initiatives.  In addition to required procedures, like student loan entrance counseling and notifications required to the student from the school and the lender, Liberty strives to educate students and discourage over-borrowing through the following:

  • Provided multiple "Scholarship Search" sessions to new and returning students each year

  • Participate in webinars for online students related to funding education

  • Automated a list of options students may choose from to encourage less borrowing

  • Implemented a personalized Annual Borrowing Notification letter to all student borrowers each semester

  • Enforced anti-fraud and anti-identity theft programs

  • Placed outbound calls to students to proactively help them understand debt and options

  • Advocated for and increased work study funds and opportunities available instead of debt

  • Increased Liberty need-based aid programs

  • Increased social media presence to answer questions about scholarships and applying for outside aid
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