Determining Eligibility

The FAFSA and CSS Profile take several factors into account, including adjusted gross income, federal and state taxes paid, assets and holdings, the size of the family, and the number of siblings enrolled in college. Aid applications provide an Expected Family Contribution (EFC), or the amount of money you are expected to supply for your educational costs. Actual out-of-pocket expenses can vary and may be greater or less than your EFC.

Your financial aid award offer will list each individual award for which you qualify. We assume that you will accept any grants or scholarships offered to you but you will need to take additional steps during the summer months to secure loan resources you have been offered. Be aware that the amount listed for any loan program is the maximum amount you are eligible to borrow for the year. You have the right to borrow less than the amount offered if you so choose.

Continuing students are notified of financial aid offers for the upcoming academic year in June, after all spring grades are posted, and once your FAFSA and any requested verification documents have been submitted.

 IMPORTANT: Students attending more than one college during the same term can only receive financial aid from one institution. You must notify our office if this applies to you.

Students must make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to maintain eligibility for financial aid.

In trying to project your eligibility for financial aid in future years, keep in mind that changes in your family's financial situation will affect the total of your financial aid award. If your family's financial circumstances improve, you should expect that your need-based aid will likely decrease; similarly, if finances take a downturn it will generally lead to a greater total of financial aid being awarded.



Verification is a process where the University confirms the accuracy of the information you submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Federal Processor or Trinity University can select applications for verification. Being selected does not necessarily mean that you've made mistakes or that we don't trust the information that you've provided. The goal is simply to ensure that we use accurate information to make the best financial aid awarding decisions.

We are required to correct inaccurate information discovered through the verification process with the federal processing center and use the verified information in determining eligibility for financial aid. Corrections to your FAFSA information may cause a change in your eligibility and result in a revision to aid offered prior to verification being completed.

After filing or making corrections to your FAFSA, notification is sent to you by the federal processing center that a Student Aid Report (SAR) is available for viewing. Review your SAR carefully. If the federal processing center selected you for verification, it will be indicated on the report.

If your financial aid offer from Trinity indicates that the award is estimated and verification is required, or you receive an email asking you to submit verification documents, you have been selected for verification. Please read all correspondence from us and respond in a timely fashion.

The verification process can be different for each student. Students selected for verification will be notified by Student Financial Services of what is needed to complete the verification process.

If you completed your 2023-24 FAFSA WITH parental information, you need to submit, if applicable:

  • 2023-24 Dependent Verification Worksheet
  • Your parents' 2021 IRS Tax Return Transcript*, or signed 1040 Tax Form
  • Your parents' 2021 W-2 Form(s), Schedule C, and/or Schedule K-1
  • Your (the student's) 2021 IRS Tax Return Transcript*, or signed 1040 Tax Form
  • Your (the student's) 2021 W-2 Form(s)


If you completed your 2023-24 FAFSA WITHOUT parental information, you need to submit, if applicable:

  • 2023-24 Independent Verification Worksheet
  • Your 2021 IRS Tax Return Transcript*, or signed 1040 Tax Form
  • Your 2021 W-2 Form(s)
  • Your spouse's 2021 W-2 Form(s), if married

*You can request a 2021 Tax Return Transcript here.

Some students may also be asked to confirm high school completion status and/or identity/statement of educational purpose. Please Note: If the statement of educational purpose is not presented in person to Student Financial Services it will require notarization.

Once our office receives all the required documents from you, the normal processing time is 10-14 days.  You will be notified once verification is complete and if any adjustments have been made to your financial aid package.

See Document Submission (IDOC) below.  

If you have difficulty locating your 2021 W-2's you can also request a "Wage and Income Transcript" from the IRS which will fulfill the W-2 requirement.

If you filed an amendment to your taxes (IRS Form 1040X), you will need to provide a signed copy of the 1040X that you submitted to amend your original return.

Entering First Year and Transfer students:

All required documentation should be submitted as soon as available but no later than April 15 to receive an accurate financial aid award.

Continuing students:

All required documentation should be submitted as soon as available but no later than May 1 to receive an accurate financial aid award.

 Note: Verification must be completed no later than October 1. All need-based aid will be cancelled in full if verification is outstanding after this date.


Special Circumstances

If your family has an unusual financial circumstance that is not accurately reflected on your household's current tax information, you may request a review to determine if adjustments can be made.

Consideration of special circumstance does not guarantee an adjustment or increase to financial aid eligibility.  Adjustments for special circumstances are based on availability of funding.  We have developed guidelines to help you understand what we can and cannot consider as special circumstances.

While the very nature of special circumstance consideration is a case-by-case review, we find that families often want some guidelines regarding what we can and cannot consider to assist them in deciding whether or not to submit a special circumstances request.

  • Involuntary Loss of Employment resulting in an anticipated reduction of at least 15% in total income.  Unemployment must have occurred at least eight weeks before requesting a Special Circumstances Appeal.
  • Loss of Untaxed Income or Benefits such as alimony or child support
  • Reduction of Income due to Legal Separation or Divorce of parents/spouse
  • Reduction of income due to Death of parents/spouse
  • High medical and or dental expenses paid within the prior 2 calendar years that exceed 15% of total income (do not include copays)

If any of these circumstances apply to you, please contact our office to speak with your assigned Financial Aid Counselor.

  • Private school tuition for siblings unless enrollment is necessary due to disability
  • Yearly fluctuations in income due to loss of overtime or bonuses
  • Personal consumer debt such as credit-card or car payments
  • Parental unwillingness to support educational expenses associated with enrollment at Trinity
  • Exclusion of business income reported on personal tax return
  • Requests to match offers from other college or universities; Trinity University does not change or negotiate awards based on comparisons with financial aid awards received from other colleges.

Appeals must be made in writing and must include a detailed description of the circumstance as well as appropriate documentation.  We must first confirm the accuracy of the information provided on your aid application(s), therefore you must also provide verification documents.   

The review of your Special Circumstances Appeal will be completed by a committee. Notification regarding the outcome of the review is typically sent within 10 to 14 days of receipt although additional processing time may be needed if more information is required.

Document Submission (IDOC)

Trinity University uses the College Board’s Institutional Documentation Service (IDOC) as a safe and secure platform for families to submit sensitive financial information. Documents uploaded to IDOC as part of your Trinity University aid application are made available only to the Trinity University financial aid office.

Students needing to submit information will receive an email from the College Board on behalf of Trinity University with instructions on accessing IDOC. Note that your CBFinAid ID (provided in the College Board’s email) and SSN or date of birth will be needed to access IDOC.

An overview of IDOC can be accessed here.