How to Appeal a Financial Aid Award
When wondering how to appeal a financial aid award, the first thing to know is where to appeal. You would not appeal to the federal or state government. It is out of their hands. Now, it is in the hands of each individual college. So you must appeal to each college separately.
Call the college's financial aid office and ask to speak with the financial aid officer (FAO) who is handling your award. If the FAO is not there, or cannot speak, ask an assistant to set up a meeting and explain that you would like to discuss the award. If possible, try to do the meeting in person. Ask for the FAO's email or fax number and email or fax all your supporting documents ahead of time. That way the FAO can review all the documents and then speak with you.
Always be courteous to whomever you speak with. Why? Politeness is best in this situation. If you call and you're angry, belligerent and screaming at someone in the financial aid office or the FAO, this will lessen your chances to zero for receiving any extra money.
A day or so before the in-person or phone meeting, send all the documents that support why you are appealing this award. Documents include:
- W-2 forms
- An updated letter from the parent's boss stating s/he was laid off
- Any official documents that prove a financial drop in income
- Competitive offer or offers from equally competitive or better schools
In the meeting, explain the situation politely. Be certain to understand all the terms and lingo so the FAO sees you understand the process. Ask any questions you may have. Also, remember to not waste the FAO's valuable time. In other words, get to the point. Once the meeting is finished, thank the FAO and ask when you will hear the decision of the appeal. Ask if you can email her/him by a certain time if you do not hear from her/him. Take the FAO's phone number and email.
Learning how to appeal a financial aid award for college is a proactive way to ensure you will pay the correct amount. Follow the aforementioned tips to help you present the best appeal possible.