Undergraduate Financial Aid

Appeal Process for Aid Awards

Brown has an appeal process for requesting reconsideration of awards if a significant change in a family's financial circumstances can be documented, or there are special circumstances that were not considered initially.

Brown has an appeal process for requesting reconsideration of an award for both domestic and international students. The Financial Aid Appeal form and International petition to apply are the student’s tool for providing information critical to the review of the appeal. If a brief letter or email would be more appropriate for explaining the circumstance, students can send the information in that format.

Students will be notified via email of the appeal decision. Submission of an appeal does not guarantee an adjustment to a student's award.

If a student has received a need-based financial aid award from another institution that is substantially different from the Brown award, we encourage the student to provide our office with a copy of the other school's award letter. Keep in mind that financial aid packages from institutions that award merit or athletic scholarships may differ greatly from a Brown financial aid award. As a member of the Ivy League, Brown does not award merit or athletic scholarships. Use Brown's document upload feature to send a copy of the award letter to our office.

Changes in Financial Circumstances

If your family experiences a significant or unexpected change after receiving your initial financial aid award for the academic year, or if you believe there are special circumstances that were not considered in the initial review of your financial aid application, please notify us in writing.

Use the Appeal Form to help you explain and document special circumstances such as a significant and unexpected change in income due to job loss, salary reduction or a change in benefits.

Understanding the Appeal Process

In the appeal, include details about unique circumstances, how this will impact your family's income and/or expenses, and when these circumstances occurred. Include as much documentation as possible; for example, letters from third parties, pay stubs, canceled checks and billing statements. About two weeks after the appeal is submitted, students will receive written notification of the appeal decision. Submitting an appeal does not guarantee an adjustment to a student's financial aid award.

In most cases, the appeal process provides our office with comprehensive information regarding how the changes have affected your ability to contribute to educational expenses. If you feel a brief letter or email would be more appropriate to explain your circumstance, feel free to send the information in that format.

Contact the Office of Financial Aid if you have questions about the appeal process.

International Student Appeal Policy

A limited number of international students who do not receive University Scholarship at the time of admission may petition to apply for financial aid in the following extenuating circumstances:

  • Death of a wage-earning parent
  • Civil war in the student’s home country
  • Natural geological disaster in the student’s home country that impacts the family

Additionally, in extremely rare cases, if an international student has completed at least four semesters at Brown, and their family has experienced a substantial and sustained financial loss that jeopardizes the student’s ability to complete their undergraduate education at Brown, the student may petition to apply for financial aid. In cases in which international students have third-party sponsors who help pay for their education, the loss of funding from a sponsor does not, by itself, constitute a substantial financial loss in the evaluation of financial aid eligibility and therefore is not an event that warrants a petition.

If an international student experiences any of the eligible circumstances outlined above, the student may consider submitting a petition to apply. Questions regarding this process should be directed to the Office of Financial Aid.

In any year, the number of petitions granted will be limited by the amount of need-based University Scholarships available to fund such petitions. A determination will be made by the Office of Financial Aid on both the outcome of the petition to apply and the potential amount of University scholarship. University Scholarship awarded through this petition process is for the fall and spring terms only.