Need help writing a statement of need for financial aid
February 28, 2005 5:18 AM   Subscribe

I was accepted into an art program and now I'm trying to apply for financial aid. Problem is, I've never done this before, and I need to include a "statement of need and intent" with my portfolio. I'm pretty solid on what a statement of intent is (what I hope to get out of the program, etc.) but I have no idea how to approach a statement of need - exactly how do you politely phrase "I need help paying for school because I'm broke?"

I've Googled for examples and come up short. Does anyone have any suggestions or hints to get me on the right track when I'm writing this?
posted by annathea to Education (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Most schools have financial aid counselors who can walk you through the process. I would call the financial aid department and see how they can help you.
posted by caddis at 5:44 AM on February 28, 2005

I have a friend who is a freelance illustrator and professor at an arts college. You can contact him a la email

and ask him to help you out with that statement (as he knows about finances and school). He maybe able to point you in the right direction.

If you need a point of reference, tell him that me (Scott Thigpen -- don't use Hands of Manos) directed you to him.
posted by Hands of Manos at 6:05 AM on February 28, 2005

Thank you Scott, I appreciate the contact. By the way, your blog has become one of my favourite daily reads.

Caddis, I'm not sure if there is a financial aid department - it's an extremely small school, more like an atelier-with-university-credit. However, that shouldn't preclude me from contacting them and asking a few questions, I guess. I have to admit, I'm nervous and unfamiliar with the process, and it's causing a little hesitation. And some of my previous questions (prior to getting accepted) were left unanswered by the contacts I had there.

I'm 25, I've never been to college, and I'm financing this on my own. I'm thrilled at the chance, and afraid I'll screw it up through ignorance of the process. So thanks for your help!
posted by annathea at 6:48 AM on February 28, 2005

What they probably/usually need to know from a statement of need is:

a) That you are not ignoring other sources of help - so you need to say clearly that you are self-supporting and don't have access to family funding.

b) That you are paying for as much as you can - something like "My education is a priority for me, and I have worked full-time while saving to pay for it."

c) If you fall into a group for which they may have money set aside - if you are from a disadvantaged family, are the first in your family to go to college, or are a member of an ethnic group that's underrepresented at their school, they need to know this. That's not to say you should be overbearing. A statement like "Because there are few opportunities for employment on the Apache reservation where I grew up, my family has always faced financial challenges," will give them enough information to ask further Qs if they need to.

Most important: CONTACT THE SCHOOL'S FA OFFICE - they may be looking for specific statements or info, and you won't know what those are unless you ask!
posted by booklemur at 8:19 AM on February 28, 2005 [1 favorite]

I know that FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) works for art school, as my partner is at RISD and getting some aid from that program. I'm not sure if the eligibility requirements cover your specific case, but it's worth a look.
posted by fionab at 8:21 AM on February 28, 2005

Also, if you are male and haven't registered for the draft, point this out also, because you will be ineligible for federal funding.

If this is the case, don't worry- you can get funding elsewhere.
posted by wezelboy at 10:28 AM on February 28, 2005

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