SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — As tuition costs rose over the last six years, a record number of California college students applied for financial aid, according to federal data reported by a newspaper.
The number of California residents filing the federal financial aid application jumped nearly 74 percent over the six-year period, The Sacramento Bee reported on Tuesday based on data from the U.S. Department of Education. Some colleges saw even higher increases — such as an 81 percent rise among applicants at California State University, Sacramento.
Over all, in the 2012-13 academic year, 2.65 million graduate and undergraduate students based in California filed federal financial aid applications, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
"Part of it is the economy," Judy Heiman, with California's Legislative Analyst's Office, told the Bee. "With higher unemployment, more families qualify for financial aid. And certainly higher tuition helps kick some families into the category of having financial need."
The percentage of Cal State and University of California freshmen receiving financial aid increased from 57 percent in 2006-07 to 72 percent in 2011-12, according to federal data reported by the Bee.
That number is expected to climb under a plan approved last year by state leaders that helps families earning up to $150,000 pay for UC or CSU educations. The state is phasing in the scholarship program over the next three school years.
Tuition, meanwhile, has remained flat for two school years at UC and CSU after California voters approved tax hikes in 2012. Gov. Jerry Brown has asked the systems to continue to freeze tuition for a third straight year.