How To Write A Financial Aid Appeal Letter With Examples

Jun 9, 2021

So you are accepted into a great college just to find out the school isn’t giving you enough money. Yes, I know it’s sad. So now what do you do? Accept your destiny? Go back to attend your backup school? Or could you always start a GoFundMe campaign?

But first, you must question yourself: Is this all the money the school can fund? Or you can ask nicely and write a financial aid letter request, and then the school just might give you a little more?

Have a look at a True story: When Robin asked Northwestern for more money, the school gave him more money, as simple as that where Robin spent four best years of his. 
Robin only spent about $3,500 per year. Important note: Robin had a zero EFC (Estimated Family Contribution), a need-based aid, but if Robin hadn’t asked, he wouldn’t have gotten more money and probably wouldn’t have gone there.

I know, asking people for money is difficult. I become numb or weird sometimes just asking close friends for contribution. And it gets complicated when your college future is on the line. 

But consider doing it. Because you know your college future might be on the line.

Tips to Write a Financial Aid Appeal Letter

  • Start with who you are and where you are from, how thankful you are to have been accepted, and excited about the school.
  • Don’t twist things, be direct about what the letter is for financial aid.
  • Concisely talk about why the school is an excellent fit for you and why you need the money respectfully and straightforwardly.
  • Provide brief details regarding your financial situation, even if you have already provided these details in your original application. Provide them real numbers so that they can see what you see when they do the math: there just isn’t enough money.
  • Ensure to include any details about yourself that show you are a hardworking student and have succeeded in the past.
  • Keep it concise and to the point. Once you are done, sign off respectfully.

Do you want to see these steps in action? Keep reading. But before that:

Why should you write a financial aid letter request? 

One great reason is that you can write a financial aid appeal letter in like an hour, and it may be the fastest $2,000 (or $8,000) you ever make if you don’t try, you’ll never know.

When should I make a financial aid appeal letter request?

As early as possible. Because when the money’s gone, it’s gone.Example No 1: Financial Aid Appeal Letter

To the Financial Aid Office at UCLA:

My name is Meghan Geller, and I am a 12th grader currently enrolled at Los Angeles Academy. First, I would like to say that I am much privileged to have been admitted into this prestigious school, as the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) has always been my number one choice.

There is just a problem between my dream and it is a financial one. 

I would love to be a part of UCLA—it’s near my home, which would allow me to stay close to my family, and the Bio department is remarkable. But, as a low-income student, I simply cannot afford it. I’m writing to request an arrangement for my financial aid award respectfully.

Please have a look at some more details of my financial situation. Currently, my father works as an assistant supervisor for American Apparel Co., and he is the sole bread earner for my family of six, while my mother is a housewife. The pay my father receives weekly hardly meets paying the bills.

My family’s overall income:

Father’s average weekly gross pay: $493.30

Father’s adjusted gross income: $27,022

Our household expenses:

Rent: $850

Legal Services: $200

Car payment: $230.32

Our family cannot afford to have medical insurance, so they do not have a medical bill. My father’s average monthly income estimates $1,973.20 (I’ve attached a pay stub). When our expenses such as rent, electricity bill, gas bill, car payment, legal services are added together, the cost is $1,402.70. Other fees such as the phone bill, internet bill, and monthly groceries also add to the list. But to make ends meet, my father works overtime and tailors clothes for people in our neighborhood.

My family is on an extremely tight budget and sadly cannot afford to pay for my schooling. I have worked very hard to reach where I am and was recently awarded Valedictorian for 2014. My purpose and my aspiration of becoming a nutritionist have helped me push forward despite the difficulties. I acknowledge your time in reconsidering my financial aid award. I’m looking forward to becoming a Bruin.

Regards,

Meghan Geller

Analysis of the Example No 1: Financial Aid Appeal Letter

To the Financial Aid Office at UCLA:

My name is Meghan Geller, and I am a 12th grader currently enrolled at Los Angeles Academy. First, I would like to say that I am much privileged to have been admitted into this prestigious school, as the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) has always been my number one choice.

See how she talks about;
a) who she is and where she’s from,
b) how much she’s grateful to have been accepted and
c) (significant point) that UCLA is her number one choice. A school likes to know this if it’s true.

There is just a problem between my dream and it is a financial one.

See how she switches her sentence to set up what this letter is going to be about. It’s straightforward, simple, and explicit. Your letter doesn’t have to be fancy; it has to be clear and direct.

I would love to be a part of UCLA—it’s near my home, which would allow me to stay close to my family, and the Bio department is remarkable. But, as a low-income student, I simply cannot afford it. I’m writing to request an arrangement for my financial aid award respectfully.

So, first, she offers two fixed reasons that UCLA is the right fit for her, so the financial aid officer understands why UCLA is her top choice. Afterward, she makes her request clear: give me more money! And she does so in a simple, straightforward, and respectful way. She doesn’t beg; she asks.

Please have a look at some more details of my financial situation. Currently, my father works as an assistant supervisor for American Apparel Co., and he is the sole bread earner for my family of six, while my mother is a housewife. The pay my father receives weekly hardly meets paying the bills.

It is good to give details of your specific family situation even if you have provided these details in your original application, since the financial aid officer may not have your entire application right in front of them at the moment—it is helpful and saves them. Lots of work!

My family’s overall income:

Father’s average weekly gross pay: $493.30

Father’s adjusted gross income: $27,022

Our household expenses:

Rent: $850

Legal Services: $200

Car payment: $230.32

Give the details. No need to worry or feel shy. Give them the numbers so that they can understand what you are going through when they do the math. There just isn’t enough money. And remember that you may be asked to send in copies of your parents’ pay stubs, so don’t lie! And it’s not necessary to give all the details. It is essential to explain certain things—like why she doesn’t include her parents’ medical insurance. She already mentions

Our family cannot afford to have medical insurance, so they do not have a medical bill. My father’s average monthly income estimates $1,973.20 (I’ve attached a pay stub). When our expenses such as rent, electricity bill, gas bill, car payment, legal services are added together, the cost is $1,402.70. Other fees such as the phone bill, internet bill, and monthly groceries also add to the list. But to make ends meet, my father works overtime and tailors clothes for people in our neighborhood.

See how she has included her dad’s pay stub, which, again, saves time for the admission counselor. Additionally, she briefly explains the other costs and how her family is already doing everything they can.

My family is on an extremely tight budget and sadly cannot afford to pay for my schooling. I have worked very hard to reach where I am and was recently awarded Valedictorian for 2014. My purpose and aspiration of becoming a nutritionist have helped me push forward despite the difficulties. I acknowledge your time in reconsidering my financial aid award. I’m looking forward to becoming a Bruin.

More information: She is Valedictorian. A new update in her profile, as she wouldn’t have known this when she applied but did understand by the time she wrote the appeal. You can include 1-2 essential updates. Just keep in mind to not make a mess by saying useless things. You don’t want to seem desperate; you want to close strong with your most important updates. 

Regards,

Meghan Geller

No fancy ending, just a simple sign-off.

Example No 2: Financial Aid Appeal Letter

A much shorter appeal:

Dear Financial Aid Director

After submitting the FAFSA for the 2017-2018 school year, I realized that you are using the same tax year (2015) for my son’s freshman year. I am writing to you because my income for this year (2016) has fallen short, and this fact will not be rendered when you examine the FAFSA for 2017-2018 – let me tell you why. I am a freelance videographer and only work when I receive a call for a project and am offered the job. In simple words, I only accept a paycheck when I work. Sometimes it is for one day, and sometimes it is for several days, but I do not have a stable or guaranteed income. Besides that, it is not a job where I work at the same place every day, and I work for several different companies. I feel blessed and happy that I can work my craft for a long time. But its life some days are better than others. Sadly, this year (2016), I will only make around $12,000 to $15,000, much less than I did in the 2015 calendar year.

Thank you for your consideration,

Peter Stark

Can anything be more simple and straightforward than this letter? See that these letters don’t have to be fancy. They just have to include crucial and relevant information. If the process of writing an appeal feels large, you can always put it in bullet points. How the request above would look in bullet points:

  • You’re using our 2015 tax info to award financial aid
  • The 2016 info is different
  • Why? I’m a freelance graphic artist: sometimes I work, sometimes not
  • I’m on track to make 12-15K less this year

Simple and clear. Anyone can do this.

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