How to write a financial need statement for your scholarship application (with examples!)

So you’re applying for a scholarship that asks you about your financial need. What do you say? How honest or specific should you be? What is TMI? In this article, we break down how to pen an awesome financial need scholarship essay or statement.

What to include in a financial need scholarship essay

Template to structure your financial need scholarship essay, introduction: your basic profile, body: your financial situation and hardships, conclusion: how you would benefit from this scholarship, was this financial need essay for a college financial aid application , now, reuse that same essay to apply for more scholarships, additional resources to help you write your financial need scholarship essay.

Writing a financial need scholarship essay

Many scholarships and college financial aid awards are “need-based,” given to students whose financial situation requires additional support. That’s why one of the most common college scholarship essays is a statement of financial need. This might be very explicit (“Explain your financial need”), somewhat explicit (“Describe your financial situation”), or quite open-ended (“Explain why you need this scholarship”).

In all cases, scholarship providers want to get a sense of your family’s financial picture: what your family income is, if you personally contribute to it (do you have a job?), and how much additional money you need to attend your target college (your “financial gap”).

If the essay prompt is a bit more open-ended (“Explain how this scholarship would help you”), your essay should probably be a combination of a financial need statement and a career goals / academic goals essay.  That’s because you want to show how the award will help you financially and in your academic or career goals.

Usually this statement of financial need is a pretty short scholarship essay (150-300 words), so unlike a college essay or personal statement where you have ample word count to tell anecdotes, you’ll likely need to get right to the point. 

Be sure to include: 

  • If you are an underrepresented group at college, for instance, part of an ethnic minority or the first in your family to go to college
  • Any relevant family circumstances, like if your parents are immigrants or refugees, as well as your parents’ occupation and how many children/family members they support financially
  • How you are currently paying for college, including what you personally are doing to contribute financially (like working student jobs)
  • What financial challenges/difficulties your family is facing, for instance, if a parent recently lost their job
  • How you would benefit from the scholarship–including your academic and career goals (if word count allows)

Also remember to write in an optimistic tone. Writing about your financial situation or hardships might not be the most positive thing to share. But you can turn it around with an optimistic tone by writing about how these challenges have taught you resiliency and grit.

Student writing a financial need scholarship essay

Give a short introduction to who you are, highlighting any family characteristics that might make you part of an underrepresented group at college. 

“I am a first-generation American and the first in my family to go to college. My family moved from El Salvador to New York when I was seven years old, to escape the violence there.”

Example 2: 

“I am from a working-class family in Minnesota. My family never had a lot, but we pooled our efforts together to make ends meet. My parents both worked full-time (my father as a mechanic, my mother as a receptionist at the local gym), while my siblings and I all worked weekend jobs to contribute to the family income.”

Dive into the details. How are you currently planning to pay for college? The idea here is to show that you and your family have made a good-faith effort to earn enough money to pay your tuition, but that it has simply not been enough. 

Make sure you describe your parents’ occupation, any savings (like a 529 College Savings Account), and any student jobs. You might also discuss any sudden changes in fortune (e.g. parent fell ill or lost their job) that have ruined your original financial plans. 

Example 

As immigrants with limited English, my parents have had to accept low-paying jobs. My father is an Uber driver, and my mother is a housekeeper. They earn just enough to pay our rent and put food on the table, so I’ve always known they could not help me pay for college.  So I’ve been proactive about earning and saving my own money. Since age 11, I’ve worked odd jobs (like mowing my neighbors’ lawns). At age 16, I started working at the mall after school and on weekends. Through all these jobs, I’ve saved about $3000. But even with my financial aid grants, I need to pay $8000 more per year to go to college. 

Bring it home by wrapping up your story.  Explain how you plan to use the financial aid if you’re awarded this scholarship. How will you benefit from this award? What will you put the money toward, and how will it help you achieve your academic and/or career goals?

Scholarship review boards want to know that their money will be put to good use, supporting a student who has clear plans for the future, and the motivation and determination to make those plans a reality. This is like a shortened, one-paragraph version of the “Why do you deserve this scholarship?” essay . 

Winning $5000 would help me close the financial gap and take less in student loans. This is particularly important for me because I plan to study social work and eventually work in a role to support my community. However, since these jobs are not well paid, repaying significant student loans would be difficult. Your scholarship would allow me to continue down this path, to eventually support my community, without incurring debt I can’t afford.
My plan is to study human biology at UC San Diego, where I have been admitted, and eventually pursue a career as a Nurse-Practitioner. I know that being pre-med will be a real academic challenge, and this scholarship would help me focus on those tough classes, rather than worrying about how to pay for them. The $2000 award would be equivalent to about 150 hours of working at a student job. That’s 150 hours I can instead focus on studying, graduating, and achieving my goals. 

Sometimes this financial need statement isn’t for an external scholarship. Instead, it’s for your college financial aid office.

In that case, you’re usually writing this statement for one of two reasons:

  • You’re writing an appeal letter , to request additional financial aid, after your original financial aid offer wasn’t enough. In this case, you’ll want to make sure you’re being extra specific about your finances.
  • You’re applying for a specific endowed scholarship that considers financial need. In this case, your financial need essay can be quite similar to what we’ve outlined above.

Now that you’ve written a killer financial need scholarship essay, you have one of the most common scholarship essays ready on hand, to submit to other scholarships too.

You can sign up for a free Going Merry account today to get a personalized list of hundreds of scholarships matched to your profile. You can even save essays (like this one!) to reuse in more than one application.  

Writing a financial need scholarship essay

You might also be interested in these other blog posts related to essay writing:

  • What’s the right scholarship essay format and structure?
  • How to write a winning scholarship essay about your academic goals
  • How to write an awesome essay about your career goals
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  • Scholarships for Students in Pennsylvania for 2021 - November 11, 2020
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  • How to write a financial need statement for your scholarship application (with examples!) - August 13, 2020

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Financial Need Scholarship Essay Examples (2023)

Jennifer Finetti Oct 2, 2022

Financial Need Scholarship Essay Examples (2023)

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Many scholarships are awarded based on financial need. In order to win these scholarships, you must explain the nature of your financial need. In the guide below, we’ll explain how to write these types of essays to increase your chances of winning. Check out these scholarship essay examples for financial need scholarships.

How to write financial need scholarship essays

Here are some tips for writing financial need scholarship essays:

  • Maintain a positive tone throughout the essay . You do not want to come across as self-pitying. Focus on ways you learned and grew from past experiences – how they made you stronger.
  • Do not diminish other people’s suffering. This is a competition, but that doesn’t mean you should belittle your competitors. In fact, it would be better to say “I know there are many worthy candidates for this scholarship, but…” than to say “I have suffered far more than…” Show respect in everything you write.
  • Frame your essay around a specific event. You may add other details if you have space to, but use one experience as the thesis for your essay.
  • Avoid controversial statements and opinions. When discussing events from your past, do not belittle someone else or talk negatively about a group of people. You never know who will be reading your essay.
  • Tell your story with honesty. Do not fabricate any details to make yourself sound needy. Your past and present circumstances will speak for themselves.
  • Don’t try to sound philosophical. Some students will do this because they think it makes them seem smarter, but it rarely has that effect. Focus on proofreading and writing solid content. That is enough intelligence on its own.
  • Discuss your career goals, if possible. You may not have room for this if the essay is short. If you do have room though, discussing your career goals will indicate a plan for the future. Review boards reward determination.

You know why you need financial aid. Tap into the key elements of your circumstances and use them to craft the perfect essay.

Many scholarships are awarded based on financial need. In order to win these scholarships, you must explain the nature of your financial need. In the guide below, we’ve provided examples of scholarship essays for financial need scholarships, along with some tips to help you write your own essay.

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Example 1: “Provide a statement of financial need”

Some scholarships will simply ask for a statement of financial need. There are no parameters to follow. You’re left to write whatever you want. Typically, a statement of financial need is two or three small paragraphs. This will come out to roughly 150-200 words, but it could be slightly longer. Think of this as a cover letter for your scholarship application, highlighting the key elements of your financial need. Don’t build up to the thesis. Get directly to the point.

I am the first person in my family to graduate high school, and thus the first to attend college. Both of my parents dropped out of school when they were teenagers. Because of their limited education, they have always worked in entry-level positions, earning barely enough to put food on the table. My first job I got was at the age of 12 delivering papers, and I have worked hard ever since to relieve pressure from my family. I enrolled in Mississippi’s HELP program during my senior year, which covers tuition and fees at select colleges in the state. I also have a Federal Pell Grant to cover my housing. However, I still need funding for books, supplies, and transportation to campus as needed. I am an engineering student, and our classes come with high fees. My parents cannot contribute to my college expenses, and I cannot work much while I’m in school. This scholarship would help me avoid costly student loans that could take years to repay.  

Example 2: “Describe your financial need in 100 words”

This essay is even shorter than the financial need statement. It may be one of several short answer questions you need to fill out. Working with 100 words is tricky. That only leaves room for about 7-10 sentences, depending on length. Make compelling statements using the fewest words possible.

Also note that grammar errors and misspellings will be much more noticeable in this short essay. Carefully proofread your writing before submitting the scholarship application.

I got pregnant and dropped out of high school when I was 15. By the age of 20, I had two more children, and we all shared a one-bedroom apartment. I worked three jobs to pay the bills, but I never earned much. When my oldest started high school, I did the same. I got my GED at 29 and enrolled in nursing school. My financial status has improved now with a GED, but I’m still a single mom with three kids. I want to become a registered nurse to give my children a stable future. I appreciate your consideration.

Word Count: 100

Example 3: “Explain your financial need in 500 or more words”

This scholarship essay prompt is the opposite of the one above. You have much more room to discuss your circumstances. Talk about your family life, your income, and other restraints that contribute to your financial aid . Try not to throw too much in the essay though. You want the information to flow together seamlessly. Edit carefully, and give the readers a full view of your situation.

My name is Brandon Noviello. I am a sophomore on track to earn my Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. I need financial aid because I do not have a family to contribute to my education. I was in foster care for two years before I aged out of the system, and now I am pursuing a degree completely on my own. I was raised by a wonderful woman who didn’t always have a wonderful life. My mother got pregnant after a sexual assault, but she was determined to raise a smart, successful man. She went through an accelerated program to graduate high school before I was born. She devoted the rest of her life to supporting me, both financially and emotionally. My mother’s family cut ties with her the moment she became pregnant. Life wasn’t easy for us, but I never wanted for anything. She always found a way to keep me fed, dressed, and in school. Unfortunately, she lost a long-term battle with depression when I was 16, and I was put into the foster system until I reached adulthood. I did not have a positive experience with foster care, but I admit, I had no desire to. My mother’s passing weighed heavily on my mind, and I felt an overwhelming sense of anger, regret, and frustration. There was one gleam of hope in my experience though. I had a great social worker. I fought her decisions every step of the way, and she still managed to find a family to get me through high school. My social worker was the only person I invited to my graduation ceremony.  She helped me realize how much one person’s efforts can make a difference in the lives of others. I was only one of countless children she had helped over the years. I researched how to become a social worker so I could help other children like me. My plan is to work with the Department of Human Services in the foster care and adoption division after I graduate. In order to make my dreams a reality, I need financial aid. I am working as a server to pay for food, utilities, and basic necessities, but I do not earn enough to pay for college as well. I go to school during the day and work at night. Furthermore, I have a maximum Pell Grant to cover most of my tuition, but I still need help with other expenses. I did not do well in high school as a result of my mom’s passing, but I have done well in college. I have a 3.25 cumulative GPA, and I have never made less than an A in a degree-related course. As such, I am committed to being successful despite my circumstances, and I want to help young people find that motivation within themselves. I look forward to working with children and teens in the foster system, so I can be the hope that someone else was for me.

Word Count: 498

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Jennifer Finetti

Jennifer Finetti

As a parent who recently helped her own kids embark on their college journeys, Jennifer approaches the transition from high school to college from a unique perspective. She truly enjoys engaging with students – helping them to build the confidence, knowledge, and insight needed to pursue their educational and career goals, while also empowering them with the strategies and skills needed to access scholarships and financial aid that can help limit college costs. She understands the importance of ensuring access to the edtech tools and resources that can make this process easier and more equitable - this drive to support underserved populations is what drew her to ScholarshipOwl. Jennifer has coached students from around the world, as well as in-person with local students in her own community. Her areas of focus include career exploration, major selection, college search and selection, college application assistance, financial aid and scholarship consultation, essay review and feedback, and more. She works with students who are at the top of their class, as well as those who are struggling. She firmly believes that all students, regardless of their circumstances, can succeed if they stay focused and work hard in school. Jennifer earned her MA in Counseling Psychology from National University, and her BA in Psychology from University of California, Santa Cruz.

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The Ultimate Guide to Filling Out the FAFSA

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College is, to put it mildly, an expensive endeavor. For most college applicants, applying for financial aid of one kind or another is an important part of the college application process. If you’re a U.S. citizen or fall into a specific category of eligible non-U.S. citizens , filling out the FAFSA is a necessary part of applying for need-based financial aid.

Completing the FAFSA can be an intimidating process, especially if you’ve never done so before. You’ll be asked a large number of questions about your financial situation so that your aid eligibility can be determined, and it’s important to answer with correct and up-to-date facts and figures.

Are you preparing to apply for college ? Do yourself a favor and learn about the FAFSA before you have a tight deadline to meet. Read on for an explanation of the FAFSA process, what information you’ll need to provide, and what else you’ll need to do after the FAFSA is complete.

A Brief Introduction to the FAFSA

The FAFSA, or “Free Application for Federal Student Aid,” is a form that collects information about a student’s family’s financial situation. While the FAFSA is available on paper, it’s recommended that you fill out the FAFSA online using the official FAFSA website .

Most students entering college are considered to be financially dependent upon their parents. Therefore, your FAFSA will include not only your own financial information, but that of your whole family. (For details about whether you qualify as dependent for FAFSA purposes, check out our blog post What Does It Mean To Be Independent On The FAFSA ?)

Generally, you’ll be required to fill out the FAFSA if you are a student from the United States (a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen) who is applying for financial aid from one or more colleges in the United States. Your colleges may require additional information as well, so while the FAFSA is essential to the financial aid application process, in most cases, it’s only the beginning.

The FAFSA is a form that is intended primarily for the student. In this post, we’ll assume that you, the student, are the one filling out the FAFSA, using information that has been provided by your parents. Once you’ve filled out the form, one or both of your parents (depending on your circumstances) will need to sign it as well.

You may be wondering why the FAFSA asks you for so much information. The answer is that the FAFSA determines your eligibility for need-based financial aid by determining how much money your family can afford to contribute to your college education, based on the data you provide.

If your family demonstrably has the financial means to cover the entire expected cost of your college education, you will not be eligible for need-based financial aid. You may still be able to apply for merit-based scholarships to assist with your college costs, but these generally will not involve the FAFSA.

Before Filling Out the FAFSA

Getting your fsa id.

If you plan to complete the FAFSA online, you’ll first need to create a unique identifying username and password that are collectively known as your FSA ID. You’ll enter your FSA ID in order to log into your FAFSA account and fill out the FAFSA. Once you’re finished with the FAFSA, you’ll enter your FSA ID again as your legally binding signature, certifying that the information that you’ve provided is accurate.

If you have older siblings or other previous experiences with the FAFSA process, you may be aware that in the past, the FAFSA used the Federal Student Aid PIN system for login and signature purposes. In 2015, the PIN system was replaced with the FSA ID system, which is used across a number of U.S. Department of Education websites.

As we mentioned, your FSA ID is specific to you. Your parents will need to create FSA IDs as well in order to sign your FAFSA online. Since the FSA ID is legally equivalent to your signature, it’s very important that you not share your personal FSA ID with anyone, not even your parents.

You can create your FSA ID online at the Federal Student Aid website . Your parents will need to create theirs as well, unless they already have FSA IDs from completing the FAFSA for themselves or your siblings in the past. Anyone who was previously assigned a Federal Student Aid PIN can link their new FSA ID to that PIN and begin using it immediately.

Once you complete the FSA ID creation process online, your identifying information will be verified by the Social Security Administration in a process that usually takes one to three days. You’ll be notified once your information is confirmed and your FSA ID is ready to use.

Collect You & Your Parents’ Financial Information

The next step in the FAFSA process is collecting your own and your parents’ financial information so that you can answer the questions that will appear on the FAFSA. This task may take some time, depending on the complexity of your family’s finances. You should definitely get started early and budget in some extra time to deal with unexpected roadblocks.

Under new regulations enacted in 2016, the FAFSA will ask you to provide income and tax information from what they call the “prior prior year.” For the 2017-2018 FAFSA, this will mean referring to your income and taxes from the year 2015. Using the prior prior year’s information usually eliminates the need to use estimates when filling your FAFSA.

First, gather your own financial records. The specific documents you’ll need to find will depend upon whether you’ve had a paying job, among other factors, but may include tax documents, W-2 forms, and records of your current savings or investments. Even if your income is below the taxable level, you should still have some kind of documentation of that income.

Next, gather your parents’ financial records. Again, the specific documents involved will vary by family, but you’ll need to tell the FAFSA how much money your parents make in income as well as the current value of their assets. Since you’ll be using data from the prior prior year, you should be able to obtain exact figures, and you shouldn’t need to rely on estimates.

Filling Out the FAFSA

As we’ve mentioned, you have the option to fill out the FAFSA on paper. The paper FAFSA for the 2017-2018 school year is available on the FAFSA website , or you can call 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) to request a paper form. However, online submission is the recommended method, so that’s what we’ll cover in our instructions here.

Step 1: Log In

When you’re ready to get started filling out your FAFSA, log into your FAFSA account at http://fafsa.ed.gov using your FSA ID. For your security, only complete the FAFSA through this official website. (Remember, the FAFSA is a free application, so any website that asks you to pay to submit the FAFSA is a scam.)

Step 2: Create a Save Key

Early on in the process of working on your FAFSA, you’ll be asked to create a “Save Key,” a temporary password that will allow you to return to the FAFSA and complete it in multiple sittings. It can also be used to give your parents access to the FAFSA so that they can help you fill it out.

Step 3: Enter in Your Identifying Information

You’ll first be asked to provide some identifying information about yourself. (Again, “yourself” refers to the student.) This will include your full name, date of birth, and contact information, as well as your Alien Registration Number or driver’s license number, if you have these.

Another item you’ll be asked for is your Social Security number, and it’s important that you provide it. This number is used both to confirm your identity and to help colleges keep the various components of your financial aid application together and accounted for.

You’ll then answer various questions about yourself, such as your citizenship status , marital status, and where you went to high school. Answer these questions in the way that’s most accurate as of the time you started filling out this year’s FAFSA, unless another time period is specified.

Step 4: Provide Your Financial Information

Once you’ve filled in your personal information, you’ll move on to providing your own financial information. If this includes taxes that you’ve filed in the prior prior year (2015 for the 2017-2018 FAFSA), you may be able to simplify the application process by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to automatically import your data.

To use the IRS DRT once you reach the financial section of the FAFSA, simply click “Link to IRS” and follow the directions to access your tax information. With your consent, certain sections of your FAFSA will then be automatically filled in with figures from your taxes. Don’t change any of these pre-filled answers, but be sure to manually answer any questions that the IRS DRT does not cover.

Not everyone is able to use the IRS DRT, so you may still need to enter your data manually. Follow the directions carefully in this section and double-check the figures you provide in order to ensure that your financial situation is accurately represented.

Step 5: Determine Whether You Are Considered a Dependent

Once you’ve entered your information, you’ll be asked a series of questions in order to determine whether you are considered a dependent by the FAFSA . If, like most prospective college undergraduates, you are a dependent, you’ll be asked for your parents’ financial information as well.

Just as with the student financial information section, you and your parents may be able to use the IRS DRT to transfer tax data into the parent financial information section, but you’ll also need to answer some questions manually. As always, take care and double-check your figures.

If your parents would prefer to fill out this section themselves rather than giving you the information to fill it out, you can give them direct access to your FAFSA by providing them with the Save Key you created earlier in the process. Alternatively, you can sit with your parents and complete the FAFSA together.

Step 6: Specify Colleges

In order for colleges to receive your FAFSA, you’ll need to specify these colleges when you fill out the form. You can have your data sent to up to ten colleges if you use the online process. If you’re still unsure where you want to apply, just put down your best guesses — you can update this information later.

Step 7: Sign Your FAFSA

Once you have filled in all the required fields and double-checked your answers, it’s time to sign your FAFSA, which you’ll do by using your personal FSA ID. One or both of your parents (depending on marital status) will be required to sign it with their FSA ID as well. This electronic signature is legally equivalent to your signature on paper.

Step 8: Hit Submit

Finally, you’ll officially submit your FAFSA. You should be directed to a confirmation page once your FAFSA is successfully submitted. Print this confirmation page for your records; you’ll be sent a confirmation email as well, but the confirmation page itself contains some additional useful information.

If you or your parents are unsure about how to answer any of the questions on the FAFSA, you can contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center  for help. Your guidance counselor or another official at your school may also be able to assist you.

do i need to write an essay for fafsa

Hearing Back About Your FAFSA

Once you’ve officially submitted your FAFSA, the application will be processed within three to five business days. Most students get their FAFSA results back within two weeks of submission, and the results are also sent to any colleges you’ve chosen.

The document you’ll receive after your FAFSA is processed is known as your Student Aid Report, or SAR. Your SAR will detail your eligibility for federal student aid , including grants, loans, and federal work-study funding. An important element of your SAR is your Expected Family Contribution, or EFC — the monetary amount that the FAFSA process has determined your family is able to contribute to your education each year.

However, as we mentioned above, types of financial aid that are not provided by the federal government frequently require you to fill out additional forms or submit supplemental information. Some states have their own procedures for state-level grants and loans. Specific colleges or institutions, or particular scholarship programs , will likely have additional requirements, so make sure you do your research and stay up to date on deadlines.

Making Corrections to Your FAFSA

If you find that you’ve made a error when filling out your FAFSA, don’t despair! People make mistakes all the time, and there is a process for making corrections. Once your original FAFSA is processed, you can log into your FAFSA account again using your FSA ID and edit whatever information is incorrect.

The only piece of information on the FAFSA that you can’t update in this way is your Social Security number. If you find that you’ve made an error in entering your Social Security number, you’ll need to correct that information using one of the methods mentioned on the web page.

As with your original FAFSA, your corrected FAFSA will take three to five days to be processed, and then you’ll be sent an updated SAR. The updated SAR will also be made available to any colleges that you’ve selected to receive your FAFSA information. If your corrected FAFSA paints a substantially different portrait of your family’s financial status, you can expect your EFC and SAR to change accordingly.

If you must make a correction to your FAFSA, time is of the essence. Since processing corrections takes time, you may run into trouble meeting your financial aid deadlines, which can affect the timing of your aid award or even in some cases your eligibility for aid.

The best thing to do in this situation is to call the colleges to which you’re applying and speak to a financial aid representative for advice. Of course, this is yet another reason why it’s important to start the application process well in advance.

Meeting FAFSA Deadlines

Back in 2016, the FAFSA system underwent some changes. One of these changes is that it can now be filled out at an earlier date. The deadline to submit your online FAFSA application for the 2017-2018 year is June 30, 2018. For the 2018-19 year, the application period is between October 17, 2017 and June 30, 2019.

As with most aspects of the college application process, it’s a good idea to fill out the FAFSA early, as long as you have the correct information available. Remember, you can’t receive financial aid until after you complete your application, so it’s imperative that you do so in a timely manner to avoid unnecessary charges.

The specific deadlines that you’ll need to meet will depend upon the state in which you live and the colleges to which you’re applying. You can find a list of deadlines for each state here. Deadlines for your colleges of choice can be found on each school’s admissions website.

Once you’ve determined which deadlines apply to you, plan to have your FAFSA completed by the earliest of these. Be aware that some schools’ deadlines refer to the date when your FAFSA is submitted, while other schools’ deadlines refer to the date when your FAFSA is finished being processed. If you have any questions about financial aid deadlines, contact the admissions offices of the schools to which you’re applying.

Are you ready to get started? You can find the official FAFSA website at https://fafsa.ed.gov . Good luck!

For more information about the FAFSA and financial aid application procedures, take a look at these posts from the CollegeVine blog:

  • What Does It Mean To Be Independent on the FAFSA?
  • FAFSA, CSS Profile, IDOC, Oh My: A Guide to Financial Aid
  • How to Evaluate, Compare, and Leverage Financial Aid

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How to Write a Financial Aid Statement

Last Updated: February 1, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Michael R. Lewis . Michael R. Lewis is a retired corporate executive, entrepreneur, and investment advisor in Texas. He has over 40 years of experience in business and finance, including as a Vice President for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas. He has a BBA in Industrial Management from the University of Texas at Austin. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 558,662 times.

The financial aid statement is a simple, short piece of writing that students may include on a financial aid letter, in an essay, or in other communications to a financial aid department. The financial aid statement may not be a full communication on its own, but rather an element of a more complex financial aid appeal. If you need to write such a statement in order to reach out to a university or college's financial aid office, follow some basic steps.

Sample Statements and Things to Include

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Writing a Statement of Financial Need

Step 1 Write the introduction.

  • For example, you could write the following: “My parents moved to the United States from Albania in order to give us better opportunities. As their oldest child, I will be the first in our family to attend college.”

Step 2 Explain how you are currently paying for college.

  • For example, write something like this: “I have worked to help support my family since I was 16 years old. Currently, I work on the weekends as a waitress to support myself. My parents also give me what they can each month. Since my parents didn’t speak English when we moved here, it was very difficult for them to support our family. My mother worked many hours as a housekeeper in a hotel. They saved what they could, but we do not have enough savings to pay for my college education."

Step 3 Justify why you are seeking aid.

  • For example: “My earnings from my weekend job cover my living expenses. I worked extra shifts over the summer and saved enough to pay for a portion of this year’s tuition. However, I am seeking aid for the portion of the tuition I cannot cover on my own.”

Step 4 Describe how you would benefit from the financial aid.

  • For example: “Receiving financial aid will allow me to focus on my studies during the week without having to worry about earning extra money. I would continue to work on the weekends to cover my living expenses, but I would be able to keep the weekdays free to focus solely on my school work.”

Step 5 Write a closing statement.

  • For example: “Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to discussing my opportunities with you.”

Writing a Statement for a Scholarship

Step 1 Write an introduction.

  • For example: “I am applying for this scholarship in order to further my studies in education. My long-term goal is to work as an ESL teacher in an inner city environment. My academic, work and personal experiences have lead me to this career goal.”

Step 2 Describe your academic record.

  • For example: “I graduated from my undergraduate institution with a 4.0 GPA. I had a double major of Elementary Education and Spanish, with a minor in Sociology. I applied for and received a prestigious internship working with the state government on developing educational policies.”

Step 3 Communicate your leadership skills.

  • For example: “My parents moved our family to this country from Albania when I was 12 years old. I did not speak any English when we arrived. The ESL teachers in my school helped me to be successful in school, and I want to do the same for other students in my circumstances.”

Step 4 Explain your community service history.

  • For example: “Each summer, I volunteer for the Migrant Workers Education Association in Chester County, Pennsylvania. They service migrant workers who come here from Mexico to work on mushroom farms. We not only link families with community services, but we also tutor children in English and help them learn important school skills that will allow them to be successful in school.”

Step 5 Illustrate how your past experience has imparted qualities that the scholarship committee will value.

  • For example: “My experiences as an ESL student and an English tutor have taught me the value of helping children to feel successful and empowered. I know the meaning of hard work, and I have learned how to overcome challenges in my own personal and academic life.”

Step 6 Choose your words carefully.

Making Your Personal Statement Successful

Step 1 Start early.

Expert Q&A

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  • ↑ http://www.bestvalueschools.com/faq/what-is-a-statement-of-financial-need/
  • ↑ https://www.goingmerry.com/blog/how-to-write-a-scholarship-essay-or-statement-about-your-financial-need-with-examples/
  • ↑ https://www.laguardia.edu/uploadedfiles/main_site/content/supporters_friends/docs/scholarship_personal_statement.pdf
  • ↑ https://scholarships360.org/financial-aid/how-to-write-a-statement-of-financial-need/
  • ↑ https://custom-writing.org/blog/financial-needs-essay
  • ↑ http://financialaid.ucdavis.edu/scholarships/tips/personal.html

About This Article

Michael R. Lewis

If you’re writing a statement of financial need, make it personal by sharing information about yourself and what's motivating you to pursue your studies. Try to be authentic, to write honestly about what you've already accomplished and what you hope to do with your education. Use specific examples if you can to reinforce the points you're trying to make. Finally, be sure to start your first draft early enough to get feedback from teachers or advisers and make revisions before you submit it. For more advice from our reviewer, including how to write a statement for a scholarship, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to Write a Financial Aid Appeal Letter (With Example)

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Will Geiger is the co-founder of Scholarships360 and has a decade of experience in college admissions and financial aid. He is a former Senior Assistant Director of Admissions at Kenyon College where he personally reviewed 10,000 admissions applications and essays. Will also managed the Kenyon College merit scholarship program and served on the financial aid appeals committee. He has also worked as an Associate Director of College Counseling at a high school in New Haven, Connecticut. Will earned his master’s in education from the University of Pennsylvania and received his undergraduate degree in history from Wake Forest University.

Learn about our editorial policies

do i need to write an essay for fafsa

Bill Jack has over a decade of experience in college admissions and financial aid. Since 2008, he has worked at Colby College, Wesleyan University, University of Maine at Farmington, and Bates College.

do i need to write an essay for fafsa

Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

How to Write a Financial Aid Appeal Letter (With Example)

Let’s say you get accepted to college, but the financial aid package does not work for you and your family. Did you know that many colleges will allow you to submit a financial aid appeal letter to be considered for more financial aid and scholarships?

When I worked in college admissions, I was a part of our college’s “scholarship appeal committee” where I helped evaluate various appeals for more financial aid and merit scholarships.

Related:  Scholarships360’s free scholarship search tool

Jump ahead to:

Starting the merit scholarship appeal process

How to write your merit appeal letter, how to appeal for need-based financial aid.

  • Financial Aid Appeal Example

Can you ask for more money from private scholarships?

  • What can you do the college turns down your appeal?

Feel free to jump ahead to any of the above sections or keep on reading to learn more about the appeals process. Students should also thoroughly review their financial aid award letter to understand what types of aid the college offered them.

Recommended: How to read a financial aid award letter (with examples)

Before you begin thinking about the merit scholarship appeal process, you should make sure that the college or university actually offers merit scholarships. If the institution does not offer merit scholarships, this is a nonstarter (a quick review of their admissions and financial aid website should tell you whether they do).

Once you know that the college does offer merit scholarships, you can inquire about the merit scholarship appeal process and whether they offer it. You can either call the admissions office or email the admissions officer responsible for your region. If they say that there is a process, you can start working on your appeal letter.

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First things first, let’s talk about how you can write a successful merit appeal letter. A successful letter is all about making your case to the admissions officer.

Here is our step-by-step process for writing a merit appeal letter:

  • Begin your letter by introducing yourself, where you are from, and your high school.
  • You should also reiterate how grateful you are to be admitted to the college and how excited you are to potentially attend.
  • Next explain the reasons why you are appealing for money in scholarships–did you receive need-based financial aid? Perhaps you did not receive  enough  need-based financial aid? Or maybe there was a life circumstance that’s making paying for college difficult for your family? If so, provide a brief explanation.
  • Have you accomplished anything significant academically/extracurricularly since you applied? This would be a good time to mention that. Same goes for any new grades/test scores.
  • Do you have more generous merit scholarship offers from other schools? Include the offer letters along with your note. While this may seem a bit crass, it helps give the admissions office context of where you are coming from.
  • Finally, you should conclude the letter by thanking the admissions officer for their time and consideration. You can also restate your interest in the college and why you hope to attend.

Related:  Why didn’t I receive financial aid?

Need-based financial aid is a completely different type of financial aid than merit aid. Colleges award need-based scholarships according to a formula dictated by your family’s financial situation. This means that there is very little (if any) wiggle room for how colleges award need-based financial aid.

With this said, there are two ways that you may be able to receive a reevaluated need-based financial aid package:

  • There was an error on your FAFSA or other financial aid form (like the CSS Profile )
  • Your family’s financial aid situation has changed since you submitted your financial aid forms. Two of the most common reasons that this can happen include dramatically increased medical expenses or a parent loses their job. However, there may be other situations that could impact a family’s financial situation.

In these situations it is absolutely worth contacting the college’s financial aid office to ask if there is any possibility of an adjusted aid package. Generally, the office of financial aid will ask you for a letter explaining your change in circumstances, with context and possible documentation.

Is there any harm to appealing for more financial aid?

When a need-based financial aid appeal is filed, the financial aid officers will examine the entire financial aid application again. In this second, careful review, it is possible that the financial aid officers might see something that could cause the award letter to change for the worse. While this is rare, it is important to know that financial aid appeals can impact your financial aid positively and negatively.

Advice from an admissions professional

Christina labella.

Director of Undergraduate Admissions

Manhattanville University

Financial aid appeal letter sample

Below you will find a financial aid appeal letter sample that you can use as an outline when writing your own appeal letter.

Dear [Ms. Gomez],

My name is [Will Geiger] and I am a senior at [Manasquan High School] in [Manasquan, NJ]. I was so excited to be accepted to [Wake Forest University] as a member of the class of [2024]. 

However, as I weigh my college options, affordability is an important factor for me. [Wake Forest University] is a top choice college for me. [Include 2-3 reasons why the college is a good fit].

I am writing to ask to be considered for any merit scholarship opportunities. [Include 2-3 academic or extracurricular updates from this year]. 

I have been lucky enough to receive the following scholarships from some other colleges:

[Specific colleges and award amounts]

Additionally, I have attached the actual award amounts.

Nonetheless, I want to attend [Wake Forest University] to study [insert major] and can’t wait to study [insert details about specific classes, programs, or professors that you hope to experience at the college]. With my [insert major] degree, I want to go into [insert job or ambition].

Thank you for the opportunity to be reconsidered for additional merit scholarship opportunities. I am honored to be accepted at [Wake Forest University] and hope to be a member of the freshman class.

Please let me know if you have any other questions!

Will Geiger

Private scholarships are almost always awarding a very fixed amount of money so it is unlikely that they are going to be considering appeals. This is unlikely to be a winning strategy for students. Of course, with billions of dollars in scholarship money available each year, nothing should stop you from finding and winning more scholarships!

What can you do if your appeal is turned down?

Once you have exhausted the appeals process and have determined that your financial aid forms accurately represent your family’s financial situation your next best move is to apply for more scholarships and consider more affordable options on your list.

There are still many scholarships available for current high school seniors . Additionally, you should continue to apply for scholarships once you are in college (there are a number of scholarships available for college freshmen ).

In addition to scholarships, you may also qualify for federal work study , which is essentially a part time job to help pay for educational expenses.

If your financial situation simply won’t permit you to accept the college’s offer, there are many other options available . Coding bootcamps , certificate programs , and community college can all help you land a higher-paying job. These alternatives typically take a fraction of the time and cost of traditional college.

Finally, student loans or Income Share Agreements can be a last resort for paying for college. Students should consider all of their federal student loan options before considering any private student loans.

Recommended: How to apply for student loans

Key Takeaways

  • Being accepted by a college means they want you to join their institution
  • As a result, they may be open to considering you for additional merit scholarships
  • Taking an hour to negotiate merit scholarship aid could result in thousands of dollars in scholarships down the line
  • Financial aid appeals will not result in your admission being rescinded

Frequently asked questions about financial aid appeal letters

Will a college rescind my admission if i ask for more financial aid, could i lose my financial aid if i file a financial aid appeal, how do i ask for more financial aid from a college, what if i can't afford my financial aid package, what are some valid reasons for a financial aid appeal.

  • A significant change in your family’s financial situation
  • Recent unemployment
  • High medical related expenses
  • Changes in family size or dependency status
  • Other extenuating circumstances

How long does it take to receive a response to a financial aid appeal letter?

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  • How to Write the Perfect Financial Aid Suspension Appeal Letter (and a Sample)
  • Financial Aid

Your financial aid can be suspended while you attend school for several reasons: You switch schools or change majors; your family makes too much money, which changes the information on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); or you do not make satisfactory academic progress (SAP) as determined by your school.

If your school suspends your financial aid, and private student loans are not an option, it makes sense to worry about completing your degree. Depending on the reasons your aid was suspended , you can likely file an appeal.

If you do not meet the minimum course or hour requirements, you may lose financial aid with no ability to appeal. However, if you have personal reasons for struggling academically during the school year, you can file an appeal.

As part of your financial aid suspension appeal, include a letter explaining what happened. This letter can help the committee determine whether to reinstate this help.

  • How to Understand the Appeals Process During Financial Aid Suspension

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Filing a financial aid suspension appeal starts when you go to your school’s student financial services office. Ask them about the appeals process and what forms you need. Be diligent about gathering correct information and file your appeal by the deadline. Schools generally only allow you to file an appeal when your financial aid is suspended due to an SAP problem. To have financial aid reinstated, you must: 

  • Understand your school’s SAP auditing process and the specific causes for your financial aid’s suspension.
  • Show that you have corrected the SAP problem.
  • Submit the appeal.
  • Have your appeal accepted by the SAP committee.

When your appeal is accepted, you will be placed on financial aid probation. This provides you another semester, trimester, or quarter of financial aid. The committee will then reconvene to determine whether you addressed your SAP problem in a satisfactory way. A successful SAP appeal will include information about why your academic status changed, you dropped courses or failed to sign up for enough courses, or otherwise did not meet your school’s standards. There are many reasons students struggle, but some common causes include:

  • Personal struggles with physical or mental health
  • Family struggles, including illness or death
  • Financial catastrophe, making your living situation unstable

As you complete your SAP appeal , gather information like health records, financial records, family statements, and correspondence with professors, employers, and peers that may be relevant. You should also write a personal letter to the SAP committee, which acknowledges that you did not meet SAP standards, that you understand what happened, and that you will take steps to correct this problem. Components of a successful SAP appeal letter are : 

  • Formal heading, including your name, student identification, the date, and the committee’s information
  • Formal address, including names of committee members you have corresponded with
  • Introductory and concluding paragraphs
  • One or two paragraphs explaining events that caused your academic struggles
  • Information in these middle paragraphs about how you will improve your performance in the coming semester, trimester, quarter, or year
  • Formal signoff
  • Information about relevant attachments, like doctors’ notes or personal statements from family members

You may also be required to create a plan, in a separate document, to improve your academic performance. If you have a good academic record from previous years, you can show that this is a temporary problem and you understand how to solve it. If you are a newer student, you may need to provide references from other school years or classes that show you are able to improve your performance.

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  • Financial Aid Suspension Appeal Letter Sample

To understand how all the components of a financial aid suspension appeal letter work together, here is a sample: Dear Dr. Smythe and Esteemed Members of the Committee, My name is Joan Doe, and I am writing this letter as part of my appeal to reinstate my financial aid. Because I struggled to complete classes during this past semester, it was determined that I did not make satisfactory academic progress per the institution’s guidelines. Consequently, my financial aid was revoked. While I respect the school’s decision regarding my grades, I need this financial support to continue completing my bachelor’s degree. My poor academic progress occurred because of struggles within my family this year. My father was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. While his prognosis is good and we now know that treatment is going well, it was a devastating emotional blow. I spent more time with my family, helping to take care of the household and my two younger siblings while my mother was with my father during his treatment. This included a hospital stay of about one week, during which time I was unable to return to class. I worked hard on my studies during this time, but because my time was much more limited, I was unable to focus on writing papers, studying for midterms and finals, and meeting some deadlines. My professors, including my adviser Dr. Smythe, have been as understanding as possible. I did not communicate as clearly as I should have, and I understand that my negligence has translated into lower grades. I even failed some courses, which is a first for me, if you look at my previous years at this college. I regret such poor performance, and I want to improve in the coming academic year. The school has accepted me as a student again for the upcoming semester, but without the financial aid provided through the Pell Grant and student loan programs, I cannot afford to attend. My academic record prior to this has been exceptional, and I believe I can return to this level of scholastic performance. Please consider reinstating my financial aid with my regret, my apologies, and my history as a good student in mind. Thank you for your consideration. I appreciate attending this school and look forward to graduation. Respectfully, Joan Doe

  • Other Sources of Funding if Your Financial Aid Is Suspended

The SAP committee may not accept your appeal or your financial aid suspension could stem from other causes, like changing majors and no longer meeting scholarship requirements. Other sources of financial aid, like private student loans, can help you complete your semester or year if you are unable to get your financial aid reinstated.

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FAFSA FRIDAY: FAFSA or CSS Profile, Do I Need Both?

There are two essential forms to fill out as early as possible for the bulk of your financial aid: a fafsa and a css profile..

<p>Concept illustration of a university with supplies, books and mortarboard with coins dropping in.&nbsp;</p>

The Squeeze

  • FAFSA is the application schools use to determine a student’s eligibility for federal student aid, including scholarships, grants, work-study and student loans. Most schools also use it to determine eligibility for non-federal aid.
  • A CSS Profile by College Board is the application certain schools use to determine a student’s eligibility for non-federal aid, including scholarships, grants and loans funded by the state or institution.
  • All students should fill out a FAFSA each year, but you only need to submit a CSS Profile if your school requires it. 

College application season is a laugh riot, amiright?

But even as you prod your child to finish their application and the essays for each college they’re eyeing, don’t forget to put your hat in the ring for financial aid, too. Other than private scholarship applications, there are two forms you will need to fill out for the bulk of your financial aid: a FAFSA and a CSS Profile.

Here’s what you need to know about those two applications — and how to figure out which you need to complete.

What is the difference between a FAFSA and a CSS Profile?

TL;DR: A FAFSA is the application schools use to determine a student’s eligibility for federal financial aid.

A CSS Profile is used by some schools and scholarship programs to determine eligibility for non-federal aid.

All students should fill out the FAFSA each year, but you only have to submit a CSS Profile if your school requires it.

Keep reading for all the juicy details.

What is a FAFSA?

FAFSA — the Free Application for Federal Student Aid — is the form parents and students fill out to qualify for federal financial aid for college.

You put your family’s relevant financial information into this form, and once they’ve accepted the student for admission, schools use it to determine how much and what kind of federal aid you’re eligible to receive.

Schools use information from the FAFSA to determine eligibility for every kind of public financial aid, including scholarships, grants, work-study and federal student loans.

Who needs a FAFSA

Every student planning to attend an accredited college or university should fill out the FAFSA, regardless of your household income or whether you plan to take out a student loan. 

When to fill out the FAFSA

FAFSA day is October 1. This is when the application opens at fafsa.ed.gov for the next academic year. Note: some states have set their submission deadline as early as December.

Pro Tip: Fill out the FAFSA as early as you can because some states dole out aid on a first-come, first-served basis.

You have to fill out the FAFSA each year you want federal aid, starting with the October before your first year of college. The Federal Student Aid office makes it simple, though: you can submit a renewal FAFSA in subsequent years, and the form will be pre-filled with your information. You just have to check it to update anything that has changed.

Information You Need to Fill out a FAFSA

To fill out the FAFSA, you’ll need this information handy for both the student and all parents (if the student is a dependent):

  • An FSA ID for the student and a parent This is how you sign in to fill out the form online.
  • Social Security number or Alien Registration number
  • State driver’s license number, if you have one
  • Federal income tax returns for the previous year For the 2021–22 academic year, you’ll use 2019 returns. Most people can import this information electronically through the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, but make sure you have tax returns and W-2s or 1099s handy in case you’re not eligible to use that option.
  • Records of untaxed income, like child support or veterans’ benefits.
  • Bank statements for any financial accounts, including savings, checking and investment accounts, and real estate (except your primary residence).
  • List of schools you’re interested in applying for, up to 10. List them all, even if you’re just considering it — you can always remove it later, but you might not be able to add it.

What is a CSS profile?

The College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile is an application some schools and scholarship programs use to determine your eligibility for non-federal aid, including institutional scholarships and state-based financial aid. 

The CSS Profile is administered by College Board, the same nonprofit organization running K-12 standardized testing and the AP and SAT assessments. More than 400 schools use this application, and College Board keeps a list of CSS Profile participating schools .

Just like the FAFSA, both students and parents need to add their information to a student’s CSS Profile for consideration.

Cost to Submit a CSS Profile

Unlike the FAFSA (which has “free” right in the name), submitting a CSS Profile comes with a fee. You’ll pay $25 to submit to the first institution and $16 for each additional school.

Some applicants might be eligible for a CSS Profile fee waiver if they meet any one of these criteria:

  • You got a waiver for the SAT fee.
  • Parents’ income is $45,000 or less for a family of four.
  • The student is an orphan or ward of the court, under 24 years old.

Who Needs a CSS Profile

Whether you need to fill out a CSS Profile depends on whether the schools you’re applying to require it. Many colleges use the information from your FAFSA to determine eligibility for both federal and state aid, but more than 400 institutions require a CSS Profile for state aid.

When to fill out a CSS profile

Applications open at cssprofile.org on October 1 each year for the following academic year. Each college sets its own deadline, so submit yours as early as possible to any school you apply to.

You’ll need to submit a new CSS Profile to your school for each year you want to receive aid. When you log in, your profile information should remain intact, and you can update anything that’s changed before submitting. 

Information you need to fill out a CSS profile

To fill out a CSS Profile, you’ll need this information for both the student and all parents (if the student is a dependent):

  • College Board username and password The student might have already created one for SAT or AP tests. If not, you’ll create a new student account to use for both the student and parent.
  • Most recently completed tax returns.
  • W-2s or 1099s for the current year.
  • Records of untaxed income, like child support or VA benefits, for the current year.
  • Bank statements for financial accounts, including savings, checking and investment accounts, and real estate investments.

Do you need both FAFSA and CSS?

You need to fill out a FAFSA to be considered for federal student aid, and you need to fill out a CSS Profile to be considered for state and institutional aid through schools that require it.

If you’re filling out a CSS, you should also complete a FAFSA.

We recommend that every student applying for college fill out a FAFSA even if you don’t want student loans because you could be eligible for scholarships or grants you weren’t expecting. If your school or program is on the College Board’s list of CSS Profile participating schools and scholarship programs, you should also submit a CSS to be considered for non-federal aid.

If your school isn’t on that list, you don’t have to submit a CSS Profile, but you’ll still be considered for non-federal aid. The institution will use the info on your FAFSA to determine your eligibility for both federal and non-federal aid.

About the Author

Dana Sitar has been writing and editing since 2011, covering personal finance, careers, and digital media. She trains journalists, writers, and editors on writing for the web and has written about work and money for publications including Forbes, The New York Times, CNBC, The Motley Fool, The Penny Hoarder and a column for Inc. Magazine .

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The Department of Education released a suite of changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA ® ) with its 2024-25 application . One change is that some of the form’s terminology differs from previous iterations. A new term you may want to have on your radar if you’re filing the FAFSA ® is contributor.

So, what exactly are contributors as defined by the FAFSA ® , and how could they affect how much college or graduate school financial aid you might receive? Keep reading for more information.

What does the term contributor mean on the FAFSA ® ?

A contributor is anyone such as you, a spouse, a biological or adoptive parent, or a parent’s spouse who’s required to provide their information on a FAFSA ® , along with their consent and approval to share their tax information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), for the form to be processed. Contributors will also need to provide their signature on the FAFSA ® . If you or your contributors don’t provide consent and approval, you won’t be eligible for federal student aid in most cases.

Information provided by contributors may factor into a student’s Student Aid Index (SAI) , a metric used to decide how much federal financial aid students may be eligible for, along with other types of financial aid for college or graduate school. In simple terms, contributors may impact how much financial aid you may be able to receive, as well as your potential eligibility for financial aid, based on the income and assets for the tax year a contributor supplies to the FAFSA ® . Keep in mind that contributors file the FAFSA ® using their tax information from two years prior before the current FAFSA ® year. For instance, for the 2024-25 FAFSA ® , contributors use information from their 2022 taxes.

How do you figure out who your contributors are if you’re filing the FAFSA ® ?

As covered above, a contributor is anyone required to provide information on a FAFSA ® , such as you, your biological or adoptive parent, your parent's spouse, or your spouse, for the form to be processed. If filing, you’ll answer certain questions on the form which will help determine who needs to be a contributor on your application.

There are a few cases in which figuring out who your contributors are may be slightly tricky. One such instance is if your parents are divorced. In this instance, the parent who provided more financial support over the past twelve months will be identified as a contributor on your FAFSA ® . If both parents provided equal financial support, the parent with the greater income and assets will be identified as a contributor. In some instances, if your divorced parent contributor on your FAFSA ® is remarried, their spouse will also be a contributor. It’s important to know that this may not be the only instance where your parent’s spouse or partner will need to be listed as a contributor.

Another instance to be mindful of is if you're married and file taxes jointly with your spouse. In this case, you'll report your spouse's information on the FAFSA ® , but they won't be identified as a contributor. If you're married and file taxes separately, your spouse will be considered a contributor on your FAFSA ® .

How to add contributors to the FAFSA ®

To invite contributors to your FAFSA ® , you’ll be asked to provide the following:

  • Their first and last name
  • Their Social Security number (if they have one)
  • Their date of birth
  • Their email address

Once a contributor is added, they’ll be alerted via email and can then complete their FAFSA ® portion.

Common FAQs about contributors and the FAFSA ®

Do i need to provide information on my contributors to the fafsa ® .

Unless you’re an independent student who isn’t married or a student who’s married and filing taxes jointly with your spouse, you’ll likely need to provide information about additional contributors beyond yourself on your FAFSA ® . The questions provided by the FAFSA ® can help guide you in determining who your contributors are.

Do contributors need to create a Studentaid.gov account with a separate FAFSA ® log-in?

Once invites are sent to your contributors, they’ll need to create a unique Federal Student Aid (FSA) log-in if they don’t already have one. It’s important to note that contributors can’t share log-ins – every FAFSA ® contributor needs their own.

Are my parents considered contributors on the FAFSA ® ?

Biological or adoptive parents, parents who are divorced or remarried, and their spouses, may be considered contributors if you’re a dependent. It’s important to note that grandparents, foster parents, siblings, and other relatives aren’t considered contributors unless they are your legal guardians.

As covered above, figuring out which parent is your contributor may feel confusing. If your parents aren’t married and don’t live together, but you have one parent who provided you with more financial support in the past year, then the parent who provided you with more financial support in the past year will be the contributor on your FAFSA ® . In some instances, if this parent is remarried, their spouse will also be a contributor.

If your parents aren’t married and don’t live together, and neither of them provided more financial support to you in the past year, the parent with the greater income and assets will be a contributor. If that parent is remarried, their spouse will also, in some cases, be a contributor.

Is my spouse a contributor on my FAFSA ® form?

If you’re an independent student who’s married, and you and your spouse didn’t file taxes together for the tax year you’re supplying to the FAFSA ® , then your spouse will be a contributor. If you’re an independent student who’s married and you and your spouse file taxes jointly, then you’ll supply your spouse’s income on the FAFSA ® but don’t need to include them as a contributor. If you and your spouse are legally separated, your spouse won’t be a contributor.

Will my FAFSA ® contributors handle paying my loans?

Adding contributors to your FAFSA ® doesn’t make them responsible for any federal student aid you receive, such as federal student loans.

Final thoughts

While the changes to the 2024-25 FAFSA ® form may make completing it feel confusing at first, know that you can contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center with questions about eligibility for federal student aid. You can also contact your school’s financial aid office or other academic advisors for help.

Your Best College Essay

Maybe you love to write, or maybe you don’t. Either way, there’s a chance that the thought of writing your college essay is making you sweat. No need for nerves! We’re here to give you the important details on how to make the process as anxiety-free as possible.

student's hands typing on a laptop in class

What's the College Essay?

When we say “The College Essay” (capitalization for emphasis – say it out loud with the capitals and you’ll know what we mean) we’re talking about the 550-650 word essay required by most colleges and universities. Prompts for this essay can be found on the college’s website, the Common Application, or the Coalition Application. We’re not talking about the many smaller supplemental essays you might need to write in order to apply to college. Not all institutions require the essay, but most colleges and universities that are at least semi-selective do.

How do I get started?

Look for the prompts on whatever application you’re using to apply to schools (almost all of the time – with a few notable exceptions – this is the Common Application). If one of them calls out to you, awesome! You can jump right in and start to brainstorm. If none of them are giving you the right vibes, don’t worry. They’re so broad that almost anything you write can fit into one of the prompts after you’re done. Working backwards like this is totally fine and can be really useful!

What if I have writer's block?

You aren’t alone. Staring at a blank Google Doc and thinking about how this is the one chance to tell an admissions officer your story can make you freeze. Thinking about some of these questions might help you find the right topic:

  • What is something about you that people have pointed out as distinctive?
  • If you had to pick three words to describe yourself, what would they be? What are things you’ve done that demonstrate these qualities?
  • What’s something about you that has changed over your years in high school? How or why did it change?
  • What’s something you like most about yourself?
  • What’s something you love so much that you lose track of the rest of the world while you do it?

If you’re still stuck on a topic, ask your family members, friends, or other trusted adults: what’s something they always think about when they think about you? What’s something they think you should be proud of? They might help you find something about yourself that you wouldn’t have surfaced on your own.  

How do I grab my reader's attention?

It’s no secret that admissions officers are reading dozens – and sometimes hundreds – of essays every day. That can feel like a lot of pressure to stand out. But if you try to write the most unique essay in the world, it might end up seeming forced if it’s not genuinely you. So, what’s there to do? Our advice: start your essay with a story. Tell the reader about something you’ve done, complete with sensory details, and maybe even dialogue. Then, in the second paragraph, back up and tell us why this story is important and what it tells them about you and the theme of the essay.

THE WORD LIMIT IS SO LIMITING. HOW DO I TELL A COLLEGE MY WHOLE LIFE STORY IN 650 WORDS?

Don’t! Don’t try to tell an admissions officer about everything you’ve loved and done since you were a child. Instead, pick one or two things about yourself that you’re hoping to get across and stick to those. They’ll see the rest on the activities section of your application.

I'M STUCK ON THE CONCLUSION. HELP?

If you can’t think of another way to end the essay, talk about how the qualities you’ve discussed in your essays have prepared you for college. Try to wrap up with a sentence that refers back to the story you told in your first paragraph, if you took that route.

SHOULD I PROOFREAD MY ESSAY?

YES, proofread the essay, and have a trusted adult proofread it as well. Know that any suggestions they give you are coming from a good place, but make sure they aren’t writing your essay for you or putting it into their own voice. Admissions officers want to hear the voice of you, the applicant. Before you submit your essay anywhere, our number one advice is to read it out loud to yourself. When you read out loud you’ll catch small errors you may not have noticed before, and hear sentences that aren’t quite right.

ANY OTHER ADVICE?

Be yourself. If you’re not a naturally serious person, don’t force formality. If you’re the comedian in your friend group, go ahead and be funny. But ultimately, write as your authentic (and grammatically correct) self and trust the process.

And remember, thousands of other students your age are faced with this same essay writing task, right now. You can do it!

  • Introduction

Step 1: Start with the FAFSA

Step 2: understand your financial aid award letter, step 3: complete additional paperwork (if required), what about private student loans, navigating the student loan application process.

Affiliate links for the products on this page are from partners that compensate us (see our advertiser disclosure with our list of partners for more details). However, our opinions are our own. See how we rate student loans to write unbiased product reviews.

  • You'll apply for a federal loan with the FAFSA, and a private loan on the lender's website.
  • The FAFSA takes about an hour to complete, while private applications can just a few minutes.
  • You'll need a credit check to get a private loan and to get a Direct PLUS Loan from the government.

If you need help paying for college and didn't receive enough money through scholarships or work-study programs, you may need to take out a student loan to cover the costs of school.

Getting a student loan is a fairly straightforward process. You'll apply for the loan through a federal or private lender , then wait for the funds to be disbursed to your school.

The FAFSA is the key to obtaining federal aid. FAFSA — which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid — determines one's eligibility for loans, grants, and work-study. 

To get started, create your FSA ID , which is essentially your electronic signature for the FAFSA. Parents of dependent students also need an FSA ID. From there, check federal and state deadlines. And remember: Applying early is best!

You won't need a credit check with federal loans, with the exception of a Direct PLUS Loan , which is lent to the parents of undergraduate students or to professional and graduate students. This loan is not based on financial need and has a higher interest rate than subsidized or unsubsidized loans. 

Each school that you've been accepted to will send out a financial award letter detailing the aid package being offered. It will include grants, scholarships, work-study details, and federal student loans (subsidized and/or unsubsidized). After reading through your letter, decide which package makes the most sense for your situation. You don't have to accept the full loan amount offered.

If you have the option, you'll want to take out a subsidized loan over an unsubsidized loan . Subsidized loans are made based on financial need, and the government pays the interest on your loan while you're in school. Financial need doesn't factor into unsubsidized loans, and interest begins to accrue immediately. 

Once you've decided on a financial aid package, fill out any required paperwork and keep all your documents in a safe place. From there, sign up for any online sessions explaining your borrower responsibilities.

You'll also need to sign a Master Promissory Note if you choose to take out a loan. An MPN is a legal document you sign to promise to pay back your loan along with interest and fees. You'll also determine the amount of money you want to borrow and your repayment term. The government won't disburse your loan until you sign this document. 

You can generally expect your school to get your federal funds about 10 days before classes begin. You may experience a 30-day delay if you are both a first-year student and a first-time borrower.

Private student loans often come with higher interest rates and fewer protections for borrowers than federal student loans, but you may need to take them out if your federal options don't cover the cost of your school. 

You can find different applications for private student loans on lenders' websites. You'll probably need to provide similar financial and identification documents as you would on the FAFSA, though the requirements will vary by lender. 

Private lenders will run a credit check to figure out if you qualify for a loan, much like the federal government does with Direct PLUS Loans. Discuss details with your particular lender.

You can apply for a private student loan much more quickly than a federal student loan. You could get your rates and see whether you're approved for a loan within a few minutes with some businesses, and most companies will give you an approval decision within 15 minutes. 

If you want to know the status of your loan disbursement, you can usually check a lender's online portal or call customer service. You'll need to agree to terms similar to those in an MPN and sign a binding document.

Once you officially accept the loan, your college will likely get funds from a private lender within two to 10 weeks. You'll get the funds in your personal bank account if you take out a direct-to-consumer loan, while your school's financial aid office will get the money if you take out a school-certified loan. 

You can fill out the FAFSA before being accepted, but you'll need to add schools later to actually receive award letters.

Schools will usually disburse loans at the start of each semester, but timing can vary.

To get help with the application process, visit your school's financial aid office, the Federal Student Aid website , or your high school counselor.

do i need to write an essay for fafsa

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Read our editorial standards .

Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

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  • Main content

Teen boy studying at living room table

Cramming for an exam isn’t the best way to learn – but if you have to do it, here’s how

do i need to write an essay for fafsa

Senior Teaching Fellow in Education, University of Strathclyde

Disclosure statement

Jonathan Firth does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

University of Strathclyde provides funding as a member of The Conversation UK.

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Around the country, school and university students are hitting the books in preparation for exams. If you are in this position, you may find yourself trying to memorise information that you first learned a long time ago and have completely forgotten – or that you didn’t actually learn effectively in the first place.

Unfortunately, cramming is a very inefficient way to properly learn. But sometimes it’s necessary to pass an exam. And you can incorporate what we know about how learning works into your revision to make it more effective.

Read more: Exams: seven tips for coping with revision stress

A great deal of research evidence on how memory works over time shows that we forget new information very quickly at first, after which the process of forgetting slows down.

In practice, this means that very compressed study schedules lead to a catastrophic amount of forgetting.

A better option is to space out learning a particular topic more gradually and over a longer period. This is called the “spacing effect” and it leads to skills and knowledge being retained better, and for longer.

Research has found that we remember information better when we leave a gap of time between first studying something and revisiting it, rather than doing so straight away. This even works for short timescales – a delay of a few seconds when trying to learn a small piece of information, such as a pair of words, for instance. And it also works when the delay between study sessions is much longer .

In the classroom , spacing out practice could mean reviewing and practising material the next day, or delaying homework by a couple of weeks, rather than revisiting it as soon as possible. As a rule, psychologists have suggested that the best time to re-study material is when it is on the verge of being forgotten – not before, but also not after.

But this isn’t how things are learned across the school year. When students get to exam time, they have forgotten much of what was previously studied.

Better cramming

When it comes to actually learning – being able to remember information over the long term and apply it to new situations – cramming doesn’t work. We can hardly call it “learning” if information is forgotten a month later. But if you need to pass an exam, cramming can lead to a boost in temporary performance. What’s more, you can incorporate the spacing effect into your cramming to make it more efficient.

It’s better to space practising knowledge of a particular topic out over weeks, so if you have that long before a key exam, plan your revision schedule so you cover topics more than once. Rather than allocating one block of two hours for a particular topic, study it for one hour this week and then for another hour in a week or so’s time.

Empty exam hall

If you don’t have that much time, it’s still worth incorporating smaller gaps between practice sessions. If your exam is tomorrow, practice key topics in the morning today and then again in the evening.

Learning is also more effective if you actively retrieve information from your memory, rather than re-reading or underlining your notes. A good way to do this, incorporating the spacing effect, is to take practice tests. Revise a topic from your notes or textbook, take a half-hour break, and then take a practice test without help from your books.

An even simpler technique is a “brain dump” . After studying and taking a break, write down everything you can remember about the topic on a blank sheet of paper without checking your notes.

Change the way we teach

A shift in teaching practices may be needed to avoid students having to cram material they only half-remember before exams.

But my research suggests that teachers tend to agree with the idea that consolidation of a topic should happen as soon as possible, rather than spacing out practice in ways that would actually be more effective.

Teachers are overburdened and make heroic efforts with the time they have. But incorporating the spacing effect into teaching needn’t require radical changes to how teachers operate. Often, it’s as simple as doing the same thing on a different schedule .

Research has shown the most effective way to combine practice testing and the spacing effect is to engage in practice testing in the initial class, followed by at least three practice opportunities at widely spaced intervals. This is quite possible within the typical pattern of the school year.

For example, after the initial class, further practice could come via a homework task after a few days’ delay, then some kind of test or mock exam after a further gap of time. The revision period before exams would then be the third opportunity for consolidation.

Building effective self-testing and delayed practice into education would spell less stress and less ineffective cramming. Exam time would be for consolidation, rather than re-learning things that have been forgotten. The outcome would be better long-term retention of important knowledge and skills. As a bonus, school students would also gain a better insight into how to study effectively.

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Haven't completed your FAFSA? The Tennessee deadline for aid is extended to May 31

do i need to write an essay for fafsa

Counting on financial aid to attend a college or university in Tennessee? State officials just announced yet another deadline extension to apply for it.

The deadline to finish the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA, is now set for May 31 for Tennessee. The extension adds an extra two weeks to the previous deadline.

But FAFSA isn't just for securing federal aid — it's also required for all students who wish to receive any form of financial aid, including scholarships, grants and other assistance.

The launch of a revamped FAFSA application, meant to update and streamline the process, has been riddled with glitches and delays. This year's form did not open for applications until months later than usual. That has delayed financial aid decisions for millions of students nationwide.

But that doesn't mean those hoping to attend school in Tennessee should skip out on FAFSA, according to the Four the Future collaborative. The group is made of up 10 public colleges and universities in Tennessee.

"We don’t want our student applicants passing up significant financial benefits," Austin Peay State University President Michael Licari said in a news release from the collaborative. "We see such great potential within the young adults of Tennessee, and failure to submit their FAFSA before the deadline should not be the hurdle that prevents them from achieving their educational dreams."

What is FAFSA, and what does it do?

Along with qualifying students for federal aid, the FAFSA also helps colleges and universities determine what kind of financial aid they offer to students. It also helps determine if students qualify for state aid, like the Tennessee Promise Scholarship.

The process should take roughly an hour to complete after personal information is gathered, according to the FAFSA website.

Looking to submit this year's FAFSA? Here is how the application works and its eligibility

More information at FAFSA, Tennessee resources

Four the Future leaders said they recognize some may need guidance navigating the FAFSA process, especially those who are the first in their family to attend college.

"To assist anyone who needs help, our schools have compiled a single destination of resources for Tennessee college applicants that will empower our applicants to quickly complete their FAFSA," Middle Tennessee State University President Sidney McPhee said in the release.

Information on the FAFSA, scholarship opportunities in Tennessee and more resources can be found at FourTheFutureTN.com/FAFSA .

The FAFSA application, along with more information, can be found at StudentAid.gov .

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Guest Essay

I Don’t Write Like Alice Munro, but I Want to Live Like Her

A blurry photo of a woman, the author Alice Munro, smiling.

By Sheila Heti

Ms. Heti is the author of the novels “Pure Colour,” “How Should a Person Be?” and, most recently, “Alphabetical Diaries.”

It is common to say “I was heartbroken to hear” that so-and-so died, but I really do feel heartbroken having learned about Alice Munro, who died on Monday.

As a writer, she modeled, in her life and art, that one must work with emotional sincerity and precision and concentration and depth — not on every kind of writing but on only one kind, the kind closest to one’s heart.

She has long been a North Star for many writers and was someone I have always felt guided by. We are very different writers, but I have kept her in mind, daily and for decades, as an example to follow (but failed to follow to the extent that she demonstrated it): that a fiction writer isn’t someone for hire.

A fiction writer isn’t someone who can write anything — movies, articles, obits! She isn’t a person in service to the magazines, to the newspapers, to the publishers or even to her audience. She doesn’t have to speak on the political issues of the day or on matters of importance to the culture right now but ought first and most to attend seriously to her task, which is her only task, writing the particular thing she was most suited to write.

Ms. Munro only ever wrote short stories — not novels, though she must have been pressured to. She died in a small town not too far from where she was born, choosing to remain close to the sort of people she grew up with, whom she remained ever curious about. Depth is wherever one stands, she showed us, convincingly.

Fiction writers are people, supposedly, who have things to say; they must, because they are so good with words. So people are always asking them: Can you say something about this or about this? But the art of hearing the voice of a fictional person or sensing a fictional world or working for years on some unfathomable creation is, in fact, the opposite of saying something with the opinionated and knowledgeable part of one’s mind. It is rather the humble craft of putting your opinions and ego aside and letting something be said through you.

Ms. Munro held to this division and never let the vanity that can come with being good with words persuade her to put her words just everywhere, in every possible way. Here was the best example in the world — in Canada, my own land — of someone who seemed to abide by classical artistic values in her choices as a person and in her choices on the page. I felt quietly reassured knowing that a hundred kilometers down the road was Alice Munro.

She was also an example of how a writer should be in public: modest, unpretentious, funny, generous and kind. I learned the lesson of generosity from her early. When I was 20 and was just starting to publish short stories, I sent her a fan letter. I don’t remember what my letter said. After a few months, I received a handwritten thank-you note from her in the mail. The fact that she replied at all and did so with such care taught me a lot about grace and consideration and has remained as a warmth within me since that day.

She will always remain for me, and for many others, a model of that grave yet joyous dedication to art — a dedication that inevitably informs the most important choices the artist makes about how to support that life. Probably Ms. Munro would laugh at this; no one knows the compromises another makes, especially when that person is as private as she was and transforms her trials into fiction. Yet whatever the truth of her daily existence, she still shines as a symbol of artistic purity and care.

I am grateful for all she gave to the world and for all the sacrifices she must have made to give it. I’m sorry to be here defying her example, but she was just too loved, and these words just came. Thank you, Alice Munro.

Sheila Heti is the author of the novels “Pure Colour,” “How Should a Person Be?” and, most recently, “Alphabetical Diaries.”

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Statement of Financial Need

    Generally, the statement of financial need will go beyond what is captured by the FAFSA or CSS profile. In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide to show you how to write a statement of financial need. Apply to these scholarships due soon. $10,000 "No Essay" Scholarship. 1 award worth $10,000.

  2. 3.1 How to FAFSA

    Step 3) Click "accept.". This page is like the "Terms & Conditions" thing you never actually read. Step 4) Choose the form for the year you will be in college. (i.e, If you're graduating high school in spring 2022, then you fill out the "2022-2023" form.) Which brings us to …. Rookie Mistake #1:

  3. How to write a financial need scholarship essay (with examples!)

    Example 1: "I am a first-generation American and the first in my family to go to college. My family moved from El Salvador to New York when I was seven years old, to escape the violence there.". Example 2: "I am from a working-class family in Minnesota.

  4. Financial Need Scholarship Essay Examples (2023)

    Example 2: "Describe your financial need in 100 words". This essay is even shorter than the financial need statement. It may be one of several short answer questions you need to fill out. Working with 100 words is tricky. That only leaves room for about 7-10 sentences, depending on length.

  5. PDF Filling Out the FAFSA

    Filling Out the FAFSA The FAFSA form is the first step in the financial aid process. Because it's important to complete the form correctly, this chapter discusses some of the more difficult questions that arise. While the chapter follows the organization of the paper application and the ISIR, the guidance applies equally to the FAFSA online.

  6. The Ultimate Guide to Filling Out the FAFSA

    Read on for an explanation of the FAFSA process, what information you'll need to provide, and what else you'll need to do after the FAFSA is complete. A Brief Introduction to the FAFSA. The FAFSA, or "Free Application for Federal Student Aid," is a form that collects information about a student's family's financial situation.

  7. The Better FAFSA: What You Need to Know

    The FAFSA form is an application that students and families need to complete to apply for federal student aid, such as federal grants, work-study funds, and loans. Completing and submitting the FAFSA form is free, and it gives students access to the largest source of financial aid to help pay for higher education.

  8. The FAFSA Process

    The 2024-25 FAFSA form is available for the award year that runs from July 1, 2024, to June 30, 2025. The 2023-24 FAFSA form became available on Oct. 1, 2022, for the award year that runs from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024. A student can submit the application any time until the end of the award year to apply for federal student aid.

  9. 4 Ways to Write a Financial Aid Statement

    3. Justify why you are seeking aid. Explain the difficulties you are having meeting your needs. Describe changes in your life that have affected your ability to pay for college. For example, changes in your family's income or unexpected expenses may have caused a financial deficit.

  10. Top 5 FAFSA FAQs

    Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) is the first step in accessing the more than $150 billion available in federal student aid. Since the 2015-16 FAFSA launched, the Digital Engagement Team at Federal Student Aid has responded to hundreds of FAFSA questions via Federal Student Aid's social media accounts.(Yes, believe it or not, we do actually read what you ...

  11. Should You Complete the FAFSA Before or After Acceptance?

    Apply for the FAFSA as soon as possible. The bottom line for students is that it makes sense to apply for financial aid with the FAFSA as soon as possible. Students should not wait until receiving a colleges' acceptance to complete the FAFSA. Instead, You should aim to complete and submit the application shortly after the FAFSA opens up on ...

  12. Your 2024-2025 FAFSA Questions Answered

    Using the FAFSA Delay to your Advantage. This year, universities are in a bind. Financial aid packages are a key consideration in students' admission decisions, and with that information delayed, universities are unable to accurately forecast enrollment and yield rates. With enrollment numbers in question and financial aid offices under strain, this year, schools may be more willing than ...

  13. How to Write a Financial Aid Appeal Letter (With Example)

    Below you will find a financial aid appeal letter sample that you can use as an outline when writing your own appeal letter. Dear [Ms. Gomez], My name is [Will Geiger] and I am a senior at [Manasquan High School] in [Manasquan, NJ]. I was so excited to be accepted to [Wake Forest University] as a member of the class of [2024].

  14. How to Appeal Financial Aid to Get More Money

    Requesting more FAFSA money can be broken down into two simple steps: contact your financial aid office and write a short summary of the special circumstances regarding your appeal, providing clear and professional documentation for your claim. If you're disappointed with your FAFSA return, you must act immediately!

  15. PDF 2024-25 FAFSA Guide for Parents and Contributors

    Completing the contributor section of the 2024-25 FAFSA is a REQUIRED step in the FAFSA form. Follow these steps for guidance on how to fill out the #FAFSA as a contributor. The new #FAFSA will help more students qualify for up to $7,395 (or more!) in FREE money for college, but to submit the form, students will need your help! Visit ...

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    I am writing to help explain why I was unable to meet the conditions outlined in my first SAP appeal. I was involved in a car accident in early November and severely broke my right arm. I was in the hospital for three days and then had to undergo physical therapy, which meant missing class time. Additionally,

  17. How to Write the Perfect Financial Aid Suspension Appeal Letter (and a

    My name is Joan Doe, and I am writing this letter as part of my appeal to reinstate my financial aid. Because I struggled to complete classes during this past semester, it was determined that I did not make satisfactory academic progress per the institution's guidelines. Consequently, my financial aid was revoked.

  18. How to Write a Financial Aid Appeal Letter

    Begin with who you are and where you are from, how grateful you are to have been accepted and that you are excited about the school. Be direct about what the letter is for (financial aid) Briefly talk about why the school is a great fit for you and why you need the money in a straightforward and respectful way.

  19. FAFSA FRIDAY: FAFSA or CSS Profile, Do I Need Both?

    Just like the FAFSA, both students and parents need to add their information to a student's CSS Profile for consideration. Cost to Submit a CSS Profile. Unlike the FAFSA (which has "free" right in the name), submitting a CSS Profile comes with a fee. You'll pay $25 to submit to the first institution and $16 for each additional school.

  20. What Does Contributor Mean on the FAFSA®?

    A contributor is anyone such as you, a spouse, a biological or adoptive parent, or a parent's spouse who's required to provide their information on a FAFSA ®, along with their consent and approval to share their tax information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), for the form to be processed. Contributors will also need to provide ...

  21. U.S. Department of Education Processes More Than 10 Million Better

    65+ Organizations Funded through Student Support Strategy to Drive FAFSA Completion. The U.S. Department of Education (Department) today announced it has processed more than 10 million 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) forms. ... They will hold in-person completion events and schedule individual appointments with ...

  22. Your Best College Essay

    Prompts for this essay can be found on the college's website, the Common Application, or the Coalition Application. We're not talking about the many smaller supplemental essays you might need to write in order to apply to college. Not all institutions require the essay, but most colleges and universities that are at least semi-selective do.

  23. How to Apply for Student Loans: a Beginner's Guide

    Step 1: Start with the FAFSA. The FAFSA is the key to obtaining federal aid. FAFSA — which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid — determines one's eligibility for loans, grants ...

  24. What are some legit scholarship websites? : r/scholarships

    He has applied to 79 essay scholarships and has around 320 hours since August. That being said, he is a slow writer, and it can take him 3-4 hours to write 300 words. It took him 2 weeks to write his big 1000-word essay. It's quality when he gets done, but it takes a while. If you can write faster, then that time would cut down.

  25. PDF How To Submit the 2024-25 FAFSA® Form if Your Contributor Doesn't Have

    Step-by-Step Instructions for Completing the Form. To start an online FAFSA form in situations where a contributor does not have an SSN, follow the steps below. Completing these steps will help you avoid encountering errors. Step 1: Get a StudentAid.gov account before f illing out the FAFSA. form. As you prepare to fill out the form, make sure ...

  26. Cramming for an exam isn't the best way to learn

    But if you need to pass an exam, cramming can lead to a boost in temporary performance. ... Want to write? Write an article and join a growing community of more than 184,100 academics and ...

  27. The Education Department's $50 million FAFSA completion push

    The U.S. Education Department is doling out $50 million to help students complete the troubled federal aid form. Access advocates say it's not too late to make an impact—but time is of the essence. In late March, as students were reeling from a wave of delays and errors plaguing the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA), Chandra Scott, executive director of the college ...

  28. FAFSA: Tennessee colleges urge applicants to file by May 31 deadline

    The deadline to finish the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA, is now set for May 31 for Tennessee. The extension adds an extra two weeks to the previous deadline. But ...

  29. Biden-Harris Administration Announces Additional $7.7 Billion in

    The Biden-Harris Administration announced today the approval of $7.7 billion in additional student loan debt relief for 160,500 borrowers. These discharges are for three categories of borrowers: those receiving Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF); those who signed up for President Biden's Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan and who are eligible for its shortened time-to-forgiveness ...

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    A fiction writer isn't someone who can write anything — movies, articles, obits! She isn't a person in service to the magazines, to the newspapers, to the publishers or even to her audience.