How to Write a Financial Aid Appeal Letter

If you’ve gotten into your dream school but they haven’t given you a generous financial aid package, you can write a financial aid appeal letter. I’m not sure how common financial aid appeal letters are, but every year, I draft them for about 20% of my clients or guide them through the process of appealing their financial aid package. One of my clients ended up receiving such a great financial aid package from Duke Sanford MPP program, that he was able to use his savings he had set aside for graduate school to buy a house! Other clients of mine have been able to get anywhere from $5000 more to five figures more in grants and scholarships after writing a financial aid appeal letter.

Read below for some tips for getting some more money out of your dream school.

When to write a financial aid appeal letter:

  • after you have received your notification of acceptance
  • after you have received all the details of your financial aid package
  • before you accept your place in the class; before you submit your attendance deposit

You will be in a stronger place to request more financial aid if you have received a more generous package from a school of similar or higher prestige. For example, if an Ivy League school gives you a $10,000 scholarship, you could leverage this offer with other Ivy League and lower ranked schools.

I do not advise you to try and appeal for financial aid from two different programs. For example, don’t try and get a policy program to give you more aid because you got a scholarship to law school. It’s okay if the two programs are the same discipline but result in slightly different degrees. Whether an MPP, MPA, MPA-ID, etc., these all count as policy degrees.

How to send your financial aid appeal letter:

  • The earlier you send the letter after receiving the offer of admission and your financial aid letter, the better.
  • I recommend sending the letter via email in the body of the email (not as an attachment).
  • Attach to the email the financial aid letter you received from your dream school as well as the more generous offers you received.

Sample Financial Aid Appeal Letter:

Subject: Financial Aid Appeal Letter from Kaneisha Grayson – Applicant #123456

March 9, 2017

Dear [insert specific name of financial aid officer whose information is on your offer letter],

I am Kaneisha Grayson, applicant #123456 to the MBA program at University of Virginia. I am very excited about having received admission to the program, and would very much like to join the incoming class.

UVA Darden is my first choice school, but funding is an important priority in choosing my final school. I received a full tuition scholarship from Cornell Johnson’s MBA program (My financial aid letters from Darden and Cornell are attached).

[Note: If you have received multiple offers that are more generous than your dream school, feel free to include those letters of financial aid as well to strengthen your request.]

Would it be possible for Darden to match the financial aid offer I have received from Cornell?

Please let me know if I can provide any further information.

Thank you for considering my request.


Kaneisha Grayson

What to do after you send your financial aid appeal letter:

If you don’t hear anything back within two weeks, I recommend following up via email and a call. I’ve never had a client get no response from a school regarding their financial aid package—even if the response is simply, “Sorry, we can’t increase your aid.”

Will a financial aid appeal letter work?

Financial aid appeal letters work best for very strong applicants who have received more generous offers from comparative programs. Even if you have not received a more generous offer from another program, it does not hurt to ask for more financial aid. Just make sure to keep the tone professional, be concise, and do not make any ultimatum type comments such as “If I do not receive more aid, I will not be able to attend,” as that could possibly be understood as turning down your place in the class.

Will asking for more financial aid hurt me?

Schools do not revoke offers of admission when you ask for more financial aid. I have heard of admission offers being revoked, but those incidences were related to applicant dishonesty or egregious job performance drop-offs. It is perfectly fine to ask for more financial aid; just keep it truthful and understand that the most likely answer is going to be, “We appreciate the position you are in, but we cannot offer you more aid.” However, there is a small chance you will receive more aid, and it is definitely worth asking for more financial aid. Every dollar helps.

Share your stories and questions below related to writing financial aid appeal letters. Has it worked for you?

14 Comments How to Write a Financial Aid Appeal Letter

    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Swill, thanks for reaching out! I don’t think you need anything fancy to ask your church for financial assistance. I imagine that if you’re a member of the church, you could simply request a meeting with one of the church leaders, tell him or her about your situation and ask for help. Churches around the world often provide assistance to their members who are struggling financially. They may not give you money, but they may give you food, help finding a job, or a place to stay temporarily. I hope you are able to get the help you are seeking.

  1. mpho sekhula

    I would like to write a letter requesting financial assistance from the department of higher education. I have completed my national diploma in extractive metallurgy and enrolled for B-Tech but could not get my results/graduate as I owe the university. Please help

    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Mpho, if you have a letter you’ve written that you’d like us to edit, we can definitely do that. We don’t write letters, essays, etc. for clients. Sorry 🙁

  2. Wendy Lua


    I’m part of the Papua New Guinea Administrative Professionals Network ( PNGAOPN) and currently we have two places to attend our conference which is at Jayapura and the one at Manilla but due to our financial constraints, our Department cannot fund our trip so i want to ask clients or other businesses to help us to fund our trip. since we 10 in a group, i will request on behalf of my team. Thank you

    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Wendy, you can certainly ask some businesses to sponsor your trip to the conference. It’s not the same as requesting additional financial aid from a college or university, but I suppose it is a similar idea. Best of luck!

  3. Melodie Stewart

    Hello Keneisha,
    It was nice to read all of you answershould, thanks for sharing your knowledge with us. My family and I are going through financial difficulties and two days ago I received a letter from our States Rep. Congratulating me on completing me degree this year. In her final statement she said if I am to ever need anything to not hesitate to ask.
    Is it possible to send you a letter and you can edit it?

  4. Pingback: All Financial Aid Letters Are Not Created Equal - CentSai

  5. Lindsey Battles

    Hi Kaneisha,

    How would you recommend writing a financial aid/tuition fellowship appeal letter if you only applied to one school and are an independent student?

  6. jose fernandez

    do you think that an appeal of financial aid after they denied a deferral could have more chances to be accepted?

  7. Nana kwame

    Please I am a final year student in knust and i want to write a financial assistance letter to my MP .. please how should the format be ?


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