Cost of Attendance (COA): The Cost of Attendance is the sum of tuition, fees, housing, meals, and other expenses that a student may incur in one year of college.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC):  The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is the result of a formula developed by financial aid professionals, in consultation with economists, to determine a family’s ability to pay for college.

The EFC produced by Trinity’s formula is not the same figure calculated by the federal government to determine eligibility for federal student aid dollars.

Financial Need: Financial need is the difference between the Cost of Attendance and your Expected Family Contribution.

Merit Aid: Merit Aid is a type of financial aid that is awarded that is not based on your family’s financial circumstances. Every school awards merit aid differently. It is most commonly used to reward a student for academic accomplishments, musical and artistic talents, athletic abilities or other unique talent and skills a student will bring to a campus community.

At Trinity, most of our financial aid is devoted to need-based financial aid. We do offer some merit scholarships based on a holistic review of your application.

Need-Based Aid: Need-based aid is determined from your family’s financial circumstances. In order to be considered for need-based aid, you will need to submit additional forms and applications. Each institution determines financial need based on the individual schools’ costs and an institution specific evaluation of your family’s income and assets.

At Trinity, to be considered for need-based aid we will need a CSS Profile from all* students (domestic and international). Additionally, we require a FAFSA and accompanying federal tax returns for domestic students.

*There are some students who are not able to fill out a CSS Profile. In those cases, an International Student Financial Aid Application will suffice.

FAFSA: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a FREE form you need to fill out to be considered for any federal financial aid. Federal aid may come in the form of grants and loans. Many schools will use the FAFSA to help award other types of financial aid too.

CSS Profile: The CSS Profile is another online application that schools will use in order to determine your family’s eligibility for non-federal financial aid. At Trinity, most of our financial aid is awarded in the form of institutional grants, so we encourage you to submit this form for full consideration.

Need-Aware Admissions Process: The term “Need-Aware Admissions Process” refers to an admissions evaluation that could use a student’s financial need as a factor in reviewing an applicant for admission

Need-Blind Admissions Process: The term “Need-Blind Admissions Process” refers to an admissions evaluation that does not consider an applicant’s financial need when reviewing an application for admission

Direct Subsidized Student Loan: A Federal loan program available to undergraduate students with financial need. The U.S. Department of Education will pay the interest on a Direct Subsidized Loan under the following conditions:

  • while a student is in school at least half-time
  • for the first 6 months after a student leaves school
  • during a period of deferment

Direct Unsubsidized Student Loan: A Federal loan program available to undergraduate students regardless of financial need. The borrower is responsible for paying interest for the entirety of the loan. If the borrower chooses not to pay the interest while in school, it will accrue (added to the principal amount of the loan).

Parent PLUS Loan: Also referred to as a Direct PLUS Loan, the Parent PLUS Loan is a federally disbursed loan program for eligible parents of undergraduate students. In order to qualify for a parent PLUS loan, you must

  • be the biological or adoptive parent (in some cases stepparent) of a dependent undergraduate student enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school
  • not have an adverse credit history
  • meet the general eligibility requirements for federal student aid

Private Loan: Loans offered to families through private financial institutions. Some of these loans could have interest rates that are better than the federal loans and others have interest rates and payment plans that are far worse. Please research financing options carefully.

Federal Work Study: A program that provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. Federal work-study payments are made directly to the student unless the student is able to have them directly deposited to their bank account or requests to use the money to pay for education-related institutional charges.

Pell Grant: The Pell Grant is a federal grant awarded to undergraduate students who have exceptional financial need and who have not previously earned a bachelor’s, graduate, or professional degree. To be considered for this grant, families must submit the FAFSA.

Verification: Verification is the process a school uses to confirm that the data you reported on your FAFSA is correct. If you’re selected for verification, you will need to submit additional documentation to support the information you reported. Verification is a normal part of the financial aid process. If you are selected for verification, please don’t assume you’re being accused of doing anything wrong.

Outside Scholarship: Scholarships awarded by organizations and institutions that are not the school you are attending. You can begin applying for outside scholarships well before you apply for college. Make sure you understand each school’s policy for handling outside scholarships.