Are college financial aid packages subject to negotiation?

If your financial aid package isn’t what you expected, there is an opportunity to change it. While financial aid packages are not necessarily subject to negotiation, you can take advantage of the aid appeal process. 

If something changes between when you file your FAFSA® and get your financial aid award letter, there may be an opportunity for you to appeal to your school for more aid. 

Here are three reasons why you might be able to file for aid appeal.

You or Your Family Are Facing Financial Hardship

If you or one of your parents lost a job, experienced a dip in income, or amassed thousands in medical bills, that could qualify you for aid appeal. A school considers major changes to your financial situation when it comes to financial aid appeal.

Keep in mind that each school process aid appeal differently, so you’ll want to talk to your financial aid office about what might qualify you before going through the appeal process. 

You Feel You’ve Excelled Academically.

If you’re an exceptional student and feel that your record exemplifies excellence, but your financial aid package doesn’t, that is grounds for aid appeal.

Of course, you’ll need to back up your claims with your GPA and transcripts that showcase your great work. Gather all your documents to submit them alongside your aid appeal. Highlight anything that might not be obvious on your transcripts, such as community service or work you’ve done outside of school, on your aid appeal letter. 

Admitting great students is what every college is after. If you have to go out of your way to prove your hard work, and it has the potential to keep you from taking out student loan debt — do it! 

You’ve Got a Competing Offer

If you were accepted to two schools and one of them offered a better aid package, you can use that to appeal the aid package at another. 

Submit the competing aid package alongside your aid appeal letter, letting the school know that you’d prefer to spend the next four years at its institution. Give them all the reasons you want to attend the school and how you feel it will help you excel along your career path. 

A competing offer is a great reason to submit an aid appeal because you already have the proof that you’re worth more. 

Aid appeal is a simple process that you can do yourself. Check out our step-by-step guide to filing an appeal on your own here.

Or if you need a little extra help, reach out to us at