What is CSS Profile?

Updated: Mar 1


  • College Scholarship Service profile which is shortened to CSS is a College Board administered and evaluated application that students need to fill out to be eligible to be evaluated for several non-federal institutional financial aid. Accepted by over 400 colleges, the CSS profile is typically filled out by first year applicants to allow the universities have a better insight into the financial conditions of the student and thereby in offering aid. While not all universities require the CSS profile, filling one out is in a student’s interest to effectively manage their academic costs.


  • While one might often overlook the procedure of filling the CSS profile, it comes with several benefits. The primary benefit of this is that students have access to several nonfederal financial aids which are otherwise not covered in the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) which only offers federal grants. Being a comprehensive profile, CSS delves into every facet of a family’s financial spending and thus provides a wholesome idea on the ability to pay for education. The profile also offers the students the scope to elaborate on their financial conditions to help the university understand their financial situation and deliberate on it while offering financial aid.


  • Here are some key facts about the CSS profile that one needs to know before filling it out. The profile isn’t free and costs 25$ for the first application. For each additional school that the student wishes to send the profile to, a 16$ cost is charged. Students can start filling in the application around the 1 st of October every year. It is advisable to apply early on because each university works on the principle of first-come, first-serve. Generally the opening date of the CSS profile is the same as FAFSA and while it doesn’t replace the FAFSA, it is an additional requirement.


  • The due date of the application varies across university and it is therefore of utmost import to be aware of the deadlines of the educational institutions one wishes to apply for. Checking with each university can be a way to figure out the deadlines. As the process might be cumbersome, it is always beneficial to begin early.


  • Applying to college is like a puzzle and it is essential to fit the right parts at the right time for the process to be beneficial. While for a prospective student, the multiple applications might seem overwhelming, the key is to research well and be aware of the multiple steps. With information comes more confidence and having an idea about the particulars goes a long way. The need is to stay focused and keep researching on the multiple aspects of the journey of admission.

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