College Center » Financial aid- CSS PROFILE

Financial aid- CSS PROFILE

WHAT is the CSS PROFILE? 
The PROFILE is an online application that collects information used by certain colleges and scholarship programs to award institutional aid funds. (All federal funds are awarded based on the 
FAFSA, available after Oct. 1st.) Some colleges may require additional information, such as tax returns or an institutional application. If your parents are divorced, some colleges will also require your noncustodial parent to complete the Noncustodial PROFILE.

WHEN do I file the PROFILE? 

You may file the PROFILE as early as Oct. 1st. However, you should file no later than two weeks before the EARLIEST priority filing date specified by your colleges or programs.

WHO must file the PROFILE? 
Check your colleges’/programs’ information to determine whether they require the PROFILE. A list of colleges that require the PROFILE from at least some of their applicants is found within the PDF attachment below. The most up-to-date list, including search capabilities and additional information, can be found by clicking on “list of colleges, universities, and scholarship programs” on the PROFILE Index Page.

HOW do I file the PROFILE? 

You file the PROFILE 
online. If you do not have a computer at home, you can print the Pre-Application Worksheet and Instructions at the Library, and review them with your parents. Return to the library or come to the College Office, use the computers, and enter the information by logging back into your application using your secure username and password. 

WHAT does the PROFILE cost? 
The fee for the initial application and one college or program report is $25. Additional reports are $16. Payment may be made via credit card, debit card (Visa or MC) or online check. Fee waivers are granted automatically — based on the information entered on the PROFILE application — to students who are first-time college applicants and are from families with low incomes and assets.  International students are not eligible for fee waivers. This waiver covers the application fee and the reporting fees for up to six colleges or scholarship programs. 

Information to have available when you register:

  • Type of tax return you and your parent(s) will file for the current year (e.g., 1040, 1040 EZ, foreign return)
  • If your parents receive TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) or SSI (Supplemental Security Income)
  • If your parents are self-employed or own business(es) and/or farm(s)
  • Your parents’ housing status (e.g., own, rent)
  • Your personal information, including your Social Security number

Once you register, you will find detailed instructions and an extensive Help Desk, including Frequently Asked Questions, online.

The Process: Three Easy Steps

  1. Register — Your PROFILE application is tailored to your family situation, based on your registration answers and the colleges or programs you select. After registering, you can securely save your application and return to complete it at any time, 24/7, using your collegeboard.org username and password.
  2. Complete the Application — Use the customized Pre-Application Worksheet and Instructions to help you complete the PROFILE. As you answer questions, the system provides online help and edits to minimize mistakes.
  3. Submit the Application — The date and time you submit your completed application will be recorded based on Eastern Time. You pay online and will receive an online PROFILE Acknowledgment as a record of your payment and application information. The acknowledgment may include your next steps to complete your financial aid application process, so be sure to print a copy for your records. At any time, you may add a college or program by going to the PROFILE home page and clicking “Add Colleges to Submitted Application.” You will be charged $16 for each college or program you add. Any unused fee-waiver eligibility will be automatically applied to your charges. You may not delete any recipients once you have submitted your application.

Questions? Contact customer support at 1-305-829-9793 (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, with extended hours from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., January through April) or email help@cssprofile.org.