The Class of 2018 showed a significant increase in financial aid provided by Trinity University to the students this year, following one of the largest class sizes in recent years.
First year students were required to fill out an additional financial aid eligibility form to determine how much money in grants and scholarships Trinity would provide to them.
The financial aid discount rate is calculated by taking the institutional financial aid and dividing it by tuition. It does not include any federal state aid, only consisting of funding coming directly from the University.
As a direct result of the additional profile, the financial aid discount rate for first years jumped from 51 percent last year to 59 percent this year.
“That’s a substantial increase in that rate,” said Gary Logan, vice president for finance and administration. “That was a strategic initiative of the university to increase the rate. Part of it was because we felt like the enrollment shortfall a year ago was price sensitivity in the marketplace.”
Last year’s incoming class alarmed the board having only 539 students, so they came up with a strategy to get the enrollment up closer to the 640 range, according to Logan.
“The financial aid discount rate is a piece of the strategy to try to get the enrollment up faster and then what we’re hoping is that we will reduce that discount rate over a time as the demand increases, marketing is effective, then we’ll decline that back down,” Logan said.
Starting with the class that entered in the fall of 2014, students were required to complete the CSS profile to assess eligibility for Trinity funding.
“It’s an application that collects a lot more information than the FAFSA””Free Application for Federal Student Aid””and it gives a better assessment of a student’s and family’s financial circumstance and allows us to, I think, better fund students and allocate our funding appropriately,” said Glendi Gaddis, director of financial aid.
Now, incoming students will have to fill out both the CSS profile and the FAFSA. Students can opt out of the CSS profile, but in turn they will only receive an academic scholarship from Trinity, according to Gaddis.
“This was specifically targeted at first-year students,” Logan said. “If current students are receiving need based aid, the FAFSA then would calculate the total cost of education plus their family’s assets and come up with this estimated contribution that the family would make and so the awards are based on that. That is really a separate thing from the intentional strategy. Increasing financial aid was targeted at the first-year students.”
Current students will not be affected by this and will not have to complete the CSS profile, with their process remaining the same.
“Continuing student financial aid stays relatively the same,” Gaddis said. “As long as students continue to demonstrate need and their circumstances haven’t drastically changed, their aid stays relatively flat.”
Although not offered the same financial opportunities as the first years, other students understand the change for the incoming class of first-years. The new class, with one of the largest class sizes of recent years, has a significant statistical composition.
“Of course I’m disappointed that I cannot receive any additional financial aid,” said Lyric Smith, junior and resident mentor. “However, this current class has a better statistical makeup than any class in the past 10 years. They are more diverse racially, idealistically, sexually and financially. They bring a lot to Trinity, and for that I understand that they would need additional compensation.”