How can my child get a better financial aid package?
Let's assume you and your child are comparing financial aid awards from several colleges. Is it possible to request a more favorable aid package? The answer is yes. Financial aid administrators have the authority to exercise "professional judgment" to reduce the loan portion of an aid award and increase the grant, scholarship, and/or work-study component. Your chances of prevailing are best in two situations:
(1) You have a special circumstance that affects your ability to pay. Examples include a recent job loss, high medical bills, or some other factor that puts above-average constraints on your income.
(2) Your child has been accepted at two competing colleges, and one has offered a more generous aid package. Many colleges don't mind losing an applicant to a more (or less) selective college, but they generally don't like to lose an applicant to a direct competitor.
Even if neither of these situations applies, you can still contact the college's aid administrator. In any case, the best approach is to send a polite business letter, with a follow-up telephone call or meeting. Explain in positive terms how much your child wants to attend that college and highlight your child's accomplishments. Your success will likely depend on whether your child will help the college meet its enrollment goals, and the amount of discretionary aid the college has available.