The CSS Profile

How to Complete the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE

The College Board’s CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE® is an online application that collects information used by almost 300 colleges and scholarship programs to award financial aid from sources outside of the federal government. After you fill out the application, the College Board sends it to the colleges and scholarship programs you have chosen.

Who Must File

Not all colleges and scholarship programs require the PROFILE. Check with the ones you’re interested in to see if they require it.

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When to Register and File

You should register at CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE at least two weeks before the earliest college or scholarship priority filing date you need to meet. This date is the college or program’s deadline for submitting a completed PROFILE application.

Once you register, you can complete the PROFILE application right away or save your data and return to it later. Just be sure to complete and submit the application by the deadlines your colleges or scholarship programs specify.

How Much It Costs

Sending your PROFILE report to one college or scholarship program costs $25. Additional reports are $16 each. Students who are from low-income families with limited assets will automatically receive fee waivers.

Almost 300 colleges and scholarship programs require the PROFILE.

How to File

1. Register

2. Complete the application

  • Have tax records and financial documents handy.
  • Use the preapplication worksheet to save time.
  • Enter the required information.

Here’s what you can expect:

  • Customized application questions about income, assets and expenses
  • Additional questions required by your colleges or scholarship programs, if applicable
  • A Noncustodial PROFILE that must be completed by the parent you spend less time with, if you don’t live with both parents for equal amounts of time
  • Online help, an extensive FAQ section and live customer service
  • Alerts to missing or incorrect information
  • Secure data — your information is encrypted and stored with firewall protection

3. Submit the application

Enter your payment information and press Submit.

After You File

After you submit your application, print the acknowledgment. This includes the data you entered on your application and your college and scholarship list. You can use the acknowledgment to make changes to your PROFILE. It also provides information about the next steps in the process.

The data on your PROFILE are analyzed and reported to the colleges and scholarship programs you have specified. They then use the report to help determine your financial aid award.