Which Colleges Require CSS Profile?

CSS, FAFSA, EFC; the acronyms often seem endless. However, each one is equally important, and the CSS Profile is something all parents, guardians, and students should familiarize themselves with.

The CSS Profile is one type of online application that determines financial aid. It’s used by colleges and scholarship programs alike and, as such, tudents who qualify may receive non-federal financial aid. By completing this online application, students can apply for a variety of scholarship programs.

The FAFSA is what most students focus on, but Completing the FAFSA isn’t enough; you also need to complete the CSS Profile if you’re looking for alternative types of financial aid. But is this online application required and which colleges require the CSS Profile?

This article answers these questions and more, beginning with the CSS Profile vs. the FAFSA.

What’s the Difference Between CSS and FAFSA?

Once you complete your CSS Profile, your information will be added to the Institutional Methodology formula. This formula determines how much financial need you require, along with whether you can contribute towards paying your school’s tuition.

But how does this compare to filling out the FAFSA?

With the FAFSA, student need is calculated using the Federal Methodology. Unlike the FAFSA, the College Board offers the CSS Profile, a private and independent form.

Which CSS Profile Should You Fill out?

You may be wondering, “Which CSS Profile should I fill out?” For starters, the CSS Profile is an online application for you or your parents/guardians to complete. You can do so by creating or accessing your College Board account.

If you already have a College Board account, you’ll sign in to complete your CSS Profile application. If you previously created an account for the PSAT, SAT, or AP, then you’ll use this same login information.

If you’ve never created a College Board account, you’ll need to sign up and create a new account. Once all your information is complete, it takes between three and five business days for all information to be processed and updated. From there, you’ll receive notification about your submitted documents.

Completing Your CSS Profile

Once you know which institution you’d like to apply to, take a look at their website to see if they require the CSS Profile, FAFSA, or both. If they require the CSS Profile, be sure they receive a copy.

Required documents include W-3 forms, tax returns, and any other records for taxed and untaxed income, as well as assets, benefits, and bank statements.

After you complete your online application, it’s best to keep an eye on your College Board account, ensuring no more actionable items are required. You’ll also see a payment receipt based on how many colleges you sent your CSS Profile to. If you have additional colleges you’d like to add, you can do so for an additional fee.

When completing your CSS Profile, be careful to accurately complete the application. Although you can correct mistakes after you submit your application, you’re only allowed to make one correction every academic year. If you see additional mistakes that require correction, you’ll need to reach out to interested institutions for direct corrections.

Are There Any Fees for Submitting the CSS Profile?

There isn’t a limit to how many schools can receive the CSS Profile. However, there’s an associated cost for each school you send your CSS Profile to. For example, it costs $25 to send your initial online application to one institution of your choice. From there, it’s $16 for each subsequent institution that receives your CSS Profile.

If you have a fee waiver, you may be able to submit your CSS Profile to different schools for free.

To qualify for a fee waiver, you have to be a domestic undergraduate student. Additionally,  your family-adjusted gross income can’t be more than $100,000. There are other ways to qualify for a fee waiver, such as qualifying for the SAT fee waiver. Orphaned students under 24 also qualify for fee waivers.

Do You Have to Submit a CSS Profile Every Year?

Yes, if you’re looking for institutional financial aid yearly. You can complete your online CSS Profile application as early as October 1.

Another popular question is whether you can complete both a CSS Profile and a FAFSA application. You should submit both a CSS Profile and FAFSA application, working to get maximum financial aid for school.

Does it matter if you’re late with completing the CSS Profile? Yes.

The school you’re interested in attending will have specific guidelines for completing the CSS Profile. If you don’t complete it on time, you might not qualify for scholarships and grants. Unfortunately, most schools won’t allow you to submit your CSS Profile after the due date.

Which Schools Use a CSS Profile?

Another question is, “Which schools require CSS?” Over 300 colleges, scholarship organizations, and universities require the CSS Profile. The difference between the CSS Profile and the FAFSA is that almost all institutions require the FAFSA, whereas fewer require the CSS Profile.

If you’re unsure if your school requires the CSS Profile, you can check this list.

Is the CSS Profile Required?

Yes, knowing which colleges require the CSS profile is an important part of the college application process, but it’s also important to understand if you have to complete the CSS Profile.

Even if your school of choice requires the CSS Profile, you may not have to complete one if you or your parents/guardians are paying for school out of pocket. However, always check with your educational institution to ensure you don’t have to complete the CSS Profile.

The CSS Profile allows schools to consider you for aid based on merit, which means it’s not always a requirement. However, completing the CSS Profile may award you with scholarships, which means it’s worthwhile to complete.

Complete Your CSS Profile Today

Now that you know which schools require the CSS Profile and the importance of completing this online application, you may find yourself with other questions.

This might be about completing the FAFSA and more, which is why you need professionals assisting you with your college applications. You should also read more financial aid articles for even more great information. 

Luckily, College Funding Professionals can help. We offer expert advice, working with you as you apply for college and determine the best way to find your education. Join our free online Facebook Group to gain access to the best college planning advice anywhere.

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