Many financial aid applications can be completed online. These applications require information to be typed into the form and then submitted. However, other scholarships require physical applications to be sent via the U.S. postal system. For these applications, the inclusion of a letter that details an applicant’s desire and need for financial aid can be the one detail in favor of a student being awarded financial aid.
Find sources of financial aid. High school counselors are a good source of this information. Write down the addresses of these sources so that you can use them later when you’re writing a letter to ask for financial aid.
Gather your personal information. When you write your letter, you’ll want to include personal information such as the tax return information from your parents. It helps institutions award financial aid to you if you can show that you are in need of it.
Start writing your letter with a word processing program on a computer. Many of these programs have letter templates that you can use. If not, simply start with a new document. Make sure to use a font that is easy to read such as Ariel or Times New Roman.
Use the correct format for your letter. Although there are different styles, including indented paragraphs, you can’t go wrong with using a flush-left style, single-spaced and adding a blank line between paragraphs. Write the date, add a space, write your name and address, add a blank line and then write the name and address of the institution where you’re sending the letter.
Add a space, and then write the salutation. If you don’t have the name of a specific person, you can always write “To Whom It May Concern.”
Write the body of the letter after adding a blank line after the salutation. In the body, explain why you need financial aid. It also helps to explain why you’ll be a successful student. Support your claims with a list of your grades or other supportive evidence such as success with extracurricular activities.
Close the letter with “Sincerely,” leave a couple of blank lines for your signature and then type your name. Print the letter and place it in a stamped addressed envelope. You are ready to send your letter asking for financial aid.
Include a self-addressed stamped envelope with your letter to make it easier for a quick response.
Doug Hewitt has been writing for over 20 years and has a Master of Arts from University of North Carolina-Greensboro. He authored the book "The Practical Guide to Weekend Parenting," which includes health and fitness hints for parents. He and his wife, Robin, are coauthors of the "Free College Resource Book."