While emails and on-campus visits are common in today’s admissions process, one thing remains old-fashioned: Write a letter to appeal your award letter, suggests Ramsdell. The credo “get it in writing” applies perfectly to financial aid. It also buys you time to send back a well-crafted reply if a denial email arrives in the mail.
The key here is to supply a proper paper trail (to and from the school). If there was a birth in your family, provide a copy of the birth certificate. If you (or your parents) recently divorced, send a copy of the divorce decree or filing. Be sure to check with the school’s financial aid office for its appeals process (which differs from school to school). For example, some schools prefer that you address your letter to an anonymous financial aid committee, versus the name of a financial aid director. Others may be willing to provide the name of the head of the committee overseeing these letters. Factors That Influence Financial Aid Appeals
While size and prestige have an effect on sticker price, they are not necessarily dominant factors in whether your appeal goes through or not. “While it is true that you may be competing against students at the top of their class at Harvard, a community college may have less financial aid available or more qualified applicants in a given year,” says Rod Bugarin, a financial aid consultant at Aristotle Circle. His example is just one of the many factors that determine your appeals probability:
Student qualifications: Grade point average, SAT/ACT scores, essay, extracurricular activities and intended major all factor into merit-based and need-based aid. If you have good grades or high standardized test scores, you may be in a better position to appeal your financial aid package. Number of other students who need aid that year: In a way, financial aid is also awarded on a bell curve. Every year, the undergraduate and graduate student body shifts demographically, as...
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