OK, are the colleges financial aid officers reading this gone now? Good. The real answer to the question is “it depends.”
Colleges will tell you that they don’t negotiate financial aid awards. So if you call them up and say “can we negotiate our financial aid award” they will probably say no. Although, in the current economic client, some colleges may say yes.
The better way to handle this issue is to take a softer approach. If you have had a change in your families financial circumstances since you filed the FAFSA or PROFILE, then you should definitely let the financial aid office know of your changed circumstances. So, loss of job, decreased hours and decreased pay, give them a call. Most colleges will be willing to work with a change of circumstance.
But what if the only issue is that College A gave you better financial aid than College B and you really want to go to College B?
Call College B and talk with a financial aid officer. Tell them that you really want to go to College B but College A gave you more money. Tell them you don’t understand why you got more money from College A and could College B explain why that might be. Ask College B if there are any options they might have to improve your financial aid so that you can attend their college.
No matter what the financial aid officer says, don’t argue or get mad. That will never work if you hope to get more money from the college.
This approach is most successful if College A and College B are competitors. It is also most successful if you are a very desirable student because of good grades, good test scores, that sort of thing. Be prepared to send College B a copy of the financial aid award from College A.
If you follow this advice, you will have a reasonable chance of having an improved financial aid award.