Scholarship News

It’s Not Too Late: Guide to Appealing Financial Aid


July 28, 2020 1:20 PM
by Izzy Hall
Have your financial circumstances changed due to COVID-19? You’re not alone. Many students and their families have faced unemployment, reduced job hours and general loss of economic stability in the wake of the pandemic. And as the FAFSA determines your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) based on income from the previous year, students may have greater financial need now than they did when they initially filed for federal aid. Unfortunately, the deadline to submit the FAFSA passed at the end of June. However, it is not too late to appeal your student financial aid from your chosen institution.

Have your financial circumstances changed due to COVID-19? You’re not alone. Many students and their families have faced unemployment, reduced job hours and general loss of economic stability in the wake of the pandemic. And as the FAFSA determines your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) based on income from the previous year, students may have greater financial need now than they did when they initially filed for federal aid. Unfortunately, the deadline to submit the FAFSA passed at the end of June. However, it is not too late to appeal your student financial aid from your chosen institution.

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The process to appeal student financial aid will be different at every school, but in general, the first step is contacting your college’s financial aid office. They’ll be able to give you the documents you need to complete your appeal to direct you to a financial aid portal. Schools may also require you to write a letter detailing why you are appealing your financial aid. This can be a simple bulleted list of the circumstances that have impacted your ability to pay for college.

Along with filling forms, you’ll likely need to provide documented proof of your changed financial situation. Emergency bills, pink slips, pay stubs with reduced income or unemployment benefits can be used to verify your appeal. If your intended college(s) lets you electronically submit your appeal, you can scan in these documents or take a photo. If they require an appeal by mail, you’ll have to include the original copies. It’s recommended that you send in your documents as certified mail, meaning you will get a receipt with proof that the post was mailed. Be sure to call your financial aid office to confirm that they received your documents.

If circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic mean you can no longer pay for college, appealing for more financial aid ASAP can help. College and university financial aid offices across the country are anticipating a significant increase in students who will appeal their college financial aid packages. They now have more freedom in meeting student’s financial needs, as the Department of Education issued a statement allowing schools to give more aid in these novel circumstances. On top of that, the CARES Act for Higher Education has increased many schools’ financial aid budgets. If you submitted a financial aid appeal in previous years without success, you may have more luck getting the full college financial aid you need this year.

School financial aid packages are just one way to pay for college. Scholarships.com connects students with personalized scholarship opportunities that offer free money for college costs. Try a free scholarship search today and discover your full range of financial aid options at the click of a button!

Get instantly matched to scholarships that meet your skillset, strengths and unique talents. Our search algorithms match you to scholarships that fit your profile. Access a complete list of college scholarships now by conducting a free college scholarship search at Scholarships.com.

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FAFSA is an acronym. It stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Please take note that the first word in the acronym is Free. You do not need to pay to fill out the FAFSA but there are certainly websites out there that will charge you for their assistance. If you are asked for a credit card at any point in the process, you are at one of these sites. If you do not want to pay to complete the FAFSA, be sure to apply at https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa. The FAFSA must be completed by you and your family each year if you wish to be considered for need-based grants from the college or university you are or will be attending as well as subsidized student loans.

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