College Scholarship Service Profile
The CSS Profile, which stands for "College Scholarship Service Profile" is an online application used by many colleges and universities in the United States to determine a student's eligibility for non-federal financial aid, such as institutional grants, scholarships, and need-based aid. It is administered by the College Board, the same organization that oversees standardized tests like the SAT. Because this application is first come first serve, it is recommended that all families have this submitted by November 15th at the latest.
Unlike the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which now opens in December and is used to apply for federal financial aid programs like Pell Grants and federal student loans, the CSS Profile is typically used for private and select public institutions to assess a student's financial need and award financial aid based on their individual circumstances.
The CSS Profile collects more detailed information about a student's and their family's finances than the FAFSA, including assets, home equity, and additional sources of income. Colleges use this information to calculate the Student Aid Index (SAI) and make more personalized financial aid decisions.
Keep in mind that not all colleges and universities require the CSS Profile; it's typically used by private institutions and a subset of public institutions. Each school may have its own deadlines and requirements for the CSS Profile, so it's essential to check with the specific schools you're interested in to determine whether you need to complete it as part of your financial aid application process. The CSS Profile may also have associated fees, and fee waivers are available for eligible students. More information on the CSS Profile can be found at https://cssprofile.collegeboard.org/.