Students and families are more willing than ever to borrow to pay for college and increasingly reliant on federal grants and loans to help with tuition bills, statistics released today from the U.S. Education Department show.

For the first time, a majority of undergraduates are receiving some kind of federal financial aid — 57 percent. A higher proportion than ever are taking out loans. But while the federal government gave out more grants for low-income students, colleges continued using their own money on grants for students from wealthier families. That’s a trend that concerns some who argue that colleges should do more to help students of limited means.

The Education Department releases a snapshot every four years of how students are paying for college. The 2011-12 data, from a sample of nearly 100,000 undergraduate students, are the first to deal mainly with students who enrolled in college after the economic downturn began.

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Posted by Libergirl