Thomas A. Flint


Actual and Congressional Methodology (CM) family contributions were obtained for a sample of first-time beginning college students. The sample consists of 2,544 dependent students attending 396 institutions nationwide, drawn from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study of 1990 (NPSAS:90). Results indicate that most parents contribute more than the amounts expected by need analysis formulae, but many inequities are present. Judged by the averages, in many instances higher income parents actually contribute less than the CM expectation, while often lower-income parents actually contribute more than the CM expectation. These differences persist regardless of college cost level, even after capping CM contributions not to exceed actual costs. Results also indicate that the range of difference in averaged amounts of financial aid awarded to high-versus low-income families is less than the range of difference in averaged amounts of actual parental support between high- and low-income parents. Policy alternatives to reduce the inequities are discussed.