Profile CSS Application Process

The CSS/PROFILE is a lengthy financial aid application very similar to the FAFSA. While the FAFSA is used to award federal government student aid, the CSS/PROFILE is used by many private schools and scholarship programs to determine financial need to award non-federal government student aid.

Below is a condensed list of the StartSchoolNow recommended tasks for preparing and submitting the CSS/PROFILE financial aid application. The tasks are listed in chronologic order.

1. Check with each college and university you are applying to for their CSS/PROFILE deadline. Plan accordingly to submit your CSS/PROFILE application on time.

2. Print a 2017-2018 Pre-Application Worksheet.

3. Gather all financial documents needed to complete the paper 2017-2018 CSS/PROFILE Pre-Application Worksheet.

4. Complete the paper 2017-2018 CSS/PROFILE Pre-Application Worksheet by hand using ESTIMATES of your family’s 2015 income and financial assets. Do this well in advance of earliest deadline for submitting your online CSS/PROFILE application.

5. Complete and submit your CSS/PROFILE application online before the earliest deadline mandated by any of your colleges or universities. Print a paper copy of your completed application (called the “PROFILE Acknowledgment”) BEFORE exiting the CSS/PROFILE website; you may need this paper copy to submit corrections at a later time. File the paper copy in your filing system.

6. You and your parents are to complete 2015 federal income tax returns before October 2016.

7. Upon completion of 2015 federal income tax returns, review your submitted information on the printed PROFILE Acknowledgment and compare those numbers to the numbers on your and your parents’ 2015 tax returns. If the estimates shown on the PROFILE Acknowledgment are correct, you are finished with the CSS/PROFILE for this year. If the estimates shown on the PROFILE Acknowledgment are incorrect, make corrections to the CSS/PROFILE and mail a copy to each of your colleges and universities.

8. Once corrected copies of your CSS/PROFILE application have been sent to and received by your colleges, you are finished with the CSS/PROFILE.