Rutgers tops big 10 in Pell Grants, Propublica reports

Rutgers ranking in Pell Grants, tuition rates and debt revealed.

By Ken Kurtulik – Nov. 14 2016

Pictured is an infographic sorting universities by percentage of students receiving a Pell Grant. From most to least, the list reads Rutgers Newark, Rutgers Camden, Indiana, Penn State, Rutgers New Brunswick, Michigan State, Iowa State, Ohio State, Minnesota, Purdue, Illinois, Nebraska, Maryland, Michigan, Wisconsin, Northwestern.

Infographic created by Ken Kurtulik using Vengage.

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Rutgers University bested Big 10 conference colleges in percentage of students receiving Pell Grants, Propublica revealed in 2015.

The Newark, Camden, and New Brunswick campuses ranked first, second, and fifth respectively among Big 10 Conference schools in percentage of student-body receiving Pell Grants, according to Propublica’s Debt by Degrees. The same resource found Rutgers to have among the most expensive yearly tuition rates.

The Pell Grant is federally funded financial aid for students in need. According to The Office of Federal Student Aid, expected family contribution, cost of the university, and full-time status all influence the amount a student receives.

Rutgers University students have expressed concern about college debt and the relief grants can provide.

Max De Souza, a sophomore at Rutgers, explained that the Pell Grant pays for approximately one quarter of his yearly tuition. Though he’s taking on debt, De Souza likened the sum over four years to that of a nice sedan.

“If I go along with the path of internships, and getting into my career, and making enough money to pay off my loans, then I feel that it shouldn’t be too much of a problem,” De Souza said. “I’m sure I’ll be OK by the time I’m 30.”

Jasmin Grossmann, a freshman urban planning major at Rutgers, said that she tries not to think about the debt she’s collecting.

“It’s very stressful for both me and my parents. Money just stresses me out in general, so financial aid makes it ten-times worse.”

Matt White, a junior at Rutgers, wasn’t terribly bothered by his debt.

“I just had a lot of paperwork,” White said. “I think they should just ask for everything at once instead of making it steps and steps and weeks and weeks.”

The yearly tuition rates at all Big 10 schools. Illinois is $28,564. Rutgers is $28,011. Penn State is $27,591. Northwestern is $27,291. Michigan is $25,760. Ohio State is $24,524. Minnesota is $24,278. Michigan State is $23,740. Wisconsin is $23,718. Purdue is $23,109. Indiana is $22,936. Maryland is $22,933. Nebraska is $21,024. Iowa State is $18,820.

Chart created by Ken Kurtulik using Vengage.

While the Pell Grant was well-utilized at Rutgers, the Office of Federal Student Aid reported that the grant has a maximum award of $5,815 per year. Rutgers University had the second highest yearly tuition rate of any Big 10 school, according to Propublica’s Debt by Degrees.

This means that a student’s four-year college debt can be more at Rutgers than more affordable schools in the Big 10 despite having fewer Pell Grant recipients. Such universities include Northwestern, Michigan, Ohio State, Minnesota, Maryland and Nebraska.

Regardless, all schools in the Big 10 were well below the national average for four-year college debt incurred. The Institute for College Access and Success published the national average per borrower to be $30,100 in 2015.

Average dept incurred over four years by Pell Grant recipients. The national average is $30,100. Indiana is $27,000. Penn State is $27,000. Michigan State is $25,458. Iowa State is $24,365. Wisconsin Madison is $22,805. Purdue is $22,500. Rutgers is $22,250. Michigan is $22,000. Ohio State is $21,960. Nebraska is $21,500. Minnesota is $20,500. Illinois is $20,500. Maryland is $19,500. Northwestern is $19,200.

Chart created by Ken Kurtulik using Vengage.

Additionally, Big 10 school graduates were repaying their debt in greater numbers than the national average. The U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard reports Big 10 graduates began repaying their loans within three years 83 to 96 percent of the time, while the national average was 68 percent.

The Big 10 Conference is an athletic organization with a standardized set of rules for the regulation of intercollegiate athletics, bigten.org explained. The conference is presently composed of 14 four-year schools: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers, and Wisconsin.

This spreadsheet compares yearly tuition rate to percentage of Pell Grant recipients, and dept incurred by Pell Grant recipients over four years. While dept incurred is reasonably uniform, the percentage of students receiving a Pell Grant varies widely by school. Northwestern is at the bottom with 14.2 percent and Rutgers Newark is at the top with 46.4 percent.

Chart created by Ken Kurtulik using Vengage.

Header image courtesy of Nick Perrone on Flickr.

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