New data from the Department of Education released today show federal student financial aid is growing, while state assistance for college students remains flat.

Seventy percent of undergraduate students last year received some type of financial aid, up from 66 percent four years ago. The figures show for those who received any aid - state, federal or institutional - the average amount was nearly $11,000.

Despite that assistance, students are increasingly shopping around for the best discount rate, according to Paul Vaccaro, Vice President for Enrollment at Regis College, a small liberal arts school just outside Boston.

"Families are more price-conscious than ever, and I think that speaks directly to the cost issue,” he said.

At a time when many students find themselves drowning in debt, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says the findings reinforce the federal government's role in financing their education.

On Thursday and Friday, President Obama will hit the road on a two-day college bus tour to talk about the high cost of higher education. In a letter sent to supporters on Wednesday, the president promised "real reforms that would bring lasting change" to higher education.