How to Submit a CSS Financial Aid Profile

College student working at a computerApplying for federal forms of student aid is as easy as filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and all students should take that step on a yearly basis, so they get the forms of assistance they’re entitled to via federal programs. But an article produced by Forbes suggests that about 300 colleges and 568 so-called “Presidents’ Group” schools push students to fill out yet another form on an annual basis.

This additional form, known as the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE, is used to determine a student’s eligibility for other forms of aid, including institution-based scholarships and grants. Filling out the form is relatively easy, but there are a few steps students should take in order to prepare.

Advanced Planning

The PROFILE is administered by The College Board, and students must have an online account with this organization in order to complete the application. They can do so by going to the organization’s website and completing the registration information found there. Students will need a few pieces of information in order to register, including:

Once a student completes the registration process, the system will provide a user name, password and access to the PROFILE form. Students can fill out the document all at once, or they can chip away at the questions sporadically, returning to the document as they have the time and inclination.

Working Through the Form

student workingThe PROFILE is a lengthy form that requires a significant amount of information about the financial health of a student and that student’s family. In order to prepare to fill out the form, students can download a Pre-Application Worksheet and work with their families to determine the answers to all of the questions on the form.

When this worksheet is complete, students can begin to input information into the computer system, and they can access online support if they have a question about an entry or they run into a technical problem. The system also performs editing processes as the student works, so errors are reduced.

When the form is complete, students have the option to send the document to just one school or to multiple schools that they’re considering. There are fees involved, however, so students might be wise to keep their budgets in mind as they work. According to The Washington Post, the first application is $25, and applications sent to subsequent colleges incur a $16 fee.

Final PROFILE Thoughts

Not all students who fill out the PROFILE will be given access to the funds they need for school. Some facilities simply run out of funds they can offer to students, and some families make a little too much money, and that keeps students away from the grants that could help them.

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