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    css/financial aid profile

    Posted : October 9, 2007
    Last Updated : September 17, 2015

    css/financial aid profile

    The College Scholarship Service (CSS)/Financial Aid PROFILE is the financial aid application service of the College Board. In addition to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), many private schools (and scholarship programs) also use the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE to determine financial need and calculate the student's expected family contribution (EFC). The PROFILE is used to help award nonfederal student aid funds.

    The CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE is only available online. If you are applying for aid for the first time, you must register with the College Board prior to completing the PROFILE online. You should register at least two weeks before the filing deadlines of your participating schools or scholarship programs.

    To complete the PROFILE, you must pay a $9 nonrefundable registration fee and $16 for each college or scholarship program to which you want information sent. These charges may vary from year to year. You can pay by debit or credit card. A limited number of fee waivers are granted to first-time applicants based on the financial information provided on the PROFILE.

    Completing the PROFILE
    After you register online, you can choose to complete the PROFILE application immediately or return to it at a later time. You will have the option to print a pre-application worksheet, which allows you to review the application questions in advance of filling out the online form. Be sure to have tax returns (if available) and financial documents on hand when filling out the application.

    Information Collected
    The PROFILE asks for more detailed information than the FAFSA. Information collected by the PROFILE may include:

    • Value of parents' home
    • Medical and dental expenses not covered by insurance
    • Trust funds for siblings
    • Cost of primary and/or secondary education tuition
    • Businesses or farms owned by you or your parents
    • Etc.

    The College Board also allows colleges to add their own questions to the PROFILE questionnaire.

    After Submitting the PROFILE
    After you submit your application, you will receive an online PROFILE acknowledgment. This acknowledgment provides a record of the information you entered on your application and gives you information about the next steps required to complete the financial aid process.

    CSS PROFILE vs. the FAFSA  



    used to award nonfederal student aid funds (i.e. school-funded grants, scholarships, and loan programs)

    used to award federal student aid funds

    required by only some private colleges and universities

    required by all schools in order for student to be considered for federal and state sponsored aid programs

    can be submitted in the fall

    cannot be submitted before January 1 of the year for which aid is needed (Please note: Beginning in 2016, students will be able to file the FAFSA starting in October instead of the following January.)

    nonrefundable registration fee and a charge for each school where information is sent; costs may vary from year to year

    completely free if completed at www.fafsa.ed.gov; some websites with similar names will charge a fee to submit applications

    uses the Institutional Methodology (IM) need analysis formula to calculate expected family contribution

    uses the Federal Methodology (FM) need analysis formula to calculate expected family contribution

    requires minimum student contribution

    uses the previous year's income of student to determine if there should be an expected contribution from the student's earnings

    For more specific information about the PROFILE, contact your high school counselor or check out the College Board's Student Guide to the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE.


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