Prepare Your CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE®

While the CSS PROFILE® is required for only about 20 percent of private colleges, for students applying to those schools the application can be overwhelming. Many high school guidance counselors spend most of their time preparing students for submission of the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid (which is required for all schools, both public and private), leaving little time to discuss the CSS PROFILE.

The CSS PROFILE form is used primarily by colleges for determining non-federal financial aid, such as institutional scholarships, grants, and loans. The CSS PROFILE is also a more detailed questionnaire than the FAFSA, focusing on information about the specific programs at schools you to which you will be applying.

Students who apply for early acceptance may need to have this essential application completed as early as October 31st of their senior year of high school, depending on each school’s deadlines, so it is essential to get a prompt start. Rushing to complete the CSS PROFILE at the last minute can lead to costly mistakes that can affect financial aid eligibility.

Start the process as soon as you know where you will be applying for financial aid, at least two weeks prior to the earliest deadline on your list of schools. You’ll need an online College Board Student Account to register on the CSS PROFILE site.

You can print out a customized worksheet to help you review the application questions ahead of time. Be prepared to answer questions about all family income and all assets (including retirement assets, home equity and small business assets) plus household expenses. There may also be additional questions required by the schools you are applying to.

We are happy to help you navigate the CSS PROFILE and other college planning issues; contact us with your questions.

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