Here is What You Want To Know Concerning the FAFSA and CSS Profile



October 1 is a vital day within the monetary assist course of. It’s the first-day college students can entry and submit the FAFSA and CSS Profile for the 2023-2024 educational yr. If you happen to’re uncertain what these varieties are and whether or not or to not submit them, look no additional. All the essential info you’ll need is true right here.

Filling out the FAFSA and CSS Profile

Who ought to submit the CSS Profile and the FAFSA?

Any U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen searching for need-based assist from post-secondary establishments should submit the FAFSA, the acronym for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The very first thing to grasp concerning the FAFSA is that it’s the scholar’s kind, not the mother or father’s. Many dad and mom full it on behalf of their little one, and if the scholar is below 18, the mother or father might be required to co-sign. However when the questions seek advice from “you” or “your,” they tackle the scholar, not the mother or father.

Earlier than starting the FAFSA, the scholar should provoke the method by creating their Federal Scholar Help Identification Quantity, or FSA ID. It’s their digital signature. As soon as created, the mother or father can create their FSA ID in the event that they anticipate to co-sign the FAFSA or need entry. Students or parents who need to create their FSA ID should click here.

Oct 1 is the primary date the FAFSA will be crammed out. (Designer491/ Shutterstock)


With FSA ID in hand, you can begin the FAFSA here. Earlier than submitting, you possibly can checklist as much as ten faculties on this on-line kind. If the scholar is making use of to greater than ten faculties, you will need to understand how to do that. Click here to learn how to add more than ten schools to your FAFSA.

What it is advisable know concerning the CSS Profile

Along with the FAFSA, about 185 undergraduate establishments require a second kind should you apply for need-based assist: the CSS Profile, owned and operated by the School Board. Your intelligence might be examined as you full this much more complicated and invasive kind. You can find the list of schools that require it here. Just like the FAFSA, the CSS Profile is submitted on-line, itemizing all the universities the scholar is making use of to. You can begin the CSS Profile here.

A couple of establishments require that an applicant wishing to be thought of for benefit (non-need) assist submit the FAFSA, the Profile, or each. It’s best to examine on the faculty web site or monetary assist workplace to study their coverage.

What do the CSS Profile and the FAFSA Ask?

The largest think about want eligibility is revenue. These varieties will take a look at the revenue you reported in your federal tax returns two years earlier than the yr your little one will enroll in faculty. So in case your little one is presently a senior in highschool and might be getting into faculty within the fall of 2023, the “base tax yr” might be 2021.

These varieties additionally ask about your property — checking and financial savings accounts, investments, belief funds, 529 faculty financial savings plans, actual property apart from your major residence, and the worth of your companies. The property you report are these you personal whenever you full the shape, not from the income-reporting yr.

Artwork, jewellery, vehicles, and retirement accounts will not be thought of property within the wants methodologies. However such demographic info because the variety of dependent youngsters, state of residence, and age of the older mother or father are thought of within the wants methodologies.

A couple of days after submitting the FAFSA, the scholar will obtain an e mail from the Division of Training with a hyperlink to their Scholar Help Report. A six- or seven-digit quantity is virtually hidden on this one-page report, normally starting with a number of zeroes and no greenback signal. It appears to be like extra like a serial quantity than a heartbreakingly giant greenback quantity. That is your “Anticipated Household Contribution,” or EFC.

It’s the quantity upon which your little one’s monetary assist award is decided at faculties utilizing the FAFSA. The CSS Profile doesn’t generate such a quantity, making it tougher (however not unimaginable) to start to estimate what your prices might be at these faculties.

What are the variations between the FAFSA and the CSS Profile?

If the scholar’s dad and mom are divorced or separated, the custodial mother or father is outlined because the mother or father with whom the scholar has spent extra time through the yr thus far. On the FAFSA, solely the custodial mother or father (and their partner, if remarried) studies their monetary info. The noncustodial mother or father is ignored. The Profile, nonetheless, asks the scholar to call organic dad and mom and present stepparents. Most Profile faculties would require the noncustodial mother or father to finish and submit their Profile. They may use the monetary info of each organic dad and mom and their spouses to calculate the scholar’s want.

House fairness is the distinction between a house’s present honest market worth and the remaining steadiness on the mortgage. On the FAFSA, fairness within the major dwelling shouldn’t be a reportable asset, however on the Profile, it’s.

The web value of a family-owned enterprise or farm is outlined because the distinction between its present honest market worth and its whole excellent debt (mortgages, liens, strains of credit score, and many others.). On the FAFSA, the worth of a family-owned enterprise or farm with 100 or fewer workers shouldn’t be a reportable asset, however on the Profile, it’s.

Which kind will yield an even bigger award?

Due to these and different variations between the FAFSA’s federal methodology and the CSS Profile’s institutional methodology, the scholar’s calculated want might fluctuate considerably between these two varieties. The FAFSA can benefit divorced or separated dad and mom if the custodial mother or father has a decrease revenue, fewer property, and has not remarried. The FAFSA may also benefit householders as a result of it doesn’t take a look at dwelling fairness within the major residence, and the Profile will be friendlier to renters for a similar cause.

The Profile penalizes property at a barely decrease fee (5%) than the FAFSA (5.64%). And due to their status and huge money reserves, many Profile faculties are dedicated to assembly their college students’ full want, or near the complete want, typically yielding very beneficiant need-based monetary assist awards. In the end, the web price of faculty will rely upon many components: the scholar’s demonstrated monetary want, the historic generosity of the establishment’s monetary assist insurance policies, the sticker value of the establishment, and the scholar’s competitiveness within the applicant pool.

What are the deadlines for the CSS Profile and FAFSA?

Establishments have various monetary assist deadlines. These will be the similar because the institutional utility deadline or very completely different. For highschool seniors making use of through the early choice or early motion rounds, the monetary assist deadline could also be as early as November 1, permitting lower than a month to finish and submit the varieties. The monetary assist deadline could also be as late as early March for college kids making use of within the common choice spherical. Since these varieties are sometimes submitted as soon as on-line to all the universities requiring them for monetary assist, they have to be submitted no later than the earliest deadline of the colleges on the scholar’s checklist.

It’s vital that college students or their dad and mom seek the advice of every faculty’s web site, or name the monetary assist workplace, to confirm the required varieties and deadlines. Create a spreadsheet or different easy doc to maintain monitor. Lacking a deadline can critically jeopardize a scholar’s eligibility for need-based assist.

On the lookout for skilled assist and recommendation about paying for school?

Join College Admissions: Grown and Flown membership to search out dependable solutions to your questions on admissions and paying for school.

You Would possibly Even be Enthusiastic about Studying: 

Top FAFSA and Financial Aid Mistakes to Avoid 

Time for the Dreaded Family Conversation about College Cost 



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here