Frequently Asked Questions, Glossary and Helpful Links
- When and how do I apply for financial aid?
The first step in the financial aid process is to apply to the college. Once admitted, the Financial Aid Office will notify students who qualify for academic honors scholarships or other automatic merit awards.
Most scholarships at Trinity are awarded automatically, based on a student's admission materials. Students who are admitted prior to January 15 receive priority consideration.
Some scholarships require you to submit additional materials to be considered. See our scholarships webpage for more information about these scholarships.
To be considered for need-based financial aid, you must file the FAFSA (www.fafsa.gov). We recommend that new students file the FAFSA by February 15 to maximize their eligibility for all types of need-based assistance.
- What is the FAFSA?
FAFSA stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You must complete the FAFSA each year in order to be eligible to receive any form of Need Based Aid. Your tax information and PIN will be required when filing the FAFSA. To obtain a PIN (personal identification number) go online to: www.pin.ed.gov
- What is the Trinity Need-Based Aid Appeal form?
This is a form provided by the college to inquire about any extenuating circumstances that are not reflected on the FAFSA form. For example, loss of income, private school tuition, or excessive medical bill. Download Need-Based Appeal Form.
- Do I have to file the FAFSA each year?
In order to receive any need based aid you MUST complete the FAFSA each year you are enrolled as a student.
- What is verification?
Verification is a process where the school requests documentation from the student in order to verify the accuracy of information reported on the FAFSA. The federal government selects approximately one third of all FAFSAs for verification.
- What is a Financial Aid Package?
A financial aid package is a document that you will receive each year from the financial aid office indicating the total amount of financial aid you have been awarded as well as your direct and indirect costs for the upcoming school year.
- What if I don't want to file the FAFSA?
If you choose not to file the FAFSA you will not receive any form of Need Based Aid from the college or the government. You will still be eligible for merit awards.
- What is a merit award?
A merit award is any institutional aid that you qualify for based on your demographic information, academic achievement, and leadership ability.
Helpful resource for information about IL Financial Assistance programs.
Search and apply for outside scholarships that you may be eligible for.
Federal Student Aid
Federal Student Aid website containing more than you ever needed to know about financial aid and federal programs.
The SmartStudent Guide to Financial Aid
Request IRS Tax Transcript
If we’ve requested your IRS Tax Transcript for FAFSA verification purposes, you can access the IRS online request form here.
NOTE: If you are having difficulty requesting an IRS Tax Transcript online, you can request one using the IRS’s automated phone tool at 1-800-908-9946.
Apply for Federal Stafford Loans and Federal Parent PLUS loans.
Zinch Scholarships Search
Search and apply for outside scholarships.
Cost of Attendance
Number that is calculated by combining both the direct and indirect costs of attending college.
Through a series of questions the FAFSA form will decide whether you are considered independent or dependent student.
Tuition, room and board, and fees.
Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
This is a number generated by the FAFSA. It estimates how much money a family should be able to pay for their student to attend college. This number is used as a guide in determining financial aid and need.
Financial Aid Package
Document received by the student indicating the total amount and types of financial aid received by the student.
This is the difference between the cost of attendance and the EFC. (Cost of attendance-EFC=Financial Need)
Type of financial aid provided by the government or the institution that is not required to be paid back.
Books, personal expenses, transportation..etc.
Type of financial aid that is required to be paid back.
Merit Based Aid
Type of aid that does not need to be paid back and is based on performance or other criteria.
Student Aid Report (SAR)
Document sent to a student by the U.S. Department of Education. It contans financial and other information that was reported on the FAFSA.
This is a review process in which the Financial Aid office will request documentation from a student to verify the accuracy of the FAFSA. (About 1/3 of FAFSAs are randomly selected for verification.)