5 months ago
Admissions Advice

Appeal for scholarship

When a school gives you inadequate financial aid, how are you supposed to appeal for more financial aid from the school.

In short, how do you write the financial aid appeal letter?

Thank you


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2 answers

5 months ago[edited]

You should use CollegeVines negotiate financial aid service.


They have an early access program which is free.


Do not call the Financial Aid office until you do your own research and have something to negotiate otherwise, it will be a futile attempt and you will have used some of your ammo and they will know you have no basis for complaining and remember and note that you called.

1. It's always better to have another offer or two in your hand. So if you are patient and get another financial aid package from school Y and school Z, then you can tell school X that their offer is low compared to the other offers you received. How they react will inform you whether it was low because they thought you were desperate to get in or whether it was a miscalculation or oversight.

2. Be willing to be transparent and provide proof of the other offers to the school you are trying to negotiate with. Otherwise, they will think you are just haggling a better price for haggling's sake. In this admissions cycle, top schools have a long line of students wanting to attend more than previous admission cycles, so top colleges do not have to give what you want them to give unless there is a legitimate reason.

3. Research all the financial aid packages yourself and see how well you did compare to other admits or their published information. Almost all colleges these days both publish their general finaid criteria and average award amounts. There are 5 resources for finding this out.

1.) College website under financial aid section

2.) College admissions portal like CollegeVine

3.) Ranking lists like US NewsWorld Report

4.) Re-running your Net Price Calculation for all the colleges you got packages for to see whether they are accurate to the one you received. You can find the NPC calculator on BigFuture on CollegeBoard.com under Tools and Calculators or under the financial aid section of the college website. This is something I recommend all students to do BEFORE they apply to the colleges so they will not be surprised with their financial aid package.

5.) Looking up the Common Data Set for each of the colleges that you got accepted to. They will have the last 5 to 10 years of CDS available for you to download and review and under various sections you can see how much money the school gave out on average to students depending on their status.

After you do this homework, you will be better informed and know whether the school was consistent with how it reports Financial Aid and if its just one of those schools that are underfunded in this area or if they made a mistake on your award.

I recommend for Sophomores and Juniors do some of these things before making a college list for their parents to approve because it's not intuitive to know that some State Schools end up being more expensive than Elite Private Colleges.

Good Luck.

5 months ago

I would contact their Financial Aid office directly since you can be more direct and aggressive in getting more financial aid but for the appeal letter, you should explain why you need more financial aid. Provide evidence whether that is about your family's current circumstances like your mom or dad getting fired or laid off (which is common in many families given COVID-19) and maybe even some other documentation that you haven't supplied them with to show that you need more money. Be sure to write an approximation or the exact amount of money you need too.


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