Are there things you can do to try and get more money if you don’t get enough aid for college? Yes, you can ask to have the college reconsider your financial aid award and it is possible that they might give more money. But, in most cases, the college will not change your aid award or if they do, it will be to increase the loan portion of the award. And at that point you need to try and figure out how you are going to pay for that college.
The Wall Street Journal recently had an article on how to compare aid awards and ask for more money. Is it important to understand how to compare aid awards? Sure. But articles like this miss the real point.
The real time to think about financial aid is when you are first deciding which colleges to apply to. At that time you can consider how each college handles financial aid to make sure you are applying to colleges that are likely to give you aid.
If you might qualify for need based aid, look at colleges that meet the highest percent of need. Looking at merit aid? Then look at colleges that will value what you have whether that is high grades, a top athlete, a musician or whatever.
Then, once aid awards come in, you can decide which of the good awards are best for you. By thinking about financial aid earlier in the process, you have a much higher chance of being able to afford that dream college.