Guest Blogger, Todd Weaver of Strategies For College gives you his best tips on how to appeal your financial aid award.

Today, I’m going to talk about the financial aid award letters and the appeal process for the college that your student is interested in. Yes, you can appeal, but does it make sense in your student’s particular case? That’s the question.

So the first question is looking at the financial aid award letter: Did the college meet the financial need of your student? You need to know what your EFC is, your expected family contribution, and how much aid a college will award to a student to understand whether or not they did meet your needs. If they’re close to 85% of the needs met or more, you’re probably not going to see an appeal letter do anything good for you. However, if less than 85% of your need is met, that provides an opportunity to potentially ask for more money.

Reasons to appeal

The first reason could be your family’s financial circumstances have changed since you filed the financial aid form several months ago. For example, if a parent loses a job, there might be an opportunity to go back to the college and ask for additional funding.

Another reason could be that if the college offers merit scholarships and the student’s test scores and grades are towards the high end of the scale at that particular college, it may be wise to look at the historical scholarship offerings that they’ve given. If your scholarship is less than their historical average, it makes perfect sense to go back and ask for a little bit more money.

Writing your appeal

When writing your financial appeal, make sure you put it in writing in a formal fashion and submit it to the college and perhaps visit the financial aid office if you’re going back for the admitted students’ day. It’s important to tell them your story in your own voice and give the reasons why your student should be looked at for additional funding. Doing the research can really pay off. One of my parents just called the other day saying that submitting their appeal got them an additional $3,000 per year, so over 4 years, that’s a $122,000 swing in their favor.


Make sure you know what they’re offering. What’s free money? What’s self-help? What do you have to pay back? What type of interest rates are coming with those loans? So, you might have to take out and use that information to make an informed decision on the college that your student should be attending this fall.

What was your biggest takeaway from this video? Do you have any questions for Todd Weaver and Alexis Avila?

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