You can only receive financial aid if you (or your child) apply for it. How much you get is determined by the federal government's financial aid analysis via the FAFSA and the college's financial aid office.
Kinds of financial aid
Do you qualify?
How do they determine whether your family qualifies for aid? They use a number called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
Need is defined as the difference between the cost of attending college and your EFC:
Cost of attendance (COA) - EFC = Financial need