financial aid appeal letter tips:

  1. Begin with who you are and where you are from, how grateful you are to have been accepted and that you are excited about the school

  2. Be direct about what the letter is for (financial aid)

  3. Briefly talk about why the school is a great fit for you and why you need the money in an straightforward and respectful way.

  4. Give short, concise details of your specific financial situation even if you gave these details in your original application. Give them real numbers so that, when they do the math, that they can see what you see: there just isn’t enough money.

  5. Include any details about yourself that show you are a hardworking student and have succeeded in the past.

  6. Keep it short and to the point. Once you are done, sign off respectfully.

Wanna see these steps in action? Keep reading. But first:

Why should you consider writing a financial aid letter request?
Because…

  • 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 ask, you’ll never know.

When should I make a financial aid appeal letter request?
As soon as you can. Because when the money’s gone, it’s gone. So, like, now.

How do I write one?
I’m about to tell you. But before I do I thought I’d bring in some help.

In Episode 103 of the College Essay Guy podcast I spoke with Jodi Okun, financial aid guru and author of the Amazon bestseller Secrets of a Financial Aid Pro.

We talked about everything from whether or not to include house and retirement when reporting assets on the FAFSA to how decisions are sometimes made in a financial aid office. But the main topic of our conversation was appeal letters–what they are, who should write one, and what to literally say to a financial aid officer when calling to make an appeal. Here’s one of my favorite bits of advice from Jodi on the importance of allowing for a pause in conversation when appealing to a financial aid officer:

“Parents have an agenda about what they want to say, but financial aid offices have a process they have to follow with every folder on their desk,” Jodi says. “You may think the next step is one thing but they may give you another step which might get you further in your appeal.”

Below you’ll find a few great financial aid request letter samples–one from my former student and a couple from families Jodi worked with–with analysis and suggestions on how to write your own appeal letter. Underneath that you’ll find some links to some financial aid resources you don’t want to miss.

Click here to hear my complete interview about how to win a financial aid appeal letter with financial aid expert Jodi Okun, who has helped thousands of families navigate the college financial planning process and contributed one of the financial aid request letter samples in this post.