Appealing Your Financial Aid Package

COVID-19 has set back the financial situations of many college students and created a tough learning environment for everyone. There’s been a lot of media attention highlighting that students can request more aid if their financial circumstances change.

So what’s the deal?
Yes, you can appeal your financial aid.

During this global crisis, many students already are facing significant economic hardships and challenges and need additional financial aid to stay in school. Let your college know how you’ve been affected by filing a “special circumstance appeal” to communicate a job loss or significant change in financial situation. You can also request support for dependent care, child care, or disability-related expenses.

How do I get started?
Each higher education institution manages the financial aid process of its student body. But SwiftStudent—a new resource developed by the Seldin/Haring-Smith Foundation in partnership with students, financial aid officers, college counselors, and other experts—can help you start your appeal.

What Is SwiftStudent?
Launched earlier this year, SwiftStudent provides financial aid appeal letter templates for college students. Through SwiftStudent, you can learn about the financial aid appeal process, review eligibility requirements for making an appeal, and customize a financial aid appeal template to start the conversation with your college financial aid office.

How Does It Work?
Using the SwiftStudent platform, you’ll be able to:

  1. Learn about your eligibility.
  2. Access templates to customize your appeal.
  3. Export your letter and send it to your financial aid office via email.
  4. Use the provided checklist and worksheet to keep track of conversations with your financial aid office and follow up on next steps.

At SwiftStudent, our goal is to offer information and support for students in challenging situations. Our tool includes guidance for students seeking assistance with a “dependency override” (when a parent is not involved in a student’s life due to circumstances such as abuse, incarceration, homelessness or housing insecurity, or abandonment), a satisfactory academic progress appeal (when a student’s grades have dropped too low to receive federal financial aid), emergency financial aid, and many more additional situations.

We cannot guarantee any outcome. Ultimately, each individual institution controls its financial aid appeals. But we help make the process a little bit easier to manage. And even if your appeal is not accepted, financial aid officers may be able to direct you to other resources once they better understand your situation.

Learn more!


Ellie Bruecker is a senior research associate with the Seldin/Haring-Smith Foundation, which created SwiftStudent.

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