Because of the relatively high tuition charged by the Community College System of New Hampshire and because of the limited economic resources of most of our students, the College's ability to provide significant financial aid is a very important performance indicator. Without large amounts of aid and an effective delivery system, many of our students would have no access to the educational opportunities we provide.
It is important for us to measure the total amount of financial aid and the trends over time, and it is certainly encouraging to see that the overall amount of support has more than tripled in the past decade to over $6M. It is also important to understand the individual components of financial aid and their trends. The proportion of loans to grants, for example, increased significantly from 2002 to 2009, forcing students to assume much heavier loan burdens. The major increase in Pell Grants for FY 2010 has reversed that trend and brought the proportion of loans down to almost the 2002 level. It is also encouraging to see the dramatic increase in the amount of Unique Scholarship awards over the past four years.
The financial aid performance indicators help us measure how well we are getting information to students about financial aid availability and how well we're providing that aid. It also helps us in advising students and in marketing our programs.