Who Can Appeal for More Financial Aid?

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Mark Kantrowitz

By Mark Kantrowitz

May 9, 2020

During our webinar about How to Appeal for More College Financial Aid, participants asked dozens of questions about when and how to appeal for more financial aid for college, as well as questions about specific types of special circumstances. This article explores who can appeal for more financial aid.

Can you appeal for more financial aid even if you didn’t receive any financial aid other than student loans? What if you have not yet filled out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?

If a family has experienced a change in financial circumstances that affects their ability to pay for college, they should appeal for more financial aid. For example, if a family was wealthy and didn’t bother filing the FAFSA, but one or both parents have lost their jobs, they should appeal for more financial aid.

If the family has not yet filed a FAFSA, the college will want the family to file a FAFSA before they consider the appeal for more financial aid. The FAFSA gathers information about the family income and assets, as well as demographics, which provides a baseline against which the appeal may be considered.

You can submit the FAFSA and the financial aid appeal simultaneously. It takes just 30-60 minutes to file the FAFSA. Since the FAFSA is based on two-year-old income information (the prior-prior year), the appeal will provide the financial aid office with current income information.

Should the appeal letter be written and submitted by the child, the parent or both?

The appeal letter should be written by the parents, unless the child is an independent student. The parents will know more about their financial circumstances than the child.

Having the child write about how much they love the college will not affect the consideration of the financial aid appeal. Professional judgment reviews focus on the family’s financial circumstances, not other factors. Financial aid appeals are reviewed by the financial aid office, not the admissions office.

Use our Financial Aid Calculator to estimate your expected family contribution (EFC) and financial need based on student and parent income and assets, family size, number of children in college, age of the older parent and the student’s dependency status.

A good place to start:

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