Sample Financial Aid Appeal Letter

Sample Financial Aid Appeal Letter

If you’ve determined that you have good cause to appeal your financial aid award, and as a result, have made the decision to appeal, it’s important to write a convincing financial aid appeal letter.

Reading about how others have successfully navigated the appeals process can be invaluable. In addition, having a basic guideline in what a convincing letter could like will also prove to be helpful. Here are two sample financial aid appeal letters that will give you a framework for how to approach writing your appeal letter…

Sample Financial Aid Appeal Letter #1

Dear Mr. XXX,
I would like to thank XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX for admission into the Biology Program and the Merit Scholarship of $XX,XXX.  XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX is my number one choice for my undergraduate degree. However, while I am thankful and appreciate the gracious offer, it still leaves a substantial financial gap. I would like to formally request a review of my information on file and be considered for any additional funding that is available.
Currently, I have acceptances of admission and financial offers from University of XXXXXXX, University of XXXXXXX, and  XXXXXXX. These are my next three choices and they bring my Net Balance to less than half of my EFC. 
My financial aid application, which shows that I am able to pay a substantial amount of money, does not give an accurate picture of my situation. My family has a significant amount of medical bills, as well as past debt due to a job loss from years ago. In addition, there is a current job loss from which they are still recovering. The assistance that is being offered is helpful, however, I would need additional assistance in order to attend XXXXXXX.
I will be on campus on MONTH DAY attending the Accepted Student’s Day and welcome the opportunity to meet with someone from your office. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I hope to hear back from you soon.
xxxx  xxxxxxx
Cell: (xxx) xxx-xxxx
The above financial aid appeal letter works because the student does the following:
1) Thanks the school for his/her admittance.
2) Gives examples of other schools where he/she has acceptances and how those offers bring his/her family’s net cost to less than the school’s original offer.
3) Provides evidence as to why the FAFSA application does not accurately portray the amount his/her family can afford to pay for college. 
4) Asks to set up an appointment to discuss the issue in person (or it could be over the phone)

Sample Financial Aid Appeal Letter #2

To the Reconsideration Committee:

Thank you very much for accepting me to … College. I was thrilled to get my acceptance letter a few weeks ago. I am reaching out with the hopes that I might be considered for additional financial support. … is absolutely my first choice school, and I am trying my best to make it more affordable for me and my parents. If I do not receive additional financial support I will be unable to attend … . With that being said, I have a few recent details about myself to share that were not on my application that I hope will influence your decision to extend to me further financial support.

One significant event that speaks to my character and potential is that in January I received from the Boy Scouts of America the “XXXXX award” (attached). The award was given for service “above and beyond.” Receiving this award was a complete surprise! I appreciate it because during my three years working there I have helped countless scouts achieve their first few scout ranks and complete multiple merit badges. Over the years my directors have increasingly sought my perspective on the value of newer staff members and asked my opinion on new program ideas.

A second factor that I hope you will consider is that since December I have been working 16-20 hours per week at a local restaurant. While putting in these hours I have maintained my grade point average and continued my involvement in my high school’s musical and theatre programs. I am saving half of my earnings to contribute to college tuition. Last week, my manager sat me down for my three-month review, and I was proud to see that he had given me top marks in every area. I was even given a raise.

One final point related to my ability to meet the financial cost of attending … has to do with my parents’ savings. They did put some money away, but in 2013 I was diagnosed with XXX disease. The medical testing and treatment for this chronic condition has cost them an average of $7,500 out of pocket per year over the past five years. These are fund which they would otherwise have set aside for college. (I will provide documentation of medical expenses if requested.)

Finally, I attach two substantial merit awards that I received from other private institutions. These range from $22,000-$26,000 per year. It would mean so much to me if these awards could be matched here, because as I have said before, … is my top choice and I would be honored to attend this fall.

Thank you so much for your time,

Use the above samples as guides for creating your own financial aid appeal letter that is personal to your situation. 







Debbie Schwartz is former financial services executive and founder of Road2College and the Paying For College 101 Facebook group. She's dedicated to providing families with trustworthy information about college admissions and paying for college. With data, tools and access to experts she's helping families become educated consumers of higher ed.