COVIDpedia: Templates to Take Control of Your College Finances During Quarantine

We know, we know: times are uncertain and what’s most important is our safety. That’s how every email in the last 8 weeks has started, and while it’s all true, in these times of uncertainty, what’s a college student supposed to do? Between the changes in policy and stimulus packages, who owes whom?  How do you make sure you’re not missing out on refunds or forgiveness? What’s the best way to get your finances in order for the next school year?

Well, we hear you and we’re here to help. We know that communicating with your school’s financial aid and bursar’s office can be intimidating (we do it all the time), so we’ve put together the following templates to get you started. Take a look, copy and paste the content into an email, and replace anything bolded with your own info. It never hurts to ask, and it always helps to start the process as early as possible. 

Finally, let us know what else you need help with. Email [email protected], and we’ll do our best to address whatever you’re struggling with.

Financial Aid Appeal Letter

Dear Financial Aid Office [It’s always more effective to use a name – so, if you know a financial aid officer, address it to him or her; otherwise, look up the name of the Director of Financial Aid on your college website, and use that.]

My name is [insert your first and last name], my student ID number is [Enter student ID number], and I can be reached at [enter your email address or phone number]. I have experienced a significant change in circumstances due to COVID-19 and require your assistance with my financial aid. Thank you for taking the time to help me, as I am sure your office is very busy right now and you also are concerned about your own health and safety.

[Write 2-4 sentences explaining your circumstances, and how COVID-19 is making it more difficult to pay for college. For example, “Due to COVID-19, my father was laid-off and his income was reduced.  I also was just notified by Chick-Fil-A that they will likely not be able to give me as many shifts as usual this summer. I typically use my summer income of roughly $3500 from that job to help pay for school.”]

Can you advise me on how I can apply for an adjustment in my eligibility for additional financial aid due to these COVID-19 related circumstances? [Include more information if you can, such as “I would be happy to send emails or letters from my employer or my father’s employer to verify these issues.”

Thank you in advance for your help. I value my education and look forward to graduating from [insert your college name] and becoming a successful alumni who represents our school well.

Sincerely,

[Your name]

Financial Aid Package Request

Dear Financial Aid Office [It’s always more effective to use a name – so, if you know a financial aid officer, address it to him or her; otherwise, look up the name of the Director of Financial Aid on your college website, and use that.]

My name is [insert your first and last name], my student ID number is [Enter student ID number], and I can be reached at [enter your email address or phone number].

I am writing to ask when I can expect to receive my financial aid package for the coming school year. My family and I are trying to plan how we will manage all costs this year, and any information or additional guidance you can provide is deeply appreciated.

Thank you for taking the time to help me, as I am sure your office is very busy right now and you also are concerned about your own health and safety.

Warm regards,

[Your name]

Appeal for Refund of Fees

Dear Financial Aid Office,

Dear Financial Aid Office [It’s always more effective to use a name – so, if you know a financial aid officer, address it to him or her; otherwise, look up the name of the Director of Financial Aid on your college website, and use that.]

My name is [insert your first and last name], my student ID number is [Enter student ID number], and I can be reached at [enter your email address or phone number]

I have experienced significant financial hardship due to COVID-19 and am writing to appeal for a refund in housing and meal plan fees I paid for spring semester. Thank you for taking the time to help me, as I am sure your office is very busy right now and you also are concerned about your own health and safety.

[Write 2-4 sentences explaining your circumstances, and how COVID-19 is making it more difficult to pay for college. For example, “Due to COVID-19, my father was laid-off and his income was reduced.  I also was just notified by Chick-Fil-A that they will likely not be able to give me as many shifts as usual this summer. I typically use my summer income of roughly $3500 from that job to help pay for school.]

Can you advise me on how I can apply for an adjustment in fees and a refund due to these COVID-19 related circumstances? [Include more information if you can, such as “I would be happy to send emails or letters from my employer or my father’s employer to verify these issues.”

Thank you in advance for your help. I value my education and look forward to graduating from [insert your college name] and becoming a successful alumni who represents our school well. With the current economic hardship, a refund of spring fees will help me stay on track to achieve my dreams and goals.

Sincerely,

[Your name]

Request for Tuition Delay or Forgiveness

Dear Financial Aid Office [It’s always more effective to use a name – so, if you know a financial aid officer, address it to him or her; otherwise, look up the name of the Director of Financial Aid on your college website, and use that.]

My name is [insert your first and last name], my student ID number is [Enter student ID number], and I can be reached at [enter your email address or phone number]. I have experienced a significant change in circumstances due to COVID-19 and was forced to drop out of school prior to completing the full spring semester. I am writing to request an extension or forgiveness of payment due for spring semester. Thank you for taking the time to help me, as I am sure your office is very busy right now and you also are concerned about your own health and safety.

[Write 2-4 sentences explaining your circumstances, and how COVID-19 made it impossible for you to complete the spring semester. For example, “Due to COVID-19, I was mandated to leave campus. While at home, I had to help take care of my younger siblings while at home because my mother was deemed an ‘essential worker,’ and my siblings’ school was closed and they needed supervision. It was too difficult to focus on my studies while also being responsible for my siblings.”]

Can you advise me on how I can apply for fee forgiveness or delay of payment due to these COVID-19 related circumstances? [Include more information if you can, such as “I would be happy to send emails or letters from my mother and my mother’s employer to verify these issues.”]

Sincerely,

[Your name]

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