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As you are exploring your financial aid options, you may come across the CSS Profile. CSS stands for College Scholarship Service which is administered by College Board. (The same organization who administers AP exams, PSAT, and SAT). Hundreds of colleges and universities nationwide, most being private, will require it as a supplement to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Be sure to check if colleges you are interested in utilize the CSS Profile! You can do so here. Read on to learn more about CSS Profile!

Why do I fill out the CSS Profile?

The CSS Profile allows you to be considered for need-based financial aid from certain schools. It is more in-depth than the FAFSA, so colleges can see your true financial need on a deeper level. It also provides the opportunity for students who are undocumented to be considered for institutional aid, unlike the FAFSA.

When do I fill out the CSS Profile?

The CSS Profile typically opens on October 1st for the upcoming school year. You will want to submit your CSS Profile no later than two weeks before the earliest college or scholarship application deadline.

What do I need to fill out the CSS Profile?

Since the CSS Profile and FAFSA application are pretty similar, they will require a lot of the same documents. So it’s wise to go ahead and get them together.

  • Your College Board login, if you took the SAT, PSAT, or AP exams, you should already have this.
  • Federal tax returns (your guardians’ and yours if you file taxes)
  • Your SSN and guardians’ (if applicable)
  • Record of any untaxed income
  • Bank statements
  • Mortgage information
  • Investment records
  • Your debit or credit card.

The initial cost of the application is $25. To send reports to additional schools, it is $16. If you qualify for a free SAT waiver, your application fee will be waived and you will have the ability to send your CSS Profile to up to 8 schools for free. Here is more information about the SAT fee waiver.

The CSS Profile takes time and effort on your behalf, but your effort should pay off in the form of grants and scholarships. If you ever run into any questions while filling out your CSS Profile, take advantage of the email support, live chat, and phone support that College Board offers.