Like many colleges and universities, Trinity has witnessed several worrisome trends that center on families’ inability – or unwillingness – to pay the cost of higher education. According to multiple indicators, the students we admit today have greater demonstrated financial need than in past generations. Even those parents who can pay more for their children’s education balk at the discounted price, asking the University to match scholarship offers from other schools or refusing to take on loans in an uncertain economy. Financial aid plays a significant role in not only attracting, but also retaining students.
In this changing climate, Trinity must adapt its financial aid policies accordingly. By adopting a new institutional methodology, derived from the CSS Profile rather than the FAFSA's federal methodology, we will be able to more accurately assess students’ eligibility for institutional need-based aid. We also intend to (1) update technological software systems to accommodate Institutional Methodology and more effectively manage student records; (2) expand the Walton Loan program to provide a low-interest, institutional loan option for parents; (3) enroll in the Yellow Ribbon Program to best support students who currently qualify for benefits through Veterans Affairs; and (4) make a more compelling argument about the enduring value of the investment of a Trinity education.
The changing demographics of college-bound students – much more diverse, along multiple measures, many with significant financial need – will continue to present new challenges to conventional wisdom and approaches to Trinity’s financial aid policies and practices. Identifying future Trinity students is only the first half of the process, though; maintaining access and affordability by providing admitted students adequate financial aid should also be essential to the University’s future. In order to maintain these values for future generations, Trinity must constantly evaluate the sustainability and effectiveness of the admissions and financial aid policies and procedures.
With the addition of a new financial aid consultant, Trinity has worked collaboratively and carefully enhanced our merit-scholarship program to protect academic profile and increase enrollment while slightly altering our need-based financial aid structure to gain efficiencies in this area. These changes make Trinity an affordable option for admitted students from all socioeconomic backgrounds.
Trinity has adopted a new institutional methodology derived by the CSS Profile, which allows the University to more accurately assess students’ eligibility for institutional need-based aid. In addition, the division has improved the technological infrastructure to accommodate institutional methodology and the many recent changes in the financial aid industry. Trinity has also expanded the Walton loan program to provide a low-interest, institutional loan option for parents and enrolled in the Yellow Ribbon Program to best support students who currently qualify for benefits through Veterans Affairs. The institution continues to make a more compelling argument about the enduring value of the investment of a Trinity education.