Financial Aid Application – CSS Profile Form

Although seniors in high school are focused on completing their applications for college admission, it is also important to focus energies on the college financing process as well.

Something to think about NOW, is the CSS Profile Form. The CSS Profile Form is a product of the College Board and is used by students to apply for non-Federal financial aid at hundreds of colleges and universities in the United States. Many private colleges require applicants to complete the CSS Profile Form as they use information recorded on the form to review student eligibility for scholarships and other aid programs offered by the individual private colleges. Although the CSS Profile Form is required by hundreds of colleges (private) in the country, it is not required by all private colleges. Since there is a hefty fee to complete this form (CSS Profile Form costs $25 to create and submit to one school; with additional schools it costs $16 per additional report ` A limited amount of fee waivers are available to low-income families), one should only complete the CSS Profile Form if it is required by the college(s) that you are applying to. Check the list of colleges that require this form on the College Board’s website before sending to colleges.

Student can begin completing the CSS Profile Form NOW! Students should submit it at least two weeks before the financial aid deadline at the colleges where you are applying. Check with the colleges for their specific deadlines and be sure to complete it on time.

When it comes to financial aid, the CSS Profile Form is often confused with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Please don’t confuse the two as they are two very different forms. There are many differences between the CSS Profile Form and the FAFSA, such as the type of aid they help you to apply for, the associated costs, timing of completion, and which schools require the forms. As stated above, there is a cost associated with completing the CSS Profile Form, however the FAFSA is FREE. Also, only some of the private colleges require the CSS Profile Form, however, ALL COLLEGES that administer Federal Financial Aid Programs REQUIRE the FAFSA to be completed every year. The CSS Profile Form can be completed beginning in October, however, the FAFSA application opens up beginning in January. The CSS Profile Form is used by colleges to evaluate applicants for institutional monies, whereby the FAFSA is used by ALL schools to evaluate applicants for eligibility for Federal Financial Aid Programs (including student loans, grants, and work programs).

Because the CSS Profile Form is used by private colleges to review student eligibility for private scholarships/financial aid programs specific to their individual college, these colleges may consider a wide range of factors when reviewing for aid eligibility, such as the value of a parent’s primary residence as well as life insurance contract values, for example. Because of this, private colleges may request varying information from applicants based on their awarding process. Be sure to fully complete the CSS Profile From and follow the instructions for each specific college.

Don’t delay! If you are applying to any private colleges, please check whether you need to complete the CSS Profile Form or not. If you do, complete it prior to the colleges deadline!

Don’t miss out on financial aid opportunities! Check out our newly updated publication ~ Financial Aid Sense which will guide you every step of the way! A vital read for anyone needing to finance a college education!  "Financial aid book and resource for college"


Jan Marie Combs, EzineArticles Basic Author