Perfect Financial Aid Appeal Letter Samples (Writing Tips)

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 FAFSA (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.

Professional Examples

Great Comprehensive Financial Aid Appeal Letter Sample 01 as Word File
Great Comprehensive Financial Aid Appeal Letter Sample 02 as Word File
Great Comprehensive Financial Aid Appeal Letter Sample 03 as Word File
Great Comprehensive Financial Aid Appeal Letter Sample 04 as Word File

    Reasons for writing

    Numerous reasons may prompt you to write the appeal letter:

    • The 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 FAFSA application

    Guidelines for Formatting an 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.

    The final copy of the 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.

    Gather documents

    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 appeal letter. Letters from third parties, such as healthcare professionals, professors, and so on, can also be included to bolster your case. 

    How Do You Write a Perfect Appeal Letter?

    The 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 letter is far more effective, as it gives a specific reason for the appeal and helps the college understand what you need.

    Special circumstances

    Special circumstances are often the reason for appeal letters. The 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.

    Appropriate documentation

    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.

    Exact amount

    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. 

    Competing offer

    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.

    Thank you

    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

    [Your Full Name]  

    [Your Address]  

    [City, State, Zip Code]  

    [Your Email Address]  

    [Your Phone Number]  

    [Student ID Number]


    [Financial Aid Officer’s Name]  

    [Financial Aid Office]  

    [University/College Name]  

    [University/College Address]  

    [City, State, Zip Code]

    Dear [Financial Aid Officer’s Name],

    I am writing to respectfully request a review and reconsideration of my financial aid package for [specify academic year or semester]. I am grateful for the financial support I have received thus far, but due to recent [describe the change in your financial circumstances, such as ‘unexpected family financial difficulties’ or ‘a recent medical emergency’], I find myself in a challenging position that jeopardizes my ability to finance my ongoing education at [University/College Name].

    Since receiving my financial aid offer, [explain the specific changes in your financial situation, like ‘my family has experienced a significant reduction in income due to job loss’ or ‘we have incurred substantial medical expenses due to an unforeseen illness’]. These changes have placed a considerable strain on my family’s finances, and as a result, the current financial aid package is no longer sufficient to cover my educational expenses.

    The impact of this financial shortfall is significant. Without additional aid, I am at risk of [explain the potential impact, such as ‘being unable to afford tuition and living expenses’ or ‘having to take a semester off to work full-time’], which would severely disrupt my academic progress and future career plans.

    In light of these circumstances, I am requesting [state the specific additional support you need, like ‘an increase in grant aid’ or ‘additional work-study opportunities’]. An additional amount of [mention the specific dollar amount or percentage increase you are seeking, if known] would make a substantial difference in my ability to continue my education uninterrupted.

    To substantiate my appeal, I have attached [list any supporting documents you are including, such as ‘recent tax returns, medical bills, or a letter of termination from employment’]. These documents provide evidence of [briefly describe what the documents show, like ‘the recent financial changes in my family’ or ‘the unexpected expenses we have incurred’].

    I am deeply committed to my studies at [University/College Name] and am eager to continue contributing to the campus community. I believe that with this additional support, I can overcome the current financial challenges and maintain my focus on achieving academic excellence.

    Thank you very much for your time and consideration of my request. I understand the constraints of the financial aid budget and appreciate your efforts to accommodate my situation. I am available for a meeting or further discussion should you require any additional information or clarification.


    [Your Full Name]

    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 structure and format:

    Sample 01

    Dear Ms. Anderson,

    I am writing to respectfully appeal the financial aid decision for the 20XX-20XX academic year. I am grateful for the aid I have been offered, but due to recent unforeseen medical expenses in my family, I find myself in a challenging financial situation that significantly affects my ability to fund my education at State University.

    In January 20XX, my mother was diagnosed with a chronic illness, leading to substantial medical bills that were not covered by insurance. As a result, our family’s financial resources, which were already stretched, have been further strained. My parents are unable to contribute to my tuition and living expenses as they had previously, and I am now facing a shortfall in my college funding.

    The impact of this financial challenge is profound. Without additional financial support, I am at risk of having to defer my studies, which would be a significant setback in my academic journey and future career aspirations in environmental science.

    Therefore, I am requesting a reconsideration of my financial aid package. An increase in grant aid or additional work-study opportunities would be immensely helpful. I estimate that an additional $5,000 would enable me to cover my tuition and basic living expenses for the upcoming academic year.

    Enclosed are copies of my mother’s medical bills and a letter from her physician detailing her condition. These documents corroborate the unexpected financial burden that has befallen our family.

    I am committed to continuing my education at State University and am dedicated to my goal of becoming an environmental scientist. I am hopeful that with additional financial support, I can overcome these challenges and continue to excel academically.

    Thank you for considering my appeal. I understand the limitations of the financial aid budget and appreciate your effort to assist students in need. I am available for a meeting or a conversation should you need any further information.


    Alex Johnson

    Sample 02

    Dear Dr. Green,

    I hope this letter finds you well. My name is Samantha Lee, a sophomore majoring in Biochemistry at Prestige University. I am reaching out with a request to revisit the financial aid package that was recently allocated to me for the 20XX-20XX academic year. I appreciate the university’s initial offer; however, a recent and significant change in my family’s financial situation necessitates this appeal.

    This past February, my family experienced a major setback when our small business, which is the primary source of our income, was severely impacted by unforeseen environmental factors. Much of our property was damaged by flooding, which resulted in a temporary closure and a significant loss of revenue. This unfortunate event has drastically reduced my family’s ability to support my educational expenses as originally planned.

    The financial repercussions of this disaster have placed me in a precarious position regarding my ability to fund my ongoing studies. The prospect of discontinuing my education at Prestige University is both disheartening and distressing, as I have dedicated myself to pursuing a career in medical research.

    In light of these developments, I am kindly requesting an additional financial aid consideration. A reassessment that could lead to an increase in grant assistance or an opportunity for an additional work-study program would be of immense help. An estimated additional aid of around $7,000 would significantly bridge the gap caused by our recent financial hardship.

    For your reference, I have attached documentation from the insurance company and a report from the local news covering the flood and its impact on our business. These documents provide insight into the extent of the damage and the financial strain it has imposed on us.

    Prestige University has been a transformative experience for me, and the thought of not being able to continue my journey here is quite unsettling. I am hopeful for a favorable response that will allow me to remain a part of this vibrant academic community.

    Thank you very much for your time and consideration of my situation. I am more than willing to provide any additional information or meet in person to discuss this matter further.

    Warm regards,

    Samantha Lee

    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 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 letter. Alternatively, ask a family member to proofread your 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. Be mindful of 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 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 a 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 Happens If Your Appeal Is Not Successful?

    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.

    About This Article

    Jill Newman
    Authored by:
    Business Writing | CPA (Certified Public Accountant), MA in English, BS in Business Administration/Accounting
    Jill Newman is an expert in business writing with a wealth of experience in the field. As a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Ohio, she has accumulated over 20 years of accounting expertise. Throughout her career, Jill has worked in various capacities, including public accounting firms, nonprofits, and educational institutions. Alongside her accounting background, she has actively honed her communication skills through her academic pursuits, holding an MA in English. Jill has also gained valuable experience in writing through various writing jobs and teaching roles. Her diverse skill set and passion for effective business communication make her a trusted resource in the field.

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