Appealing- Can you really go back and ask a college to give you more money to go to their school? The short answer is YES. Now lets learn a bit more about appeals.

What Happens Before you Appeal?

Appealing is done at the end of the college admissions cycle – usually February through April timeframe for the following school year.  First you apply to colleges. Then you get acceptance letters from the schools that are offering you admission. Next you will get financial aid letters from  every school your child gets accepted to.  These come from the Office of Financial Aid. This letter is separate from your admissions letter!

Your financial aid award letter includes all the aid (or help) your child is offered from the school.  This includes need-based aid, merit aid (otherwise known as scholarships that are awarded for grades, achievements, or talents and not based on financial need), work-study programs, and loans. This letter shows you what the cost is for you to attend the school  AFTER  all of the aid is applied.

Once you get all your financial aid letters, and compare the numbers, you can decide to appeal.

What Can I Appeal?

You can appeal your need-based aid award amount or your merit based aid award amount.  If you are appealing your need-based aid, you’re asking for more grant money. If you are appealing your merit based aid, you’re asking for more scholarship money.

Why Would I Appeal?

There are many reasons to appeal a college financial aid offer.  One of the biggest reasons families appeal is because their financial situation has changed from the tax year they reported on when they filled out their financial aid forms.

Here are a few examples of common changes:

  • income has dropped
  • someone in the family has retired
  • someone in the family is now disabled
  • you had a one time financial event in the year that was reported on the financial aid form

Another reason for an appeal is that your child received more money (usually merit) from other schools that they are considering.

Appealing Tips

A few quick tips to consider about the appeals process

  • Appealing IS NOT negotiating- this isn’t like buying a car! This is a conversation with the college about why you would like them to consider offering you more aid and laying out your reasons behind that.
  • You do not have to send an appeal letter to every school where you are accepted. In fact, we would advise you only appeal to the school or schools you are seriously considering attending- especially if they give you more money. There is no reason to waste your time or a college’s time going through the appeals process if you have no intention of going to school there.
  • Appeal are not always successful! Just because you submit an appeal letter, doesn’t mean a school will offer you more money.
  • Generally speaking, appeals at private colleges have a better success rate than appeals at a public college
  • Don’t be shy! You aren’t going to offend the school or lose your admission offer if you ask for more money.  The worst scenario is the school says no.

If you have a good reason and a strong case for an appeal- go for it.  It will cost some time and energy but if you get more money as a result it’s totally worth it!

What Should I do Next?

We’ve got some great resources that may make the appeals process even more clear.

Check out this article that goes a bit more in depth on navigating the appeal letter.

If you need help writing an appeal letter, our College Aid Pro experts are here to help.  Create a MyCAP account here and choose our Valedictorian plan. You’ll get a full year access to our full software platform AND a one on one hour meeting with one of our advisors to walk you through your personal appeal case and help you craft an appeal letter if you are a good candidate.

You can also use the Compare & Appeal tab on your MyCAP dashboard to upload your financial aid awards and see if  your offer is a good appeal case.