The Ins and Outs of Financial Aid (Part 3)

3 Jun 2015

Now that you’ve started working on the FAFSA, you probably don’t want to hear that there are MORE forms for you to fill out.

But, unfortunately, there are.

SO! We’re here to prepare you for them in advance, so there’s nothing to worry about.

Today we’ll be looking at the CSS Financial Aid PROFILE.

What is the CSS PROFILE?

Well, it’s very similar to the FAFSA, but it’s owned by College Board (the company in charge of the PSAT, SAT, and AP testing) and used by a long list of private universities in the US, a list of which can be found here. Some private scholarships use this information as well.

While the FAFSA is used to determine Federal aid from the government’s budget, the CSS PROFILE is used to determined institutional aid. In other words, it dictates the aid that schools will award from their own private funds. This could be in addition to the federal aid or instead of it.

What else is different from the FAFSA?

The PROFILE gets more information about the parent’s finances – including business assets (if you have fewer than 100 employees), the student’s primary home, if the parents are divorced, and that parent’s individual income and assets.

What do you need to fill it out?

It’s best to do the entire application in one sitting so as to avoid discrepancies and mistakes, so make sure you have a two-hour chunk of time dedicated to completing it.

You’ll also want to have all of your documentation with you including…

Bank Statements

Mortgage Information (for you primary residence)

Any untaxed income or benefits records

Records of your assets (savings, stocks, bonds, investments, etc.)

Your email address (though you probably have this memorized)

Also, your student will need an account with College Board. If he/she has already taken an AP, PSAT, or SAT test, then he/she will already have this account. If not, then you should make one because it will come in handy soon.

Does it cost anything?

Yes, unfortunately, there is a fee because, like the SAT scores, you request that College Board sends your information to the specific schools that your student is applying to.

It costs $25 for the first school and $16 for each subsequent school.

There is a fee waiver available to qualifying families, so you can send the PROFILE for free to eight institutions.

When is it due?

The deadlines are different from the FAFSA!!

The PROFILE application opens October 1 and ends around February, so don’t wait! You’ll want to make sure to get the information to the schools your student is applying to so you can get as much financial aid as possible.

Any more questions?

We know financial aid can be difficult and confusing, so don’t hesitate to contact March Consulting with any questions you have and schedule an appointment.

We look forward to meeting you, and good luck on the road to college! It’ll definitely be worth it.

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