Writing a School Hardship Letter (& Example)

Changes in life circumstances can often mean that some luxuries in life become unaffordable. However, education is far from a luxury. Fortunately, many schools and universities have a fee waive program in place to help students who can't afford to pay tuition. This is true of both private schools and universities. In order to qualify for these programs, however, you will need to write a hardship letter to your school requesting help.

This is a formal letter, and it can be tough to write. So we're going to be telling you how to structure your letter as well as giving you a sample so that you can make sure that you're doing it right. Before you write your hardship letter, read on to find out how to do it effectively and with the minimum of stress.

The Structure

The structure for a hardship letter is fairly simple. You start with a salutation (dear...), then you introduce yourself and if you're already a student give your class and major if it's appropriate. You then explain your hardship, including what you have done to minimize the impact of the hardship on your school attendance and work. Then express your concerns about how your education will be affected without financial help, followed by a request to work out a plan to help you pay. Say thanks and sign off, and you're all done.

Sample Hardship Letter for School

The structure of the letter is simple enough, but it might help for you to read a sample. This is a general sample hardship letter for school that you can tailor to your own needs.





Fee Waiver Request Letter

Dear Mr. Brown,

My name is John Smith, and I am currently a junior at Varsity State college. I'm majoring in biology and chemistry. Unfortunately, I am put in the position of needing to ask for help to cover my tuition expenses. 

Sadly, my father passed away earlier this year, and because of this my family can no longer give me the financial assistance that they have in the past to help me pay for my education. Since this time I have started working part time at a food delivery service in order to earn money to put towards my school fees. However, my demanding school schedule makes it impossible for me to work more than twenty hours per week.

I have also applied for financial aid from the appropriate sources, and have been granted a small stipend to help pay for my tuition. This is enough to cover only twenty percent of tuition costs. 

I am concerned that without further aid I will be forced to withdraw from school. As you can see from my included transcript, I am only twenty credits from graduation, and have maintained a steady B average throughout my college career. 

Due to these circumstances I am forced to ask for aid in paying my tuition, or lowering of my tuition charges. I would be happy to provide you with any documentation you need to help you understand my position, and ask that you strongly consider my application for the university's fee assistance program.

I thank you in advance for your consideration of this matter. I can be reached at the email, address, or phone number included at the top of this letter.

           I look forward to hearing from you,

                      John Smith.

Tips for Greater Success

Address the letter personally if you can, look for the name of the director of the fee waiver program. If you can't find a name, address your letter simply to the Admissions Department.

Be brief but thorough. You need to describe your hardship so that the reader understands the true impact it has on you, but it's unnecessary to include too much detail. In the example above it is enough to say “my father passed away - you don't need to include how or why. Short and sweet will make your letter easier to read.

Be honest. You might not always have been the best student, and if this is the case you should recognize it and also state your intention to better yourself.

Include documents to help your case. A transcript of your grades is always helpful, and a letter of recommendation from a professor in your major or a teacher of a favorite class may also help your case.

Whether you're the greatest student in the world or not, everyone deserves a chance to have an education, and you may find that your school is anxious to help you with the financial costs of learning. All you have to do is ask, and a great hardship letter will help you do that.