Good Excuses For Financial Aid Appeal In 2023

The tuition and associated expenses can often feel like an insurmountable hurdle for many students. Thankfully, financial aid programs exist to provide a helping hand, ensuring that deserving individuals have access to the education they deserve. However, what happens when the initial financial aid package fails to meet your needs? This is where the art of crafting a compelling financial aid appeal comes into play.

In this blog post, we will list good excuses for a financial aid appeal, exploring creative and persuasive strategies to help you secure the additional support you require. Whether you’re facing unforeseen circumstances, personal hardships, or a change in your financial situation, we’ve covered you with adequate excuses that can make a real difference. Carefully read through.

What Is A Financial Aid Appeal? defines a financial aid appeal as the process by which a student and their family work with the school to receive a more favorable aid package. It is not a simple procedure; students should be sure they have a justified reason for asking for more aid.

It is a process available to college applicants to request additional funds or a better financial aid package than the one offered.

Most, if not all, colleges will have procedures in place to help you file an appeal. To appeal for financial aid, visit the college’s financial aid website or contact the college’s Office of Financial Aid.

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What Are The Reasons For Financial Aid Appeal?

A good reason to appeal is if you’ve had significant changes to your family’s income or incurred unusual medical expenses. However, these are not the only reasons.

Financial aid administrators can use “professional discretion” or “professional judgment” when considering unique and unusual circumstances. So long as the college has the money, they can pay you additional money if you present them with the justification and the evidence.

Remember, it’s not enough to say you are unhappy with the award – well, most people aren’t – and expect an instant increase in your award. You must show them the proof before they can show you the money.

How To Write A Financial Aid Appeal

Writing a financial aid appeal letter can be crucial in obtaining additional financial support for your education. The appeal letter allows you to explain any extenuating circumstances or changes in your financial situation that may have affected your ability to pay for college. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to write a compelling financial aid appeal:

1. Understand the process

Before writing a financial aid appeal, you need to familiarize yourself with your institution’s financial aid appeal process. Review the guidelines, deadlines, and requirements for submitting an appeal. It’s important to follow the specific instructions your college or university provides.

2. Gather relevant information

Collect all the necessary documents and information to support your appeal. This may include financial statements, tax returns, medical bills, layoff notices, or any other evidence demonstrating a significant change in your financial circumstances.

If you are appealing due to a recent change in your household’s financial status, it’s wise to update your FAFSA before contacting the school. That way, the college will have accurate information when reassessing the award.

SEE ALSO: Student Financial Aid in the United States | 2023

3. Follow a formal letter format

Compose your appeal letter using a professional and business-like format. Include your name, address, and contact information at the top, followed by the date and the financial aid office’s address.

Start the letter by addressing it to the appropriate person, such as the financial aid director or a specific contact mentioned in the appeal instructions. Begin with a courteous and respectful tone, briefly stating the purpose of your letter and your intent to appeal your financial aid decision.

4. Explain the reason for your appeal

In the following paragraph(s), explain the circumstances that have impacted your ability to afford college. Be honest, specific, and concise. Some common reasons for appeal include loss of employment, unexpected medical expenses, family emergencies, or other financial hardships. Make sure to include any relevant dates and supporting documentation.

Additionally, clearly articulate the amount of financial aid you’re requesting and how it will help alleviate your financial burden. Ensure that your request is reasonable and based on your genuine need.

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5. Express gratitude

Conclude your letter by expressing appreciation for the financial aid you have received and for the time and consideration the financial aid office will give to your appeal. Maintain a polite and positive tone throughout the letter.

6. Proofread and submit

Review your letter for any grammatical or typographical errors. Ensure that it is well-structured and organized. Once you are satisfied with the content, print the letter, sign it, and send it via certified mail or email, as per the instructions provided by your institution.

READ ALSO: How To Write A Financial Appeal Letter

Good Excuses For Financial Aid Appeal

The financial situation is the key factor influencing students’ eligibility for financial aid. If your economic situation changed, a school could change its mind.

Here are some good excuses for financial aid appeal:

  • Loss of income due to layoff or contract cessation.
  • Correction to income/assets on FAFSA, CSS Profile, or other financial aid application.
  • Unexpected life event – the death of a parent or immediate family member.
  • The student becomes distanced from their parents.
  • The student/family experiences a natural disaster.
  • Unusually high medical bills due to illness or hospitalization of a family member.
  • A better financial aid award from another college.

How Do I Submit A Financial Aid Appeal?

Most colleges have a process for appealing a financial aid award. To ensure you submit the right documents, check the requirements with the college’s website or Financial Aid officer.

For instance, Cornell University requires specific paperwork to be submitted with your financial assistance appeal. Some other colleges may need a letter and some supporting papers. Even if a college needs to fill out papers, submitting a letter with a compelling and sincere request, if allowed, might work.

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Sample Letter Of A Financial Aid Appeal Letter

August 17, 2023

Ms. Sandra Hopkins
Office of Financial Aid
University College
City, State  Zip

Dear Ms. Hopkins,

I am Ben Brown, an incoming freshman, and I’m looking forward to attending University College this fall. Thank you for the detailed financial aid package. After my application was accepted, my family, unfortunately, experienced an extreme setback in our financial situation.

A day after receiving my award information, my father lost his job. After 30 years at The Widget Factory, he was unexpectedly let go. He was our family’s main source of income. My mother remains employed but works part-time at a minimum-wage retail job. Consequently, we cannot provide the additional funds I’ll need for outstanding tuition, books, and expenses.

It is my sincere wish to attend college this fall, and that is in jeopardy now. I’m requesting a review of my award with consideration of these new, extenuating circumstances. Your help is greatly appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to review my appeal.

Attached, please find confirmation of my father’s termination and the required financial aid appeal form from your office. If there is anything else I can provide or any questions I can answer for you; please do not hesitate to call or e-mail me. I will respond promptly.


Ben Brown
1520 My Street
City, State  Zip

What Should I Do If My Financial Aid Appeal Is Rejected?

It can be disheartening if your financial aid appeal is rejected, but you can still take a few steps.

Firstly, carefully read the letter you received from the financial aid office. Look for specific reasons or explanations provided for the denial. Understanding the rationale behind the decision can help you determine your next course of action.

After taking the first step, the next thing to do is to identify the reasons for rejecting your appeal. Consider whether you provided sufficient evidence or if there were any missing documents or information. Evaluate if there are any valid grounds for reconsideration or if there are additional factors you could address.

Contact the financial aid office to discuss the denial and seek further clarification. Request a meeting or speak to a financial aid counselor to explain your situation and inquire about any possible options for reconsideration. They may provide guidance on what steps you can take next. If some documents are lacking, they will guide you on what to do.

While waiting for the outcome of your appeal, investigate other potential sources of financial assistance. Research scholarships, grants, work-study programs, or low-interest student loans that may be available to you. Contact the financial aid office to inquire about any institutional or departmental scholarships you may qualify for.

FAQs On Financial Aid Appeal

Can I appeal my financial aid decision?

Yes, most colleges and universities allow students to appeal their financial aid decisions if they have experienced a change in circumstances or can provide additional information not initially considered.

What should I include in my financial aid appeal letter?

Your financial aid appeal letter should include a clear and concise explanation of the circumstances leading to your appeal, any supporting documentation or evidence, your request for reconsideration, and a polite and professional tone throughout the letter.

When should I submit my financial aid appeal?

It’s important to adhere to the deadlines set by your institution. Submit your appeal as soon as possible to ensure it is reviewed promptly. Waiting until the last minute may limit your chances of a successful appeal.

What are the possible outcomes of a financial aid appeal?

The possible outcomes of a financial aid appeal include approval, denial, or a partial adjustment to your financial aid package. It’s important to be prepared for any outcome and consider alternatives if your appeal is unsuccessful.

Can I submit multiple financial aid appeals?

Some institutions may allow multiple appeals if you have new information or circumstances to present. However, it’s important to follow your institution’s specific guidelines and procedures.


Appealing for financial aid can be an intimidating task. Still, armed with the right knowledge and a well-crafted excuse, you can significantly increase your chances of obtaining the assistance you need. Remember, a successful appeal is not solely dependent on the excuse itself; it also hinges on how effectively you communicate your circumstances and demonstrates your commitment to your education.


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