CSS Profile Application

The CSS Profile application is a form that is used by some colleges and universities to determine financial need for aid that is disbursed by the school. This is not to be confused with the FAFSA, which is the application for federal funds. The funds that are given out by the information given on the CSS Profile application are usually school funds.

Schools use the CSS Profile application in addition to the FAFSA because most schools that use the profile also accept early admission students and the school can’t get a gauge on student and parent finances for early admission because the FAFSA does not come out until January 1st and the school needs finances well before the application even comes out.

The Profile application is much longer and more in depth than the FAFSA as it tends to look much farther into student and parent finances than the other application. There is also costs involved with filling out the profile application, however, you can get a fee waiver under some circumstances. The fees for the 2012-2013 school year application are $25 for the application and $16 for each school you wish it to be sent to. This can add up very quickly so be sure you know what schools you are really interested in.

Fee waivers are granted to students are eligible for the USDA reduced price lunch guidelines and those who parents have under about $33,000 in assets. You are not charged your fees until the application is complete and if you are eligible for the fee waiver, you will be notified then. You should also check with your school to see if they are giving out fee codes. Some participating schools will give you a code that will allow you to get the fee waived for that particular school only.

You must allow yourself a few hours to complete the CSS profile application online as there are several questions to answer and you might need time to get financial information that you do not have onhand. Make sure you have tax forms, bank statements, financial statements, and investment account information.

There are also several scholarship programs that use the application to determine your eligibility. It is possible that the school does not use it for general financial aid, but only for special scholarships. Check with the financial aid office to find out if you must fil out the CSS Profile application.