Appealing your College Award Letter

Many people open their college award letter and are excited about what the future holds.  But others look at their award letter and immediately feel the enormous pressure of financial burden.  However, your college award letter may not be the final offer from the college of your choice.  You may be able to appeal your award letter.  When you appeal your college award letter you are asking that specific college to consider additional circumstances that hinder your ability to pay for college.  In essence, you are asking them to adjust their initial award and offer you additional gift aid.  But not all appeal letters are written equally.  In fact, Time recently wrote an article about some of the “all too common” mistakes seen in appeal letters.  Here are a couple of questions to ask when drafting your appeal letter.

Appealing your College Award Letter:  When?

Appealing your college award letter may result in additional gift aid!

The question most often asked is when.  When should we appeal an award letter or under what circumstances should we appeal the award letter?  There are many good reason to appeal your award letter.  From time to time, there are special circumstances that may have changed one’s income in the previous year, or may affect one’s income in the current year.  These special circumstance would warrant an appeal.  Here is a list of some special circumstance that may occur:

  • Loss or decrease in income
  • High Medical Bills
  • One-time High income distribution
  • Divorce/ change in marital status
  • Loss of a parent

Along with tehese special circumstance that involve particular financial changes, there may be other special circumstances that can be made know.  There may be more than on family living in the home.  There may be more than on family members attending college at the same time.  You may even want to use an appeal letter to leverage one college’s financial offerings against another.

Appealing your College Award Letter:  How?

Most people appeal their college award in writing via email or fax.  Some go the extra step and hand delivering the letter.  However you choose to deliver your letter, here are a couple of tips to help your college appeal letter get more attention.

Be Specific!  You have been working with a specific advisor, so address the letter to their attention.  Give specific information regarding your special circumstances.  Be specific in what you are asking.  For instance, if you need an additional $3000.00, then ask specifically for that $3000.oo in gift aid.  If you ask for that amount, then you will need to be specific with your reasons why you need that amount.

Provide Documentation!  When you appeal your award letter make sure you provide ample documentation.  This may include financial documentation, copy of unexpected medical bills, etc.  Your documentation will give proof to your need.  Let the appeals team see exactly why you need additional financial consideration

Follow-up with a call!  Once you have submitted the appeal letter, follow-up with a phone call.  This will allow you to make sure the college has all the information you provided, and you can ask how long it will take to get an answer to your appeal.  A phone call will also afford the college the opportunity to ask any additional information they may need.

Appealing your College Award Letter:  Let us help!

Appealing your college award letter can gain you additional gift aid.  But you need to be careful.  You need to make sure you understand your award letter and understand the grounds for appealing your award letter.  You must also be able to articulate your need and provide documentation regarding your need.  A well written, well documentation appeal letter could save you thousands of dollars in college expenses.

One of the services included in our college packages is profession help in drafting your appeal letters.  Call our offices today to schedule a free college planning consultation and see how we can help you prepare for the college years and beyond!


Author: Dorothy Mautte

Dorothy is President and Chief Consultant for College4Less™ a College Funding Planning Company associated with the Strategic Education Technologies Advisors and The College Planning Network (CPN). CPN is a network of financial professionals who specialize in helping “families successfully navigate the college admissions and financial aid planning process so their children can attend the college of their choice − regardless of the cost.” Dorothy has served in the Financial Services Industry for over 35 years and has helped hundreds of families plan for college. Whether you have high-school aged children or younger we can help you find the best resources available for all your college needs and design a strategy for you to pay your share and still be able to retire Set for Life without risk.