Maximize Your Financial Aid Award: How to Write a Killer Appeal Letter

April 2nd, 2012 @   -  No Comments

You have completed your SAT and ACT work.  You’ve finished up the application process.  You have been accepted to a school you are happy about.  You’ve worked with your parents and submitted your FAFSA.  And now you have received your financial aid award letter.  You’re done, right?  All that’s left is packing up and hitting the road.

For many college attendees, the financial aid award letter does represent the last step in the process.  Unfortunately, those students and their families are throwing thousands of dollars down the drain. Unless you have received a full scholarship, or you are completely happy to pay whatever is left over, it’s essential that you appeal the financial aid award.  This requires what is known as a Financial Aid Award Appeal Letter, sent to the financial aid office of your school.  In this letter, you and your family must make a clear case describing your financial circumstances in great detail.  Writing this letter takes time, research, and expertise—if you would like help, our expert staff is standing by.  In the meantime, here are four tips to maximize the chances of a successful award appeal:

1)     Explain why you need the additional money. The school already has your FAFSA information, but that doesn’t account for recent expenses such as dental work or medical expenditures.  Itemize these expenses and document how they have reduced the amount of funding available for your use.

2)     Make sure you include the necessary forms. Many financial aid offices will not even consider an appeal letter if the proper paperwork isn’t included.  Check the school’s website or give your financial aid counselor a call to ensure that you complete this process properly.

3)     Create leverage. If you have been offered more money from another school, by all means include this information in your appeal letter.  No school wants to lose students a competitor, and in many cases this tactic leads to the desired increase in aid.

4)     Presentation matters. Your appeal letter is not the time to be sloppy.  Carefully organize any supporting information you are including.  Carefully proofread the letter before sending it.  Make sure you come off as professional and polite.

Writing a strong financial aid appeal letter can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the duration of your college career.  If you’d like help writing the best possible award letter, please get in touch with us today!

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