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Nitro Knowledge. Your Guide to Paying for College.


A lot can happen between when you file your FAFSA and receive your student aid offer letter. It could be that new circumstances mean  your ability to pay for college has changed. Maybe you think the college overlooked something when it decided your award amount. Or maybe your student aid offer was simply a lot less than you expected. 

No need to panic. You always have options. One of those options is to craft a well-written financial aid appeal letter. Here, we're going to tell you how to write one. Bonus: We'll even show you a sample that you can customize.

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For most students, even generous award packages leave a significant gap between the cost of college and what you (and your family) can afford to pay. If that’s the case for you, a well-crafted appeal letter — with documented reasons for your appeal — might convince the college of your choice to increase your financial aid award.

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Typically, when people think of financial aid, they think of need-based grants and federal loans that are subsidized or have other favorable terms, largely given to students with demonstrated financial need. But there are plenty of aid options for families with higher incomes.

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The Stafford Loan is a federal education loan offered to eligible students to cover higher education costs. 

The term ‘Stafford Loan’ is a bit outdated. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education started disbursing student loans directly, under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. Since then, federal loans are more often referred to as direct student loans. 

So, you may see student loans referred to as Federal Stafford Loans, Direct Student Loans, or Direct Stafford Loans. The good news: they all mean the same thing. 

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It’s no surprise that colleges are seeing a deluge in financial aid appeals ahead of the fall semester. Obviously, COVID-19 has impacted many people’s ability to pay for college.

If you’re planning to appeal your award, it’s important to know that the process is less straight-forward than usual this year. While that may create a bit more chaos on the school’s side, it may actually be a benefit to you. Here’s what you need to know.

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With only a week to go before the traditional May 1st National College Decision Day, you may find yourself second-guessing your school choice — or possibly your decision to attend college in the fall at all. Nothing is normal during a pandemic. 

How can you navigate one of the biggest decisions of your life when it’s impossible to know what life will look several months from now? Here are five things to think about. 

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