Has anyone here successfully negotiated enough aid ED/EA?
This is a question that would be better asked in the college financial aid forum. You should pose it there.
But I can tell you what they'll say: if you need financial aid, don't apply ED! What have you got to "negotiate" with? You get a take it or leave it offer . . . and if you leave it, your child has just lost the chance to attend his or her dream school!
Not only do you have no leverage, you've also got no other offers to compare this one to. To take one example: let's say your student applies only to schools that meet 100% of need. Sounds simple, right? Except that each school has its own methodology for calculating your family's financial need. So the offers your student ends up with could be all over the map! The offer from the ED dream school could be the best . . . or it could be the worst. But you'll never know unless you turn it down and wait for the RD offers.
Early Action (EA) is not the same thing because it does not require an early commitment. The offer comes early - but your student's decision isn't required until May 1.
Run the net price calculators for the schools your student is most interested in. Call the school financial aid office and ask questions. And if there's a highly competitive dream school that guarantees to meet 100% of need and that really looks like it will come through for you financially, then you might
want to take the risk . . . maybe.
If the schools your student is considering, however, are schools that meet less than 100% of need, then that gamble probably isn't worth it. The offers your student ends up with could range from 0% of need to 100% of need (depending on how much they want your kid) - and there's no way you'd be able to predict that in advance.