Financial Aid & Scholarships

As the cost of a college education climbs, financial aid has become a critical component in the decision-making process for many Trinity Valley School families. Our counseling staff is experienced with families whose financial circumstances play a role in college search and selection.

The TVS College Counseling Office, in partnership with other private schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, hosts a financial aid night for families each October.

It is important to note that families who receive financial aid at Trinity Valley School may not qualify for financial aid in college. Conversely, families who do not qualify for financial aid at TVS may qualify for need-based or merit-based aid at the college level. It is crucial to thoroughly research the policies, procedures, and deadlines for the institutions to which students intend to apply. Some financial aid paperwork is due when early college applications are due in November of senior year.

We advise parents to discuss important financial considerations with their child before embarking on the college search. When visiting college campuses, we recommend that families arrange to meet with a financial aid officer if they have specific questions.

Here are some terms that families may hear related to financial aid:


An additional financial aid application required by many private colleges, particularly selective private colleges. The CSS PROFILE determines eligibility for non-government aid, such as the institution's own grants, loans, and scholarships. Uses institutional methodology (income and assets like home equity and retirement accounts) to determine a family’s financial need. Students must re-apply every year using the CSS PROFILE forms.

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

Application for federally-funded need-based aid. Determines the amount the government is expected to contribute in the form of grants, work study, and loans. Required by every institution if applying for need-based financial aid. Uses federal methodology (income) to determine a family’s financial need. Students must re-apply for need-based financial aid every year using the FAFSA forms.

Institutional Aid

Scholarship or grant money given by the college. At some colleges, students are automatically considered when they apply. At other colleges, a separate application is required. This money does not require repayment.

Meeting 100 Percent of Demonstrated Need

Some colleges will meet 100 percent of demonstrated need through a package of grants, loans, and work study. Schools that do not meet full need will "gap" admitted students, meaning there is a gap between the total cost of attendance and the financial aid package being offered by the college. It is generally expected that families will take out additional loans to cover the financial gap. A student’s financial aid package may appear larger in terms of dollar amount, but if the college does not meet 100% of need, “gapping” can make that college more expensive than a college whose aid package is smaller by dollar amount, but meets full or close to full need.

Merit-Based Aid ("Scholarships")

Financial aid determined by academic, artistic, or athletic talent without consideration to a family’s financial need. Please note that institutional practices vary from those that do not offer any merit-based scholarships to those that award full-tuition, room, and board scholarships.

Need Aware or Need Sensitive

Some colleges may take into account a family’s financial need when making an admission decision. This policy is typically used in the case of applicants on the margin (slightly out of academic profile), wait listed students, or when difficult decisions must be made in reference to need.

Need-Based Aid

Financial aid based solely on the demonstrated financial need of the family as determined by tax documents, assets, etc. Factors such as grades, test scores, leadership, or athletic ability have no bearing. It is important to note that many colleges – particularly those that are most selective – offer need-based funding only.

Need Blind

Many colleges render their admission decisions without any regard to the student family’s financial circumstances as they make all decisions with no awareness of whether a student has applied for financial aid. This may not apply to international, transfer, or wait-listed students. A small number of colleges in the U.S. have managed to remain need-blind and still meet full demonstrated need.

Net Price Calculator

An online tool on each college’s financial aid website that provides a rough estimate of what the family can be expected contribute to the student’s education. It allows families to provide information the college will need to estimate what the college might expect the family to pay financially.

Private Scholarships & Fellowships

Aid available through private foundations, local or national organizations, or corporations. Generally merit-based, though some have a need-based component.



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