I now realize that financial aid is a malleable system. My parents both got raises last year, but this raise was due to the fact that both of their jobs were transferred to MA from NH; the additional income, as clearly stated on each pay stub, is meant to be compensation for the state income tax MA charges (NH doesn't have income tax) and commute costs; we don't actually have additional disposable income.
When I got my aid package notice 3 weeks ago I didn't like what I saw and asked for more. I provided no documentation -- nothing, just sent an email to financial aid saying that I disagree with their decision. Five days later I get a new aid notice in the mail. By asking nicely they gave me an extra $1500 for the year. I was pleased, but I'm a good student and feel like I deserve a scholarship; my GPA was 3.8 when I transferred in, I had all the letters of recommendations and don't understand why I didn't get one. I called them to ask why I wasn't awarded a merit scholarship, they said they had no idea and would look into it.
I also got my mom to call and give them the "I graduated in 1980 from the college and have been donating since" message. They asked for documentation proving our financial circumstances and we provided. Today I got a new aid package. They gave me a $3000 dollar scholarship but removed my grant by the same amount . Is this a game? I called, they said it's a correction to my last notice which was a response to my first inquiry for more money. Financial aid also told me that my appeal is pending and I can expect a new notice within a week.
So how hard can I push here? Is it common practice to give scholarships and reduce grants equivalently? I don't understand this .