Most of the information I provide in my blogs is focused on completing the FAFSA. But there are other types of applications which are used by colleges to determine financial aid eligibility. One of these is the CSS Profile. Put out by College Board, the company that oversees SAT and AP testing, this application is used to determine non-federal institutional aid. It delves into more of the financial details for a family, including Information about your family’s assets, income, housing, business income and other factors such as medical expenses, and is particularly concerned with obtaining information from non-custodial parents in cases of divorce or separation.
The 2022-23 CSS Profile application will be online at cssprofile.org starting October 1, 2021. Check your colleges’ information to determine whether they require this application, or refer to the list of participating colleges. Tips for completing the application include:
What is the process for completing the CSS Profile?
You will sign-in using the same College Board username and password you created for your SAT, PSAT or AP exams. Have the documentation available which you use to complete the FAFSA. The application provides online help to guide you through the completion steps. A dashboard is provided which shows your payment receipt and any next steps, such as uploading documents through the Institutional Documentation Service (IDOC). You may also add additional schools at any time by clicking on “Add a College or Program,” but be careful to look for any additional information requirements. If you make a mistake, or need to include additional information after submission, you can update your application once by clicking “Correct Your CSS Profile” on your dashboard.
What is the procedure for reporting parents?
In today’s world of mixed and blended families, the procedure for listing parents can get somewhat confusing. The CSS Profile expects students to report their biological or adoptive parents, current stepparents, current parental partners or current legal guardians. Some colleges, in the case of divorce or separation, may require the CSS Profile from a non-custodial parent. Each parent will complete the application separately. If you have no contact with your noncustodial parent, you may request to waive this requirement, but submission of a request does not guarantee a waiver.
What if I am an independent student?
Policies for independent students are set by each college. Some may still require applicants to provide parental information. Direct any questions you have in this area to your college’s financial aid office.
What if I need help?
Helpful information is included along the way as you complete the CSS Profile. Click into any answer field and the tips will appear. If you need additional information, you can directly contact the customer support center. You can either chat live or speak by phone to a representative. Agents are ready to assist you Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Is there a cost for the CSS Profile?
The fee for the initial application is $25. Additional reports are $16. Payment may be made via debit or credit card. Fee waivers may be available for domestic undergraduate students whose family income is up to $100,000.
What if my family’s financial situation changed in 2021?
If your family has suffered a substantial financial change in 2021 due to COVID, natural disaster, job loss, medical emergency, or other incident, document those changes and contact each college directly to update your current status.
Always be sure to submit the CSS Profile with sufficient time to meet your schools’ financial aid application deadlines. Unlike the FAFSA, you may not be required to complete the CSS Profile every year. Check with your college to determine if it will be required beyond your freshman year.
CFAA is here to help with every step of the financial aid process, including walking through the FAFSA and CSS Profile applications. Set up a CFAA new client free strategy session to learn more about finding ways to pay for college. To get the latest financial aid information and college application to-do lists, look for my weekly JustAskJodi emails and check out my monthly CFAA e-newsletter.