How to write a financial aid letter

How to Write a Successful Financial Aid Appeal Letter sample

Write a Successful Financial Aid Appeal Letter Sample 1

Write a Successful Financial Aid Appeal Letter

Write a Successful Financial Aid Appeal Letter Sample 2

Write a Successful Financial Aid Appeal Letter

What to include in your financial aid appeal letter

Your financial aid award appeal letter should include the following:

  • An address to a specific person: Find a specific contact at the financial aid office to direct your letter to, rather than a generic “Dear Sir or Madam”
  • A clear “ask” and a specific “why: Ask the office to reconsider, then offer a clear-cut reason why you need more aid money.
  • Details of any special circumstances: Explain your situation in an open and honest way. If there’s been a financial change since you submitted the FAFSA, ask the office to adjust your cost of attendance based on your new circumstances.
  • Appropriate documentation: Include any relevant documents that support your explanation and refer to them in the letter. If the aid office requires specific forms, include those as well.
  • An exact amount: Provide a real aid amount that would enable you to attend the school. If you need aid for specific things, like travel costs or supplies, be sure to name them.
  • A competing offer, if you have one: If another school offered you more financial aid, include the offer and ask the school to match it.
  • Next steps. Ask what the next stages are in the appeal process.
  • More than one “thank you: Open and close with gratitude. Thank the office for the financial aid you already got and for considering your appeal.

Few steps to appeal your financial aid

  • Step 1. Contact the school’s financial aid office to find out the appeals process.
  • Step 2. Find the best person to write the appeal letter to.
  • Step 3. Determine how much aid to ask for.
  • Step 4. Gather documents to support your request.
  • Step 5. Write a financial aid appeal letter that is no more than one page and includes details of why you need more money.
  • Step 6. Submit your letter, documentation and any forms the school requires.
  • Step 7. If you get a positive response, congratulations! If you still need additional aid or your request is denied, consider scholarships and loans. Alternatively, consider another school that has a lower price tag or offers more aid.

When you should appeal financial aid

A parent became unemployed or had to take a lower-paying job, or maybe money intended for college is now needed to pay for healthcare. There is any number of reasons why you may find yourself needing to write a financial aid appeal letter. The most likely will probably be attributable to an unexpected change in your personal economic situation. For instance:

  • Unemployment
  • Serious medical situations
  • Divorce

How to Write a Letter for Financial Aid

  • Determine if You Should Appeal Your Financial Aid
  • Don’t Delay – Get Started As Soon As Possible
  • Find Out What to Include in Your Appeal Letter
  • Start by calling the financial aid office or Write Your Financial Aid Appeal Letter
  • Describing Changes in Your EFC (known as your Expected Family Contribution, or EFC).
  • Explaining Special Circumstances.
  • Include specific examples.
  • Gather documentation.
  • Be respectful and honest, and keep it short.
  • Submit the financial aid appeal letter the right way.
  • Wait for Your Response!

One of the first things you’ll need to do is go to the financial aid office and get their SAP, which stands for “satisfactory academic process,” appeal letter information. Make sure you have all the information that you need.

Fill out all the forms very carefully. So now let’s talk about the letter that you need to write to add to what you’ve got there. Your letter will look something like this, and I’m going to walk you through each of the parts that you need to do.

So one of the first things that you need to do is some prewriting. You’ll want to maybe make a list or a mindmap thinking of all the reasons why your appeal should be granted and what evidence you’re going to use to support your appeal when you write your letter. When you actually start drafting your letter–that’s step two– you’re going, to begin with, the very top.

You’ll want to begin with putting in your heading, which is your name, address, phone number, your email address, and the date that you are sending in the letter, and that’s usually somewhere right before it’s due.

Next, you’ll want to put in the address of the financial aid office. Make sure that you’ve got–you can copyright from the handout to see exactly how that address should be. Then you want to make sure you put near the top, “Re:” and then “Appeal of” and put your name and your student ID number.

Make sure, in fact, that your name and student ID number are carefully written on every single piece of paper that goes into your appeal. And finally, you’re going to have your  salutation, which is something like, “Dear members of the Financial Aid Committee.” Then you’re ready to work on your first paragraph, which is where you state your request.

It should be about three to five sentences long, and it should provide basic background information that tells the situation that you’re in, and make sure that you state exactly what you want very clearly. Paragraph two is where you make your case to them as to why they should grant your appeal. This is probably your longest paragraph:  maybe five to eight sentences.

You want to tell what happened in chronological order, the order that it happened. Actual numbers and dates will help to illustrate your situation. Be very specific. For example, instead of saying that you had extenuating circumstances, you’ll want to tell what the circumstance was. If you are appealing due to poor health or academic performance, list reasons why your performance was weak. Indicate what you’ve done to remedy this situation.

Although this can be very emotional, try not to use emotional words in your tone. Remain calm, professional, and factual. Paragraph three is where you justify your appeal. This is where you tell exactly how you have changed things and why you should be given another chance and how you’ll be successful now that you’ve made these changes and adjustments to your life.

State what you hope to accomplish: for example, you may be the first person in your family to receive a degree, or you might want to provide a better life for yourself and your family. You might explain how a lack of change in your financial aid award will impact you. It might mean you won’t be able to take the classes you need for your major or that you will have to put your education on hold.

Be very specific and clear when you’re justifying your appeal. Paragraph four is where you restate your request and thank the reader for reading what you have. It’s closing. In one or two sentences, summarize your request, restate your desired outcome. You do not need to repeat things that you had in your earlier paragraphs. Finally, thank the reader for considering your appeal.

You might say, “Thank you in advance  for your time and consideration.” It’s a very simple paragraph that closes everything up. And then the last part of your letter is the closing, your signature, and your typed name. Make sure that you leave space in between the closing and your name so that you can sign it in blue or black ink. Your next step, step 3, is to revise and edit.

So make sure that as you read through what you’ve written that you’ve used formal, very respectful language, you’ve got complete sentences, correct grammar usage, and mechanics,  that it’s easy to understand, that you have not used any emotional language, that you’ve been honest and real. Proofread it by reading it out loud, checking for spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Then have someone else read it. One of the ways that you can have someone else read it is to come into our Writing,  Reading, and Speech Assistance Area. You can schedule an appointment online or come in and make an appointment with us. Finally, you’re ready to publish.

So make sure at that point that you have attached all of the required information, you send Financial Aid Appeal Letter in on time, and you are happy with what you’ve got in front of you.

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