The CSS Profile, which stands for the College Scholarship Service Profile, is an online financial aid application used by many colleges and universities in the United States to determine a student's eligibility for non-federal financial aid, such as institutional grants, scholarships, and need-based aid. It is administered by the College Board, the same organization responsible for standardized tests like the SAT. Beginning in October, families can submit the CSS Profile to any schools on their list that require it!
Here are some key points to understand about the CSS Profile:
Purpose: The CSS Profile is designed to provide colleges and universities with a more comprehensive picture of a student's financial situation than the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is used for federal financial aid programs like Pell Grants and federal student loans. It takes into account a wider range of factors, including home equity, family assets, and other sources of income beyond what the FAFSA considers.
Application Process: To apply for financial aid using the CSS Profile, students and their parents or guardians must complete the online application, which is typically available in the fall of each year for the following academic year. It involves providing detailed financial information, such as income, assets, expenses, and other financial factors. Each college or university sets its own deadline for CSS Profile submission, which can vary from school to school. Check to see if your colleges require the CSS Profile here: https://profile.collegeboard.org/profile/ppi/participatingInstitutions.aspx
Fee: Unlike the FAFSA, which is free to submit, the CSS Profile comes with a fee for each college or university to which you send your application. However, fee waivers may be available for low-income students in certain cases.
School-Specific Requirements: Colleges and universities use the information from the CSS Profile to make individualized financial aid decisions. Some schools may require additional documentation or have their own specific forms that need to be submitted alongside the CSS Profile.
Data Sharing: The information provided on the CSS Profile is shared with the colleges and scholarship programs that you specify on your application. It is used to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is a measure of your family's ability to contribute to your education costs. Schools use this information to determine your eligibility for need-based financial aid.
Renewal: You must typically complete the CSS Profile each year you are seeking financial aid, as your financial situation may change from year to year.
Timeline: It's crucial to be aware of the deadlines for each college or university to which you are applying, as well as the timeline for CSS Profile submissions. Missing deadlines can affect your eligibility for certain types of financial aid.
In summary, the CSS Profile is an important tool for students and families seeking non-federal financial aid for college or university education in the United States. It allows institutions to assess a student's financial need more comprehensively and offer financial aid packages tailored to individual circumstances. It's essential to check with the colleges you are applying to for their specific financial aid application requirements and deadlines. See additional details in the attached!