Two weeks ago I wrote a bit about the FAFSA to help nudge fellow parents who were procrastinating or thinking it wasn’t necessary in their situation to look into the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Today I want to go another step down the financial aid road and tell you a bit about the CSS Profile. I know the name sounds like it could be another crime show spinoff, but the only crime here would be not taking advantage of this potential college funding resource.
The CSS Profile gives access to more than $9 billion for thousands of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Many private schools require completion of this application in addition to the FAFSA before they will make financial aid awards. The CSS Profile requires you to go into greater detail concerning your tax returns and earned income, and they will charge you for the privilege of sending this information on to your schools of choice. The CSS Profile is administered by the College Board, so students who qualify for SAT fee waivers will also qualify to have the $16/school fee waived here as well.
You will need to know your student’s College Board login to begin the application process. Like with the FAFSA, you will want to have your 2017 tax records handy, as well as having your basic investment and mortgage account information for a few of the questions. If your student is applying Early Decision or Early Action, the FAFSA and the CSS Profile will likely need to be completed by mid-November. For regular decision college applications submitted the first of the year, you will typically need to have the financial aid applications done by Feb 1. Be aware that some schools will require further documentation be submitted after the CSS Profile is complete. You will have message on your CSS Profile/College Board dashboard that tells you what each school wants along with how and where to send it and any applicable deadline.
To all my fellow parents of seniors: stay cool. Know your deadlines. Support your child by doing the applications. It can help achieve one of those universal goals we all have for our kids — finding gainful employment and not living on the couch in the basement. And as usual, if you have questions about these applications or other personal finance topics, send me a message or book a free video chat with me using the “Get-To-Know-You Meeting” tab on my website or the “Book Now” button on my FB page.
(P.S. And now I am 429 words further along on my NaNoWriMo pantser path!)