Frequently asked questions

Who is eligible for a scholarship?


Tri-County Scholarship awards are based upon financial need. Any child, K-12, living in Morris, Passaic, or Sussex Counties may apply for a scholarship.




What is the demographic profile of scholarship recipients?


The current demographics of Tri-County scholarship recipients are represented by: 72% Latino, 12% African American, 11% Caucasion, and 5% other. This breakdown reflects the population composition of Paterson and Passaic, two of New Jersey’s urban centers with relatively large Hispanic communities.




Why does Tri-County focus on K-12 scholarships instead of college scholarships?


Without the opportunity to attend safe, quality, private K-12 schools, many inner-city and financially needy children will not acquire the academic qualifications or personal skills and character traits required to attend and excel in college. The goal of Tri-County and its partner schools is to produce the most academically prepared students possible so that they can take advantage of the scholarships available to qualified college applicants. Tri-County students annually achieve a high school graduation rate of 98-100% with virtually all graduates going on to attend college.




How are funds distributed between grade school and high school scholarships?


Scholarships for grades K-8 are usually $2000 / year. Tri-County Scholarships for high school are typically $4,000/ year. Each year there is also an additional category of high school scholarship award: Tri-County Freedom Scholarships that award $5,000 to incoming Freshmen who demonstrate particular academic promise by earning a B average in middle school. The student must complete a special application, including teacher recommendations. The Freedom Scholarship is awarded for all four years of high school if the student maintains the “B” grade point average throughout high school.




Who qualifies for scholarships? Do students have to maintain a specific GPA?


Scholarships are awarded based upon demonstrated financial need. Parents apply for their children by submitting their family financial information on the confidential, online FACTS form. With the exception of the high school Freedom Scholars program (requiring a B average), Tri-County does not have an academic merit screen for its scholarships. However, students must re-apply each year, and pass all courses in order for their scholarship to be renewed for the following year.




How are the scholarship recipients selected?


Tri-County works with the confidential online system called FACTS, the nation’s leading Tuition Management and Financial Aid Assessment software company for private and faith-based schools. Families are required to complete an online application which analyzes income and expenses relative to family size. The Tri-County staff then reviews all applications and makes the final scholarship decisions. Tri-County is committed to continuing scholarship support for each recipient through the conclusion of that child’s K-12 education, assuming the family re-applies by the February 15 deadline each year, and that the financial need persists. Tri-County’s intent to provide educational continuity for the individual child is why existingscholarship recipients are given preference over new applicants during the process of awarding scholarships for each school year.




Do the families of scholarship recipients contribute to school tuition?


Yes. Families contribute a portion of the tuition. Family contribution is typically 20% – 30% of annual tuition. The amount varies depending on the family’s circumstances, other sources of financial assistance, and special arrangements made with the respective school.




What kind of schools do scholarship recipients attend?


Tri-County scholarship recipients attend values-based, private schools: Catholic, Christian, Hebrew, and schools with no religious affiliation. Several schools are independent, and some are under the auspices of the Diocese. Many of these schools have a long-standing mission to serve the inner-city poor. Regardless of religious affiliation, all financially needy children living in Morris, Passaic or Sussex counties may apply to any of the schools served by Tri-County.




What do you mean by "values-based" education?


Tri-County defines a values-based education as one that is informed by the Judeo-Christian principles upon which America was founded. Key to a values-based education is the emphasis on the irreplaceable dignity of every human person. From this understanding flow the core human values of equality, freedom, honesty, integrity, respect, solidarity, charity, trust, hard work, and service to others. Examples of a values based program are the school honor code, compulsory community service, admissions standards that celebrate diversity, and a curriculum that includes personal character development.




What is the "Freedom-Scholars" program?


The Freedom Scholars program is an enhanced scholarship opportunity for the most academically gifted 8th graders who also qualify financially. Freedom Scholars are chosen from scholarship applicants who have consistently maintained a B average or better throughout their middle school academic career. The application requires the regular FACTS family financial information PLUS an essay written by the student, the middle school transcript, and a teacher recommendation. A $5,000 scholarship is awarded to each Freedom Scholar. This award is matched by the student’s high school. Freedom Scholars are given mentors who meet with them monthly to assess their progress, making certain they have everything they need to succeed. The students are also given special help with SAT prep and with college essay prep.




What do "Freedom-Scholars" go on to do after high school?


Tri-County graduated its first class of Freedom Scholars in June of 2015. 100% of these students enrolled in a 4-year college program. The Class of 2016 graduated 10 high school Freedom Scholars. The high school Class of 2020 has 21 Freedom Scholars It is a competitive program with many qualified applicants. The number of awards is limited only by available funding. Tri-County hopes to award more Freedom Scholarships each year as funding for this program increases.




Does Tri-County support underserved students in suburban areas of Northern New Jersey?


While most Tri-county scholarship recipients come from inner-city environments, Tri-County also provides scholarships to financially needy children in suburban and rural environments within Morris, Passaic and Sussex counties.




How many scholarships does Tri-County award each school year? How many deserving students remain on the Waiting List?


Tri-County’s budget allows us currently to award 500 scholarships each year. There are, however, an additional 1,500 equally deserving students on our Scholarship Waiting List for any given school year. Tri-County’s goal is to raise additional funds in order to help more of these needy children, so that they too may be able to experience the freedom and opportunity made possible by a safe, quality education.




What is the annual scholarship application deadline?


Families must submit all materials and financial information must to Tri-County by February 15 of each year.




What is the process and usual timing for awarding scholarships?


  1. New students apply to their preferred private school by the school’s own application deadline.
  2. Students indicate the name of their intended or continuing school on their Tri-County application.
  3. All scholarship application materials and financial information must be submitted to Tri-County by February 15.
  4. After the February 15 application deadline, Tri-County assesses the financial need of each applicant.
  5. Families are typically informed of regular and Freedom scholarship awards by early May. In some years this notification process continues into the summer, as is the happy case when additional scholarship funds become available.
  6. Financially deserving children who do not receive scholarship awards in the regular process are placed on a Scholarship Waiting List. Depending upon Tri-County funding, a small number of 5 to 15 additional, “wait listed” children may receive scholarship awards over the summer time.





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