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Financial aid, including student loans, can help students pay for higher education. But sometimes the financial aid award letter from a school doesn’t match the amount that a student needs to pay for college. When that happens, you can write a letter to appeal the financial aid offered, detailing your reasons for the appeal.
Here’s when it may make sense to appeal a financial aid package and how to write a financial aid appeal letter:
- When to appeal your financial aid award
- How to write a financial aid appeal letter
- Sample financial aid appeal letter
- Sample financial aid appeal letter for bad grades
When to appeal your financial aid award
This depends on the school’s process, so make sure you confirm its deadlines — as well as any federal deadlines — to ensure you don’t miss your chance to make an appeal.
Here are some situations when it makes sense to appeal your financial aid award:
- You made an error on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). An error on your FAFSA could lead to a lower aid amount.
- Your family’s financial situation has changed. A recent medical diagnosis or job loss may mean your family finances look a lot different than when you initially completed the FAFSA.
- You’re going through a divorce. Married students may experience financial hardships and a drop in household income during or after a divorce. A parent getting divorced can also cause financial issues.
- Your parent or legal guardian dies. The death of a parent or legal guardian can affect your finances significantly.
- You have an ongoing financial commitment. The FAFSA doesn’t initially take certain ongoing financial commitments into account, such as paying medical expenses for a disabled child.
- You’ve added a new family member to the household. If you welcome a new family member after submitting the FAFSA, you may want to appeal as your household finances have likely changed.
- You’re facing significant physical or mental health challenges. Both of these situations can make it difficult to pay your way through school.
How to write a financial aid appeal letter
You can connect with your school’s financial aid office to find out what guidelines they have for appealing a financial aid package. For example, the appeal may need to be in a certain format or have specific supporting documentation attached.
A financial aid appeal letter is generally most effective if it contains the following information:
- Detailed reasons for appealing: Begin your letter with your reason for writing the appeal. Make this clear, transparent, and succinct.
- Amount and date of the award: Include information about when you received the award and how much it was for.
- A polite request: Politely request that the financial aid office reconsider your initial award amount.
- How much more aid you need: Explain how much more money you need to attend school and what expenses that money would cover.
- Request for a match: If another school you were accepted to is offering a larger financial aid package, you can request your school to match that amount. Back up your request by detailing your desire to attend the school more than the other institution.
- Thank the school for its consideration: You can end your letter by thanking the financial aid officer for taking the time to review and consider your appeal.
Learn More: How to Compare Financial Aid Award Letters
Sample financial aid appeal letter
If you’re not sure where to begin, you can use this sample financial aid appeal letter and adapt it to meet your needs:
Sample financial aid appeal letter for bad grades
If your financial aid was revoked due to unsatisfactory academic progress, you can appeal that decision with a letter. Here’s an example:
Following these templates doesn’t guarantee a positive or negative outcome, but they should be able to help you narrow your focus and articulate your appeal when submitting your letter.