How to write a financial aid appeal letter


Did you have a bad semester and now find yourself facing financial aid suspension or probation? If your grades suffered because of mitigating circumstances, you may be eligible to appeal the decision and still receive financial aid for future terms. Depending upon your circumstances, and the reasons for your failure to meet required academic standards, a financial aid appeal letter may go a long way in helping you to keep your funding. Of course, a simple “please let me keep my money” plea will likely not suffice. There are specific points your letter should touch upon, and you may be required to provide proof of any information provided to support your claims. A proper financial aid appeal will contain the following elements:

1. Opening statement

You should begin your letter by explaining why you think you have been placed on financial aid suspension, as explained to you by a letter or financial aid advisor. If you are not clear on the specific reasons you have been denied aid, contact an advisor in the financial aid office at your school to get clarification before continuing with your appeal.

Next, explain what prevented you from attaining satisfactory academic progress. Not getting along with the professor or disliking the class will not be suitable excuses. Circumstances that will be considered may include personal problems (mental health issues), an accident or serious health issues, family problems, divorce, and work issues (if required to work too many hours).

2. Support your position

After explaining the reasons why you were unable to meet satisfactory academic standards, be prepared to provide documentation and information to support these claims. If you are claiming an illness or injury, provide medical records and accident reports from the authorities or newspapers. In the case of a family death or a divorce, attach a copy of the death certificate or separation/divorce decree. If you worked too many hours and felt this contributed to your lapse in grades, submit copies of your pay stubs or work schedule to support this claim.

3. Have a plan

Once you have explained why your grades suffered and provided documentation to support those claims, you’ll need to show the appeals committee that you have a plan in place to improve your grade point average. This can include reducing the number of credit hours you enroll in each semester, changing your major, enlisting the help of a tutor, and more. Be sure to meet with an academic advisor to ensure your plan is solid and have him/her sign off on it too. Letters from your professors can also help build your case and provide proof that you are serious about your studies.

Finally, conclude your letter by explaining how disappointed you are about not meeting the academic requirements and the reasons for not being able to attain the minimum grade point average. Reassure the financial aid appeal committee that you have a solid plan in place and will once again be a successful student. Be sure to thank them for their time and consideration, as well. Advisors understand that life can sometimes get in the way and even a good student may sometimes have too much on his/her plate. If you are honest about your situation and have a good plan in place to avoid making the same mistakes, chances are fairly good your financial aid appeal will be considered and your funding may be reinstated.

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