How My Son and I Successfully Appealed For More Financial Aid

My son had been chasing an invitation to play NCAA Water Polo for a while from two schools. He had visited neither school since they are both located in the same town about 10 states away. We finally made arrangements for him to go over spring break, and he came away with his heart’s desire. Yes, he will be playing water polo next year. When he found out he definitely had a spot on the team, he wanted to sign on the dotted line right away, but thankfully, my husband held him off and bought him a few days to make up his mind.


I knew I wanted to try to appeal for more aid before it was all said and done. My son would have never thought it possible to do such a thing and he also probably doesn’t value the benefit like I do.


So, here’s what we did:


  1. I had him call the admissions department and ask how their appeals process works. He did so and found out he needed to submit a form which he could find online and a letter.

  2. We printed off the form, which was very basic, and filled it out.

  3. We wrote a letter explaining that his mom had changed jobs the prior year, told how that changed my expected annual income, explained that he would be needing to apply for private scholarships to pay what we owe and mentioned how much it would help if we could get an extra $4,000 per year since he was going to be very busy as a student and athlete at the school. We also attached documentation of the career change. He let them know that he was really thankful for the aid they had already offered and he was very excited about the prospect of attending.

  4. Parker submitted a scanned copy of the form and letter attached to an email written to the school and addressed to the admissions counselor.

  5. A day later, he heard from the school that they had considered his request and offered him an extra $2,000/year, renewable for all four years, and they hoped that would make it possible for him to accept his place at the school.

  6. He replied that he was very thankful for the extra help and would be submitting his deposit the next day, which we did.


Now, an extra $2,000 off the cost of a $50,000 price tag may not seem like much, but that’s $8,000 over 4 years, and it only took us maybe an hour or so of our time to get it. I wonder how many scholarship applications Parker would have to submit to get that much in private scholarships? 30? 50? Better yet, how many hours would he have to work as a lifeguard to get that much? A LOT!