Financial aid can be defined as any help that does not have to be repaid. This aid can be in the form of student loans, grants, scholarships, and work opportunities. It can also come from schools through merit-based scholarships or need-based financial assistance. Students are assessed and given different financial packages based on a number of factors, such as their family history and level of disability, among others. The appeal is made through a financial aid appeal letter.
Most students depend on financial aid to make ends meet in college. This is because higher education can be quite expensive for ordinary students. To apply for financial aid, students typically need to complete the FASFA (Free Application for Federal Aid) form.
Unexpected changes in a student’s financial situation, such as unemployment, parent divorce, serious medical conditions, failure to make satisfactory academic progress (SAP), and changing majors or schools, are examples of circumstances that may necessitate a review of financial aid.
This article is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide on how to write a financial aid appeal letter.
What is a Financial Aid Appeal Letter?
An appeal for financial aid is a letter from a student or their parents requesting that the financial aid office review their financial aid application. In this letter, they ask for a review of their current awards or an appeal against the decision to deny them.
Reasons for writing
Numerous reasons may prompt you to write a financial aid appeal letter:
- Financial aid appeal letters may be written when there are changes to your financial situation. This can be due to a reduction in income, etc., by you or your financial provider.
- Changes in the family structure may necessitate an application for financial assistance. Changes include divorce, death of a parent, eviction, etc.
- If you have gotten a higher financial aid offer from another school, you can appeal to your school or college to match that financial aid offer through a letter.
- Errors in the initial application can sometimes influence the financial aid package awarded to a student. If this is the case, an appeal letter for financial aid can be written to the financial aid office.
- Natural disasters like earthquakes, hailstorms, tornadoes, etc., can be devastating and cause property damage, which frequently puts families in difficult financial situations. This can affect your education funding and lead to the need for an appeal for your financial aid situation.
- Medical emergencies can dent a family’s finances. This may necessitate a financial aid appeal.
In some circumstances, you might provide financial assistance to family members like younger siblings and elderly or disabled parents. You may therefore appeal to have your financial aid package reviewed.
You may be able to make an appeal to have your financial aid package reviewed if your parents received a one-time, significant tax deduction or bonus at the time of their FASFA application.
Format of Appeal Letter for Financial Aid
Formatting is imperative when writing an appeal letter for financial aid. The letter should be concise, clear, and professional.
The letter should be formatted as follows:
- The text should be written in a traditional formal font such as Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman
- The letter’s paragraphs should be double spaced
- A line spacing of 1 inch or 1.5 inches should be used
- The top, bottom, left, and right sides should have 1-inch margins
- The text should be left aligned
- The appeal letter should not be longer than one and a half pages long
The final copy of the financial aid appeal letter should be in PDF format.
Typical Points to Consider
A financial aid appeal is a delicate process that can easily go wrong and cost you some or all of your financial support. It is essential that the appeal letter be well-written and make it clear why financial assistance is being requested.
The following considerations ought to be taken into account:
Inquire of the relevant organization
Different colleges have different financial aid appeal processes. By understanding the process of appealing for financial aid and sending the letter, you will be better able to tailor your letter to fit your specific needs. Your appeal should be based on the universities’ requirements and the FAFSA guidelines.
Before filing an appeal, it is important to consider all available alternatives. Keep in mind that some schools require you to submit a form along with the letter and that the appeal will only be considered if all necessary steps are taken.
You should also gather supporting documents such as report cards, medical records, W-2s, or tax returns to support your case for financial aid. Authenticating the events that led to the appeal with documentation is a good way to add more details to the financial aid appeal letter. Letters from third parties, such as healthcare professionals, professors, and so on, can also be included to bolster your case.
How to Write a Perfect Appeal Letter?
A financial aid appeal letter should be brief and to the point. It should highlight the changed economic situation. Key points should be highlighted, and essential information about why financial aid is so desperately needed should be included.
Additional steps to writing a compelling student financial aid appeal letter include:
Address the specific person
The letter should be addressed to a specific person in the financial aid department. This will help you establish a direct line of communication with the office. This will also help you make your case clearer.
Be direct and articulate
The letter should make your case clear. This involves making a clear request and being articulate in your arguments. A clear case helps the organization understand what you want and why you want it.
rather than saying this:
“I would like to have my financial aid reconsidered,”
say this instead:
“I would like to appeal my financial aid and receive more money in loans because I have lost my job and cannot afford tuition fees.”
The latter is far more effective, as it gives a specific reason for the appeal and helps the college understand what you need.
Special circumstances are often the reason for appeal letters. The financial aid appeal letter should include reasons why specific circumstances have changed your life. Assume you are dealing with medical issues, and add specifics about the medical conditions.
In that case, talking about the cost of treatment and its impact on your financial situation is a good idea. These special circumstances make your case stronger, as they prove that you cannot afford the education due to your situation. This section can incorporate detailed examples of the impacts of the unique circumstances.
As previously stated, providing supporting documentation for your request for an appeal is an effective strategy. Medical bills, doctor’s reports, GPA reports, pay stubs, and other supporting documentation can help your financial aid appeal.
It is vital to request the exact same amount that was mentioned in your original application. amount of aid. Asking for less or more will impact your genuineness and create doubts in the financial aid office.
If you have received an offer from a competing college, you should include this information in the letter. This can strengthen your case for a financial aid appeal and may compel the college to match the offer.
Ask for the next steps
The letter should also request the next steps in the financial aid appeal process. This shows that you are genuinely interested in pursuing your case for financial aid.
At the end of your letter, there should always be a “thank you” to the individual reviewing the letter and the organization awarding you the financial aid.
Financial Aid Appeal Letter Template
The Director of Financial Aid,
Name of College/University,
city, state, and ZIP code.
Re: Request for Reconsideration of Financial Aid Award [student’s name] [Student ID number] [current year in school] [Expected graduation date]
Dear Mr./Ms. [name],
I am writing this appeal letter in response to your letter dated [date]. I would like to file an appeal against my financial aid award for the upcoming academic year.
Since the previous financial aid award letter was sent to me, my economic circumstances have changed significantly. [Explain the situation here]. As you can see from my attached supporting documents, [attach supporting documents here], this change in economic circumstances has made it very difficult for me to afford the second year at Name of University, which totals to [enter exact amount]. I regret not including my bank account number in the initial FAFSA application. However, I sincerely hope that you will reconsider the amount of financial aid awarded to me in light of my current circumstances.
I would like to thank you for the opportunity and look forward to returning as a student at [name of university]. I eagerly await your response.
Financial Aid Appeal Letter Samples
Here are a few sample appeal letters drafted by professionals for you to get a better understanding of the sentence structuring and format:
January 9, 2022
Mr. Alvin E. Smith,
Director of Financial Aid
Adams State University
123 Perth Avenue,
Colorado, United States
Dear Mr. Smith,
I am writing to appeal the decision regarding my financial aid. I was laid off from my job and have been searching for another one without any success so far. I have not been able to pay my rent, and my electricity has been disconnected for two days. My family is also facing many medical problems, and these expenses have left me with no money at all.
I was hoping that my financial aid would be reconsidered and that I would receive more money in loans because I had lost my job and could no longer afford tuition fees due to the loss of income. I am asking for an additional $3,000 because I am unable to cover the full cost of the college tuition.
I hope you will reconsider my case and help me get back to college to continue my education. I worry that without an increase in my financial aid, I will not be able to continue my education given my current financial situation.
Thank you for your continued support in my educational journey.
April 9, 2022
The University of Southern California
Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
23 Main Street
Los Angeles, CA
Dear Ms. Huggins,
This letter is to appeal for a financial aid reconsideration. My name is Lauren, and I am a current sophomore at the University of Southern California. I am writing to ask for more financial aid because I was not able to arrange enough money this semester to cover my tuition.
Earlier this year, my father’s death significantly impacted family finances, with my mother having to take over as the sole provider.
My financial ability to pay for my education has been hampered by the unforeseen medical costs associated with my father’s illness. While I have been able to work during the summer, I cannot work or increase my hours at work as much due to my class schedule. I would, therefore, greatly appreciate any reconsideration of an increase in financial resources. I have included a copy of my latest report card, a letter from my dean’s office, and an application to the university that was filed last year.
My father’s life insurance coverage was insufficient to cover my tuition and living expenses. Because of this, my mother and I are unable to pay the estimated $10,000 in annual tuition, books, and living costs.
I hope you can consider my appeal for a sufficient financial aid package.
Eight Useful Tips
Here are some helpful tips to remember when writing a financial aid appeal letter:
1. Write the letter yourself
Do not outsource the task of writing the financial aid appeal letter. Being a very personal letter, the appeal writer may easily overlook important details. You should write the letter using your own words and information.
2. Be careful of word choice
You may want to portray desperation, but desperation can be read as a sign of entitlement. Be mindful of your choice of words and tone, and make sure you are not communicating the wrong message. Be polite, honest, and professional to show your appreciation.
3. Be clear and concise
Give the college a clear understanding of the appeal’s purpose. Do not be repetitive or lengthy. Instead, ensure ideas are effectively communicated from one paragraph to the next.
4. Pay attention to grammar
Utilize spell-check and grammar-check tools for the best results in your financial aid appeal letter. Alternatively, ask a family member to proofread your financial aid appeal letter.
5. Submit it right away
The longer you wait to send it, the higher the risk that the college you are applying to will have already released your financial aid. So, send it in time to be processed before that scenario arises.
6. Watch your tone
Be polite and professional in your letter. Do not be sarcastic, rude, or disrespectful. Do not be too pushy if you request a specific amount of aid on the financial aid appeal letter. The college has the right to ask you to produce some evidence of your financial situation.
It is preferable to create a reasonable range of what you require to finish your degree than to demand that they give it to you all at once. You do not want to give the college a reason for denying your request for financial aid appeal.
7. Do not complain
Complaining will only deteriorate your relationship with the college. Avoid taking out your frustration on the institution or on other students who have received more generous financial aid.
8. Do not be ashamed
Do not feel ashamed if you are having trouble paying for school. You are not alone, and there are many people out there in similar situations. Discuss your situation honestly in your letter.
What Happens if Your Request for Funding is Granted?
Your package will be reviewed if your financial aid appeal is granted, and you will get a new award letter with the new costs covered. However, note that any changes in your income or other circumstances, such as academic performance, may mean that your financial aid request cannot be granted or will be re-evaluated later on.
What if Your Appeal is Unsuccessful?
If your financial aid appeal is unsuccessful, you will be notified of the decision by the university or college. Once you receive the notification, you should explore other ways of financing your education, such as applying for other scholarships, grants, private student loans, part-time work or work-study, or attending a less expensive college.
You are requesting the financial aid office to increase your available funds when you submit an appeal for financial aid. You can choose to appeal for additional funds if you have special circumstances that you feel can make a difference in your case. Although writing your first financial aid appeal letter may seem intimidating, it is not impossible. Students can complete their education with the aid of a successful financial aid appeal, even though they come from low-income families and cannot afford university tuition fees without their own funds.