Related: Economy, Education, Students

Keeping College Accessible



Like waves crashing against the bulkhead in a storm, each day’s news roils with gloomy stories about declining hopes for college access and rising concerns about tuition affordability.  In the face of these stories, I want to reassure the large Trinity family and our many public constituencies that Trinity is doing everything possible to remain accessible and affordable to all students.  A slideshow on ourwebsite explains all of the facts and figures about Trinity’s tuition and actual costs of operation.

Trinity tries to keep tuition as affordable as possible in several ways.   Our tuition prices are lower than almost any of the other private universities in the Washington region.  While it is true that the cost of private higher education is larger than the tuition cost at a public university, the reason for that is the fact that public universities have subsidies through taxpayer-funded state budgets.   Private schools have to pay most of our costs through our own revenues.

At Trinity, we recognize that we still have to compete with the lower prices of public institutions regardless of the reasons why their prices are lower.   So, we make various forms of financial aid — grants and loans — available to students to help support the cost of tuition.  Full-time undergraduate students receive Trinity-funded grants amounting to nearly $4.5 million annually; part-time tuitions have many subsidies already built-into their levels (for example, the $480 per credit tuition price for SPS undergraduates includes a 20% discount off our regular undergraduate per credit price of $605 per credit).

Headlines blare about problems in the student loan industry, but in fact, federally guaranteed loans are as solid as ever.    Nearly 1400 Trinity students participate in the federal loan programs.  All students can borrow up to certain maximum amounts each year, and graduate students have very high loan limits in the federal program.  You can see the programs explained at this link to Trinity’s website.

Many Trinity students also participate in federal and state grant programs, including Pell Grants, DC TAG, DC CAP, DC Achievers and other such programs.   If you are not sure whether you are eligible for a loan or a grant, please visit the Office of Enrollment Services and our staff will help guide you through the many sources of financial aid.

During this period of recession, we know that our Trinity families are worried about money.   We are sensitive to your needs and want to talk with you if you have any hesitations about your ability to stay in school.

In fact, starting or persisting in college is a great strategy to manage your way through a recession.    With the various grants and federal loans — federally guaranteed students loans remain one of the few sources of readily available credit — we can help you to stay in school.   By staying in school and moving closer to your goal of a baccalaureate or master’s degree, you will be in an even better position to remain economically secure during the downturn, and to take advantage of new jobs and new economic opportunities when the recovery begins.

We know that a recovery will come, whether in a few months or later next year.   Economic cycles have predictable troughs and peaks, the largest unknown is the length of each. Trinity has weathered these cycles for 110 years, and in each era, Trinity and our students have emerged stronger than ever.

Right now, the most important message is to stay in school and keep focusing on improving your educational attainment.   Having that degree in hand will be your best defense against future economic waves.

If you need more information about financial aid, please contact the Office of Enrollment Services at 202-884-9530 or send an email to

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Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
Phone: 202.884.9050   Email: