If your child is currently receiving acceptances and award letters, you may want to consider filing an appeal if you feel that your child has been under-awarded by a college or if your financial circumstances have changed in the months since filing the FAFSA.

Will you receive more money if you appeal? That depends on a myriad of factors, including the school’s enrollment numbers, your child’s qualifications, and your family’s finances. But it doesn’t hurt to try.

The first step you should take is to write and send an appeal letter. The content of the letter will depend on your reasons for appealing your child’s award.

Let’s say your financial situation has changed in the last few months, perhaps due to medical expenses, the loss of employment, or unexpected home repairs. Your appeal letter should include not only the details of your financial status, but also documentation that verifies this status.

Perhaps you feel that your child has been under-awarded, with an offer that is below average. Your appeal letter should show that your child’s academic performance and test scores are at-or-above average for the school, and thus, the offer should increase.

According to best-selling author Lynn O’Shaughnessy, you may not even need a reason to appeal: “Whether a college will provide more need-based aid or sweeten a merit scholarship depends on how much the institution wants you . . . [or] how a university’s freshman deposits are faring.”

So, for example, if you are appealing to your child’s first-choice school, let them know that the school is a priority in the letter. Then, ask about any available scholarship opportunities that may have been missed.

You can’t know if a college will offer your child more money if you don’t ask. A thoughtful, detailed, and compelling appeal letter may be your key to thousands more in free money for college.

Some schools may also have a form you can fill out to explain extenuating circumstances.

Contact the school’s financial aid office to find out.

If you have questions about applying to or paying for college, sign up for my upcoming webinar at www.collegeprepwebinar.com and then call me at (626) 657-7887.

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