Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

College Planning: Why the CSS/Financial Aid Profile is important

Posted December 27, 2011

Editor's Note: Christine M. Hall of CMH College Consulting will offer information this week about financial aid for college.

While most parents and students are aware of the need to complete a FAFSA form in order to receive financial aid, many often overlook the additional CSS/Financial Aid Profile that is required by most private and some public universities.

Unlike the FAFSA, the CSS/Financial Aid Profile is a way to provide non-federal funds to students by way of grants and scholarships.

In order to complete the CSS/Profile, you must go to the College Board website and register to complete the application. You will need the following information:

  • Type of tax return you and your parent(s) will file for the current year (e.g., 1040, 1040 EZ, foreign return)
  • If your parents receive TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) or SSI (Supplemental Security Income)
  • If your parents are self employed or own business(es) and/or farm(s)
  • Your parents’ housing status (e.g., own, rent)
  • Your personal information, including your Social Security

The filing date for the CSS/Profile is usually two weeks before the priority FAFSA deadline for each individual school. However, it is best to check with each institution you are applying to in order to be safe. In North Carolina, the following schools require the CSS/Profile:

  • Duke
  • Wake Forest
  • Davidson
  • UNC Chapel Hill

Dr. Christine M. Hall owns Cary-based CMH College Consulting.


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  • christine8 Dec 27, 2011

    Yes, many of the private schools require the CSS profile. There is a $16 charge for every school you list. This can get costly so you might want to think twice if there is a school you really don't intend to go to even if you get in.

  • snowl Dec 27, 2011

    ELON University is also on that list. This application is not free, and different results apply based on the colleges own formula.