Financial Aid Forms And Paying for College

There’s no question that college is expensive. Most college students receive some form of financial aid to help pay for their education.   The requirements for applying for financial aid, scholarships and grant money differ from school to school, so check websites or call financial aid offices directly to confirm details and deadlines.

Schools require a number of different aid forms. By now you should have completed or are working on your FAFSA application. A few resources to help you are:

  • Call the FAFSA hotline at 800.433.3243 to speak with a customer service representative or chat live online with a customer service rep.
  • Use the FAFSA on the Web Worksheets to help you get organized.
  • Get help filling out your FAFSA from NerdScholar.
  • And remember, deadlines for the FAFSA differ from school to school. But, don’t delay— the earlier your application is reviewed, the more money there may be available.

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. This form is distributed by College Board.

When considering your financial aid options, keep the following in mind:

  • 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.


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