Financial Aid Appeals

You won’t hear a “yes” unless you ask, so if you’ve received an acceptance from a college and you are not happy with their financial aid offer, you can ask them to reconsider your package. Keep in mind that there is need-based and merit-based aid, so how you approach your appeal will change depending on what you’re asking for. There are only three primary factors that make you a good candidate for reconsideration.

  1. A change in your financial circumstances since you applied or if your financial aid application did not give a full picture of your circumstances and you’d like to share more (this would be need-based aid).  

  2. Another college offered you a better package (this could be be need or merit-based).

  3. You’ve had a major accomplishment since applying (this would be merit-based aid that could land you a scholarship).

Tips For Writing Your Appeal

  1. Explain your situation clearly and with evidence. There are many situations that could lead to a change in financial circumstance like a parent losing a job, a divorce, a lawsuit, a gambling problem, etc. The financial aid officers reading your appeal are humans, and they understand that we all face challenges. Your best bet is to explain your case honestly and share evidence for the financial change or hardship (like paperwork, receipts, bank statements).
  2. Explain that the college you’re writing to is your first choice and commit to attending if they offer you a financial aid package that works for you.
  3. If another school has offered you a better package, share that offer and ask if they will match it. Make sure you emphasize that you want to attend X school, but the competing financial aid offer complicates the decision.
  4. If you have had a major accomplishment, received an award, or gotten excellent grades since you applied, this can qualify you for a scholarship. Share your accomplishment and ask if there is anything you can do in the upcoming weeks or months to qualify for a scholarship or additional aid.
  5. Ask if there are scholarships available to sophomores, juniors and seniors that you can apply for the following year(s).
  6. Thank them for the aid you received!
  7. Follow up with a call or in person if you can.