Just fyi, the financial aid you hear about at this moment is usually just a portion of the final amount. Other amounts will be trickling in later. This does not take into account your financial "need" - and the government may say you have a need even if your income is up to $150,000. It doesn't not take into account any special scholarships that the school may have. It doesn't take into account engineering scholarships, and private companies have been pouring a lot of money into college scholarships for engineering recently. I'm expecting that large remaining amount to get smaller - but they may keep you waiting until May before you finally know the REAL amount you will pay.
Call the admission, and say, "We are so excited with our son's acceptance, and with his scholarship. We will not be able to attend without further financial aid. Do you have any other scholarships available, so that we can attend your school? We applied to your school first, because it is Nate's first choice, and we're worried we can't afford it and will have to disappoint our son."
That will tell them that they are his #1 school, that they will be able to retain him into sophomore year, and that you need more money. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, you know. If you don't tell them you need more money, they won't know you need more money. Leave it all open-ended, without committing to anything, but make your needs politely known.
You're in GREAT shape for the first step in scholarships - it's still OCTOBER for goodness sake! Woo Hoo! Party!
Colleges are all different in a million ways, and one of those ways is how they apply scholarship money. Some will subtract scholarship money from the other merit-based aid. But other colleges will allow you to keep both, and they will subtract scholarship money from your need. In essence, some will ADD the money, and others will SUBTRACT it. It's an important question for colleges when you visit, and a good reason for parents to discuss finances with the admission or financial aid department. It really, REALLY varies by college.
I have been enjoying your blog very much as I look forward to sending my children to college.
I needed to respond to this blog because I feel confused. In our experience, when a student is awarded a scholarship, that money is subtracted from the amount that your child is given for financial aide. It seems to me that applying for scholarships has become completely useless. Am I missing something?