If a student is trying to find out how to win a financial aid appeal, the biggest factor is usually the reason they’re appealing the decision. It is of great importance to have a solid justification and supporting evidence to demonstrate why the initial award was inappropriate or that the amount listed is clearly an error. Otherwise, their appeal will almost certainly be denied.
That’s why it’s a good idea to go over a list of good reasons for a financial aid appeal. Your student will be able to determine if their situation qualifies, allowing them to choose the best course of action.
Here’s a look at four good excuses for a financial aid appeal.
1) A MAJOR CHANGE IN YOUR FINANCIAL SITUATION
If your student’s household’s financial situation has changed significantly since their most recent FAFSA, they may be eligible for a financial aid appeal. Typically, this entails demonstrating a significant decrease in the household’s income. However, this can manifest in a variety of ways.
A job loss, for example, is the most obvious example, but it is far from the only qualifying event. Income levels can change as a result of a divorce. A sudden disability or death in the family has an impact as well.
Other family situations may also be considered. A child’s birth increases the number of dependents, which changes the FAFSA calculations.
The same is true for another family member who is attending college. Large medical bills for an unexpected incident, such as an injury or acute illness, may also indicate that your student has a greater need.
2) ANOTHER SCHOOL PROVIDED MUCH MORE
In some cases, students can leverage the financial aid offers made by other schools to increase their awards at their top-choice colleges. This usually only works if your student is a high performer who is in high demand. Furthermore, it may have a better chance of success with private universities rather than public ones.
3) A RECENT AWARD, A HIGHER TEST SCORE, OR OTHER INDICATION OF EXCELLENCE
Many colleges provide both need-based and merit-based financial aid. In the latter case, if something has happened that makes your student a better candidate for institutional merit-based scholarships, this could be grounds for appealing a financial aid decision.
A few situations may be eligible. Obtaining an academic, athletic, volunteer, leadership, or other type of award is one scenario that could result in additional financial aid. Obtaining a higher SAT or ACT score than what was listed on college applications, as well as a significant increase in your student’s GPA, could also help.
4) EVIDENCE OF A MISTAKE
While colleges are usually careful when calculating financial aid packages, mistakes can happen. If the amount or type of financial aid listed is clearly incorrect based on the information your student provided during the application process, you have every right to appeal the award.
Similarly, if it appears that your student made a mistake when filling out their FAFSA, any resulting financial aid miscalculation is also appealable.