Financial Aid Award Letters: How to Appeal for More Aid

In Paying for College on Apr 08, 2016

Did you know that if your financial aid award letter doesn't offer enough money, you can try appealing for more financial aid?

The appeals process is based on documentation of special circumstances. Some colleges call this a professional judgment review or a special circumstances review.

Special circumstances include anything that changed from the base year to the academic year, such as job loss and salary reductions, as well as anything that distinguishes the family from the typical family, such as high unreimbursed medical and dental bills or high dependent care costs for a special needs child. If the college financial aid office decides that the special circumstances merit an adjustment, the financial aid administrator will change the data elements on your financial aid application forms based on the financial impact of the special circumstances. This will yield a new expected family contribution, which, in turn, will yield a new financial aid package. Financial aid administrators are more likely to approve an adjustment if the special circumstances are due to factors beyond the family’s control.

Also, keep receipts of your actual textbook purchases. If the total textbook costs exceed the allowance in the cost of attendance, ask the college to make an adjustment to reflect your actual textbook costs.

Need more information about financial aid award letters. Check out our guides:

Paying for College

Can I get Into...

We Know Your Chances. Do You?

What Are My Chances