Here is a sample letter that you can customize and send to your schools to request additional fellowship aid—even if they say decisions are final. Do not just copy and paste this letter. That’s plagiarism, and they could easily see that you got it from this website. Remember, now that they have made you an offer of admission and a fellowship offer, all they can do is say no to your request for additional fellowship aid. I recommend you send a humble yet direct letter similar to this even if you receive no fellowship aid and you know you need some in order to attend graduate school. In the case of no fellowship aid from other schools, you’ll just word it differently and have less leverage. I recommend that admitted applicants seeking additional aid send a financial aid appeal letter to the school that is your top choice, using more generous offers from schools that are not your top choice as leverage. Here we go!
Send the letter via email to whomever you received the financial aid package from.
Subject: Funding decision appeal letter from recently admitted candidate
Thank you for the generous offer of admission and the fellowship aid in amount of $x. [Insert school name you are writing to here] is my top choice for graduate school, and I would love to join the incoming class. However, before I am able to commit to joining the class, I wanted to let you know about the other offers I received and request that you consider increasing my fellowship aid.
My current financial aid package includes grant aid of $x and a stipend of $x.
I also received the following offers for fall entry:
Johns Hopkins SAIS: $x per semester + $x stipend
Columbia SIPA: $x per semester + $x stipend[List the rest of the schools in descending order of generosity of award or in descending order of prestige. You may just want to focus on the most prestigious schools or the ones that gave you the most money]
I request that [insert school name] match the offer made by [insert name of most generous school that is in the same general league of prestige] to grant aid of $x and a stipend of $x.
Once again, I would like to emphasize how grateful I am to be offered a place in the incoming class. As I am committed to a career in public service after graduation, my financial aid package is a crucial factor in my decision making process.
I have attached scanned PDF copies of my award letters from the aforementioned schools. [Make sure you actually attach the award letters.]
Please let me know if I can provide any additional information to aid you in making your decision.
Thank you for your consideration.
Olive H. Kayess
Remember that the most likely answer from the financial aid office will be something like, “Congratulations on receiving so many offers. Unfortunately, decisions are final and we are unable to increase your financial aid award. We understand if that means you may not be joining us in the fall. We wish you the best of luck in making your decision for where to attend graduate school in the fall.”
However, there is a chance that they could increase your financial aid package to match one of the competitor schools. Even if schools deny doing this, I have seen it happen with my clients. Always remember to stay polite, be honest, and use clear, direct language that is not groveling nor demanding. Be brave and go forward!
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