When applying for financial aid, the number and complexity of the required financial aid forms varies by school. As a general rule, private schools typically require more in the way of financial aid forms, including a CSS/Financial Aid Profile, which is administered by College Board. These additional and more complex forms are meant to more accurately uncover the total income and assets of the student and his/her parents (if dependent).The problem typically comes when you are applying to multiple schools and therefore must fill out a wide-range of financial aid forms. While the two primary forms are standardized (the FAFSA and the CSS/Financial Aid Profile) and can be sent to all schools, each school may have its own Institutional Financial Aid Form. Furthermore, each state that you are applying to schools within may have their own form for State Grants. To complicate matters even more, each school has its own set of deadlines and each state has its own deadlines for their financial aid forms.

When applying to multiple schools, it may be wise to seek advice or services from a Financial Aid Form Preparation Company. You can start by checking out the forms required by the schools to which you are applying. The “Complexity” column is just a sum of all financial aid forms required by that school. Congratulations to the University of Pennsylvania for having the most complex process among the Top 50 National Universities.

School Name FAFSA Institutional Financial Aid Form CSS/Financial Aid Profile Other Complexity
University of Pennsylvania X X X X 7
Columbia University X X X X 6
Cornell University X X X X 6
Boston University X   X X 6
Harvard University X   X X 5
Yale University X   X X 5
California Institute of Technology X   X X 5
Massachusetts Institute of Technology X   X X 5
Duke University X   X X 5
University of Chicago X X X X 5
Dartmouth College X   X X 5
Johns Hopkins University X   X X 5
Northwestern University X   X X 5
Rice University X   X X 5
Georgetown University X   X X 5
Tufts University X   X X 5
University of Rochester X   X X 5
Washington University in St. Louis X   X X 4
Wake Forest University X   X X 4
Lehigh University X   X X 4
Boston College X   X X 4
Case Western Reserve University X X   X 4
Tulane University X   X X 4
Syracuse University X   X X 4
Worcester Polytechnic Institute X   X X 4

Categories: Financial Aid | Grants | Financial Aid Applications | CSS Profile | FAFSA
Tags: college board css profile fafsa financial aid applications institutional financial aid form

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