College Scholarship Service (CSS)
Many independent colleges and private scholarship programs require
more data than is requested on the FAFSA
form to analyze your financial circumstances. The form used in this process is the
CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE ,
which is evaluated by the College Scholarship Service (CSS), a division of the
College Board organization.
CSS adds the additional data from your CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE to the information
provided by the Federal Processor to recalculate your
Financial Contribution (EFC) using the "Institutional Methodology."
The College Scholarship Service then sends a report to the colleges or programs
you designated on your CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE registration form. The adjusted EFC figure becomes
the basis for awarding institutional financial aid awards.
Questions to consider:
When should I start this process?
How do I get my CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE application?
When should I send in my CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE registration form ?
What happens after I send in the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE registration form?
How do I get information about filling out this form and when I should send it in?
What happens after I send the actual CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE form in to the CSS?
In early September, determine which schools require the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE.
Consult the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE Registration instruction booklet,
ask your counselor or career center specialist, or call your target
college financial aid offices.
Fill out the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE Registration Form to start the
process in motion. The CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE registration form should be available
at your high school counseling or career center. (If not, call
the CSS branch of the College Board to request one). The registration
form asks you some basic questions that help CSS to develop
your financial aid application (the actual CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE).
The primary purpose of the registration form is to collect
background information about your family, and to have you make a list
of the colleges which you want to receive the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE. This
Registration form also indicates how much you need to pay CSS in
registration and processing fees for each of the schools listed.
Send the Registration Form in to the CSS address provided
as soon possible. Keep in mind that many independent colleges may
have financial aid deadlines that are earlier than others.
A few weeks after sending in the PROFILE Registration Form you
should receive your CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE forms in the mail from the CSS. With this
form you will be able to apply for institutional aid at the colleges
you designated. Those colleges will get the information you provide
in these forms and use it to calculate your eligibility for institutional
aid. In some cases, they may even let you know if you are eligible
for federal aid also. (Remember, if you are found eligible for
federal aid, you WILL have to fill out the FAFSA forms.) The CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE
includes some generic questions that all PROFILE applicants have
to respond to, questions that pertain to only the schools you
applied to and any supplemental financial aid forms that individual
colleges want you to fill out.
A Cover Letter will tell you what you need to do and inform you
about all financial aid deadlines and requirements for the colleges
you designated on your PROFILE Registration form. The CSS basically
explains to you when you should be submitting the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE form to
meet the needs of the colleges you are applying to. In order to
make sure you meet all deadlines for colleges, you must submit
the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE form to CSS before the first college financial aid deadline
that is listed for you in the cover letter.
A few weeks after you have submitted your CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE form, the CSS will
send you an Acknowledgment Letter that will provide you with important
information about your Expected Family Contribution as calculated
using the Institutional Methodology. This EFC amount is what the
colleges use to determine your family's actual need for financial
aid. With this "need" amount established, the CSS also
indicates whether or not you may be eligible for federal financial
aid in addition to institutional aid. If this is the case, you
will need to complete the FAFSA side of the Financial Aid Road Map
to officially qualify for federal funds. This Acknowledgment Letter
also provides you with the opportunity to list any other colleges from which
you would like to receive the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE form.
At this point, the CSS has sent on your CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE information to the
target colleges you selected. Those colleges will use the information
on the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE, along with the analysis done by the CSS, to determine
your eligibility for institutional (college-based) aid.