Often, people feel if they speak up too loudly about the things they want or feel they deserve, they will be thought of as demanding, conceited, or a pain in the neck. But remember, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and closed mouths don’t get fed. While this may sound cliche, they both are accurate in this case. Mistakes happen and circumstances change that may effect your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). So be proactive and appeal if needed. When you do, keep three things in mind.
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1)Know The Rules – Go to your Office of Financial Aid at your school, or review their website for the Appeal Rules and conditions. Learn the process and be prepared to meet all the guidelines and criteria. You don’t want your appeal rejected due to a technicality.
2)Have Your Evidence Ready – Like a trial, what you say has less effect than what you can prove. If your parents income changed due to a lay-off, have any lay-off notice under the WARN ACT, or unemployment letter handy. Be prepared to show current income, such as a statement from the Unemployment Office or bank statements if need be to show income flow. The more you have to back up your case, the more likely your are to be successful.
3)Be Complete and Concise – The OFA at your school sees many appeals each year. So don’t use flowery language, or the story of your troubled childhood to sway their opinion; it just wont work. Your OFA is bound by federal, state, and organization rules regarding the use of Financial Aid funds. If they can, they will award you the funds you deserve. So when you write, the basic who, what, when, where, why, and how apply. Tell them what has happened to change your circumstances, tell them who had their circumstances changed, when it happened, and how it happened. Be specific and to the point.
In the end, it is all about being proactive. Don’t miss the opportunity to increase the aid you receive by not fighting for what you want.