With all of the hustle and bustle of both tax season and FAFSA filing, we tend to think that the FAFSA is the on and only financial aid form to concern ourselves with. That's not true for some, however. In addition to this staple of a financial aid document, other schools use unique financial aid applications as well as the CSS Profile. So, don't forget about the CSS Profile!
A quick rundown, for those who might need the inside scoop on this document, goes something like this...
The CSS Profile can, if you will, be thought of as the cousin of the FAFSA. The application does have a few difference, however.
- The CSS Profile is primarily used by private colleges and universities in conjunction with the FAFSA.
- The CSS Profile helps to determine eligibility for nonfederal financial aid, i.e. university-sponsored grants and scholarships.
- The application period goes on practically all school year, beginning in October.
- The CSS Profile does have some strings attached--purse strings, that is. Applicants must pay $25 for the application and $16 additional dollars for each school it will be sent to.
- The CSS Profile takes family assets into account when determining the need for financial aid, i.e. home equity or retirement funds.
- The CSS PRofile is run by the College Board. The College Board doesn't have a set deadline, but the Profile should be done a few weeks prior to any university-specific deadlines.
The good news is that like the FAFSA, students can practice filling out the CSS Profile ahead of time. Chances are that if you need the information for the FAFSA, you'll need it for this too. So, get yourself organized and get ahold of:
- The previous year's tax information, i.e. W-2s, specific tax exemptions and tax returns
- Bank statements
- Social Security information
- Current family mortgage information
- Records of any government assistance
- Your school's CSS Profile code number
...And much more. The truth is, when it comes to getting college money, you need to provide as much information as possible to give organizations a clear picture of what you have and what you will need. So don't be taken aback when questions about yearly income or your parent's own college loans come up. All of this is to figure out what's best for YOU.
If you have any questions, Go Financial Aid has all the solutions to your financial aid needs. Get in touch with us any time, and don't forget about the CSS Profile!