The CSS Profile (College Scholarship Service Profile) is an additional financial aid form required by a large number of private colleges and a few public institutions. The CSS Profile utilizes a separate, more comprehensive formula called Institutional Methodology (IM), compared to the one used for the FAFSA. IM aims at providing a more expansive look at the family’s financial situation compared to what the FAFSA offers. Colleges utilize this methodology to determine eligibility for institutional funds only (not federal or state). 

The Profile is not free: There is a $9 registration fee and an additional $16 for each school requiring it. There are unlimited fee waivers! But these are not paper fee waivers, nor are they fee waivers in which counselors and advisors have a set amount to distribute. Rather, the student will find out whether or not they are eligible for the fee waivers after they have completed the CSS Profile, based upon income and other factors reported on the form. If students are eligible they are automatically provided the fee waivers at the time of submission. 

Similar to the FAFSA, the CSS Profile goes live on October 1 of each year. Deadlines may vary based on the school and by the way you are applying: Regular Decision, Early Action, or Early Decision. 

Important links and resources

  • The application can be found at https://cssprofile.collegeboard.org/
  • To find the full list of colleges that require this additional form click this link.
  • A helpful uAspire checklist of information necessary to complete the CSS Profile can be found here.

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