Schools use a number of aid forms. By now you should have completed or are working on your FAFSA application. Another form required by hundreds of colleges to determine student eligibility for non-federal student aid, both merit and need-based, is the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE, short for the College Scholarship Service Profile, and distributed by College Board. You may not be sure you’ll qualify for aid, and honestly, you won’t know unless you apply. Each college and university has their own requirements for students applying for financial aid, scholarships and grant money. Check the financial aid section of each school’s website or call the financial aid office directly to confirm their requirements.
Keep these things in mind when considering your financial aid options:
- The CSS/PROFILE must be completed online in order to be considered for all need-based university grants and scholarships.
- Register online a few weeks before your earliest college or scholarship priority filing date so you have plenty of time to complete the form. If you already have a College Board account, you can use your user name and password for the CSS/PROFILE as well.
- Don’t forget to keep your user name and password in a safe place for future reference.
- After you’ve registered with College Board, look through the list of participating colleges and universities to determine if any of the schools on your list use the CSS/PROFILE as part of their financial aid process and keep a list of each school’s code.
- Once you’ve registered, you can finish the PROFILE in one siting or save your information and return to it at a later time.
- The information you provide in your PROFILE will be sent by College Board to the colleges and universities that you specify.
- Make sure to pay attention to the priority and closing filing dates for each school.
Some aid is granted on a first-come, first-served basis, so apply as early as allowed.
- When you’re done, print the acknowledgment page and file it in a safe place.
- You can use the pre-application worksheet to help you get ready to complete the application.
It’ll be helpful to have the following documents handy:
- Current and previous year’s income tax returns
- W2 forms and other records of income earned in the current year
- Records of untaxed income and benefits for the current and previous tax years, current bank statements, and records of savings, stocks, bonds, trusts, and other investments