CSS/Financial Assistance Profile: things you need to know

Since all attention was focused on the introduction of the early FAFSA, a key factor in the rush of applying to the university was the CSS summary. The Academy Scholarship Services (CSS) profile is used to apply for non-federal funding for nearly 400 colleges, universities, professional schools, and scholarship programs online. The CSS profile provides a deeper introduction to your financial background than FAFSA.

Of course, if you want federal financial aid or a federal student loan, you still have to complete the Federal Financial Services Authority. Keep in mind that there may be some colleges that have their own separate financial assistance applications. This can get a bit complicated, so it's best to leave yourself as much time as possible to do everything.

Similar to FAFSA, an introduction to CSS/Financial Aid in the fall of 2018 or spring of 2019 will be available online from October 1st. Despite the plan to redesign the form, a similarity is that CSS/profile uses the previous year's (PPY) income tax information. Therefore, for applications from 2018-19, applicants will be able to take advantage of the information in the 2016 federal income tax return.

This helps to complete and submit the form in a timely manner, but may also require some 2017 and 2018 income estimates to provide a complete financial picture. If there are significant changes (such as divorce, disability, death) after you file your tax return, please be prepared to provide additional documentation on these changes.

Things to remember

Login to the website: If a student signs up for the SAT using the University Board website, you can log in to the profile with the same username and password. Otherwise, you must create a new account. Always start with the registration page. Upon registration, students will receive an email confirmation.

Fees: Although there is no cost to submit FAFSA, the University Board does charge for processing CSS/Financial Assistance materials. The current fee for the initial application and a college or project report is $25. The additional report is $16. To do this, you will need a credit or debit card. Therefore, in order to save money, you should submit your personal information only if you are very sure about your choice and your university or scholarship program directs you to do so. Some fee exemptions apply to students in the first year of the first domestic low-income background. Students who use the SAT fee waiver are also eligible for up to 8 profile fee waivers.

Divorced Parents: FAFSA usually relies solely on the financial information of the hosted parent, but the profile may require you to provide information about the non-client's parents.

Timing: Double check the university's bursary application deadline. You should submit the profile within two weeks of the earliest priority archival date specified to allow for error space.

Introduction Needs Information: The information needed on the profile includes whether the parents accept TANF (temporary assistance for poor families) or SSI (supplementary security income); whether the parents are self-employed or own businesses and/or farms; parents' housing Tatus (own, Rent); and student's personal information, including social security numbers. The College Board does provide a pre-filled pre-application worksheet that will help you when you sit down and fill out the formal form.

University List: You can add a college or project to your list at any time, but you will charge $16 for each college or project you add unless you still have any unused fees. Once you have submitted your application, you cannot delete any colleges. If you decide not to apply for one of the listed colleges, you will not receive any refunds.

Get Help: After signing up, you'll find detailed instructions when you're done with the configuration file, as well as an extensive online help desk, including frequently asked questions. You can also call 844-202-0524 (Monday to Friday, 9 am to 6 pm ET, from 8 am to 10 pm from January to April), or send an email to [email protected]