Should you appeal a college acceptance letter?

To Appeal or not to Appeal

Whether or not to appeal financial aid award offers is a question many students face this time of year.  Maybe the award offer was not as much as you anticipated, or perhaps your circumstances have changed since you filed your application.  There are several factors to take into consideration when deciding whether or not to appeal.

  1. Have your circumstances changed?  If there are extenuating circumstances (like family medical bills or a recent layoff) that the financial aid office should know about, it would be reasonable to file an appeal.  Be prepared to offer documentation.
  2. Expenses that were brought on by choice, like a vacation or a new car, are not going to sway the financial aid office in your favor, so don’t bother filing an appeal based on those kinds of financial circumstances.
  3. Don’t try to negotiate with the financial aid office.  They try to be as thorough as possible and it is fair to present new information such as a more generous offer from another school, but there are no guarantees.
  4. If you do choose to appeal, file it as soon as possible, before all of the available award dollars have been spent.
  5. Ask the financial aid office for advice.  It’s a good idea to call for an appointment to speak to someone in the office.  They may be able to recommend other avenues to pursue for help financing your college education.

If you do choose to create an appeal letter, address any new circumstances that have arrived, mark it with the correct department or person, and wrap up the letter along the lines of “Thank you for your consideration”.  While they may decline your request to appeal, few students take this route.  Your student has nothing to lose other than a simple “no”, so why not give it a shot?

Westface College Planning can help you navigate the college planning process from start to finish.  To learn how we can help you call us at (650) 587-1559 or sign up for one of our Tackling the Runaway Costs of College Workshops or Webinars.

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