College is an expensive endeavor, and the past few years have seen colleges increase tuition fees to the point where writing a statement of financial need has become a necessary activity for millions of college students. This simple document may be one of the only ways to secure funding or increase tuition assistance, so it’s essential to get the wording and contents right.

Just as a job applicant has a lot riding on a cover letter, students have the same need to write an intelligent and concise statement of financial need to secure aid like scholarships and grants.

Make the Introduction Brief and Impactful

The most important part of your financial need letter is the first sentence and a brief paragraph. The details about your financial situation will come later, but at the outset it’s important to make sure the introduction is handled with care. Use just a few sentences to summarize your situation.

Information to Include in the Body of a Statement of Financial Need

After a strong introduction, the letter needs to include some simple facts about your education and how further financing will help you achieve your goals. You’ll want to focus on how lack of funding might make it impossible to complete your education or begin study. Cover these points in the body of your letter:

How you’re paying for college. Offer details on how you’re paying for college right now. For example, you may want to highlight your job, and how you’re making ends meet by working and going to college at the same time. Include your efforts to get student loans and any other additional funding you’ve managed to acquire.

Difficulties you’ve faced for funding. List the reasons why you’re having trouble getting the necessary funds together. Perhaps your federally funded loans don’t cover full tuition or you’ve had a change in family circumstances that led to your financial need.

How you benefit from aid. Showcase why you’re deserving of the financial aid and how it will help you reach your educational goals. Include a sentence or two about your future after college and how you’ll benefit from being able to cover tuition with assistance.

Other Beneficial Information to Include

In addition to offering basic details on your financial need, you may want to include some extra information. However, make sure that your letter doesn’t become too long. You don’t want to hand over a letter of financial need that requires staples and extra pages.

If you can’t fit the extra details on a single page and you believe the extra information would help your case, you need to rewrite your introduction and make it shorter.

Consider these extra details for your letter if they apply to your case, and only if they are relevant to the application:

  • Examples of your fiscal responsibility
  • Challenges you’ve already overcome
  • Past academic success

Polite and Concise Conclusion

You don’t need to ramble on any longer than is necessary in your conclusion. The person reading your letter already has a good idea about your financial situation and need. A short and polite conclusion will ensure that the reader knows you’re thankful for the opportunity to receive a scholarship or aid.

Students who can attend college without applying for scholarships and financial aid are extraordinarily lucky, but the number of kids who can afford college without help today is dwindling fast. This means that there will be many other students vying for important scholarships and aid packages. Make sure your statement of financial need rises to the top of all the other letters with meaningful yet concise details.

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