The cookie cutter formula that determines the amount of financial aid you receive does not take in to consideration extreme circumstances and situations. For example, if your income has changed since you filled out your FAFSA and you cannot afford your expected family contribution (EFC). Fortunately, a financial aid appeal may be able to help change your situation.
During a financial aid appeal, you will attempt to demonstrate your circumstances. You will need to demonstrate your current income level and assets. This is necessary to show you cannot afford to pay for your freshman year. More than likely you will need to provide income verification, an updated asset holdings, a list containing any uniquely high expenses, and description of your special circumstances. Ultimately, your goal is to lower your EFC.
A competitive appeal is a rivalry that exists between schools. These are generally private schools, who are fairly equal, see a lot of the same applicant, or members of the same conference. Competitive appeals are not always entertained by schools. A school would need to have a policy about their willingness to respond to the financial aid packages of other schools. If one school has given you a generous scholarship or grant, it does not hurt to inquire to a competing school about this. They may consider enhancing your initial financial aide package.
Tips for writing an appeal letter:
- Thank the college for their offer of financial aid, even if is not even close to the amount of aid you need.Address the head of the financial aid department. Find out who it is and use their name!
- Demonstrate why you are in need of more aid.
- List reasons why you/your parents cannot afford your EFC. Examples: mortgages, medical bills, etc.
- State you may not be able to attend this University without a higher financial aid offer. Use your words carefully!
- Be humble and appreciative. The financial aid office can approve or deny this request at their discretion and based on the funds available.
- Don’t be pushy!
- If your parents are not assisting you, make sure you let your school know.
- Follow up, after 2 weeks call the financial aid office to check your status.