Emergency Aid Appeal Letter

If you are in a situation where you cannot afford to meet your basic needs (e.g., food, housing) or cover necessary educational expenses (such as a working computer), you may want to consider filing a financial aid appeal. Your financial aid office may be able to provide you with a grant or a loan.

Due to COVID-19, new emergency financial aid from the CARES Act may be available to students who apply through their schools. Schools will distribute this emergency aid as cash grants to students whose applications are approved.

There is no guarantee that your school will adjust your financial package and not all schools offer Emergency Aid. Please note that your school may offer Emergency Aid through other offices, such as the Dean of Students.

If your school does not offer an online application form or you cannot reach out to the financial aid office during business hours, you can start the conversation by using the free SwiftStudent Emergency Aid Request, and submitting it to your financial aid office. If your request is time sensitive, make sure to search your school's website carefully before using the SwiftStudent form.

Who is eligible to make an Emergency Aid Request?

Since schools are not required to have an Emergency Aid Fund, requirements are different at each institution. Some requirements may be that students must take a certain amount of classes/credits, meet Satisfactory Academic Progress, and provide documentation for financial emergencies. There may also be limits on how many times a student can receive Emergency Aid.

You can also seek Emergency Aid from an outside provider unrelated to your education, like a social service agency or community-based organization.

When should I ask the financial aid office about this option?

It's difficult to ask for help and it's natural to try and exhaust all options before asking your school. However, every school may have different processes and timelines, so it's best you submit a request as soon as you know you will need additional support.

It may take the financial aid office some time to evaluate your request, so you should ask the financial aid office about this option as soon as possible. While deadlines vary by school, it is best to share your situation promptly to make sure you don't miss out on support or information about the process.

How do I submit an Emergency Aid Request to my school?

Your best next steps are to search your school's website for "Emergency Aid," to contact your financial aid office and/or your academic advisor. Some schools have online forms, some schools have walk-in hours, and others have appointment only options. Given that Emergency Aid requests are time-sensitive, we strongly recommend you reach out to your financial office and search your school website before using the SwiftStudent Emergency Aid Request form.

If your school does not offer a form online and you cannot reach out to the financial aid office during business hours, you can start the conversation with your financial aid office by submitting the SwiftStudent Emergency Aid Request.

Be sure to use the free SwiftStudent worksheet to help you keep track of your interactions with your financial aid office.

What documents do I need to include with my Emergency Aid Request? 

Your school will determine what documents are required. Most schools that offer Emergency Aid have their own process, ask your adviser if documentation is required to support your request for Emergency Aid, and what forms of documentation are acceptable.

If you do submit documents, please remember:

Do not submit original documents to your financial aid office. The financial aid office needs to retain documentation for their records, so they can't return them to you. You should submit copies of your documents only.

Be sure to keep a written record of your communications with the financial aid office, including copies of letters and conversation notes. You can download a free SwiftStudent worksheet to help you keep track of names, dates, and conversations.

What should I expect after my Emergency Aid Request? 

Your financial aid office may need additional documents or information to make a decision.

Make sure to check your official school email address every day so that you don't miss a response from your financial aid office. You can also reach out to your financial aid office to check on the status of your request.

If your request is approved, the financial aid office will share how much more aid you can expect to receive, if any. If you are offered a loan, it's important to consider the type of loan and how the amount will help you reach educational goals.

If your request is denied, it doesn't mean you're out of options. Ask your financial aid office why the request was denied and what other community or institutional resources are available.

Sample Emergency Aid Appeal Letter

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Sample Emergency Aid Appeal Letter

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