CSS Profile : The Brief Introduction

CSS Profile : The Brief Introduction

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Know about CSS. Profile. Apply for institutional financial aid using the CSS application form. It stands for College Scholarship Service Profile.

Updated on:  25 Oct 2023  | Reviewed By: 
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A Brief introduction to the css profile

CSS profile stands for College Scholarship Service Profile.
Each year, CSS Profile gives scholarships of more than $9 billion to thousands of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.


What is a CSS profile?

The CSS Profile is an online financial aid application form used to decide the family's financial need for institutional aid.

These forms are acceptable by more than 400 colleges, universities, and various scholarship institutions.

It is an additional aid application form to FAFSA. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid and is a mandatory document for federal student aid. On the other hand, a CSS profile is needed only if your college demands it.

The CSS profile helps international students apply for institutional aid at U.S. colleges. International applicants report in their home currency later converted to U.S. dollars for institutions. The complete process of CSS profiles might be a hectic task. But it is said that the current changes to the CSS profile will make the process more convenient and less expensive for students. The CSS profile is maintained and regulated by the College Board.

It gathers your information from various colleges, universities, and scholarship programmes to verify your profile. After verification of your profile, they grant you financial help from sources other than the federal government.

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Why do colleges require CSS Profiles?

Colleges collect your CSS profiles to understand your family's financial needs. This information helps colleges ensure that institutional aid gets awarded to a student who truly deserves it. The whole process is genuine and equitable. It also collects information from each of the student's parents, to know if the parents are no longer together or have separate household incomes.

Do all colleges require the CSS profile?

No, not all colleges require the CSS profile.
Make sure to check with the colleges you are applying to.

Why should students complete CSS Profiles?

If a student needs financial aid, there are chances that an institution might award it.

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What is the correct time to complete the CSS Profile?

You should complete it before the first deadline at your college.

Different colleges have different deadlines and dates for early decisions, early action, and regular decisions.

It is mandatory to submit your CSS profile application to the college by this date.


How to complete the steps for the CSS profile?

We've discussed why, when, and what, so now let's discuss how.

The first and foremost step is to check with your college whether they need your CSS profile or not. The best advice would be to check your college's website, where you can get information on applications and deadlines, etc.

Also, you can visit the College Board's website to get the list of institutions where CSS profile is acceptable. If your college needs a CSS profile, then find your application on

Once you have created a College Board account, use the same username and password for the SAT, PSAT, or AP. If not yet, make a new account.

The important thing to keep in mind is that once you have logged in, you should complete the CSS Profile for the year 2022-23, not for 2021-22.

For example, if you graduate from high school in the spring of 2022, you will be applying for financial aid for the 2022–23 academic year.

At times, most of the students and parents select the wrong year, which eventually passes the wrong information. If this happens, students need to refill the information from the initial stages.

Sign in Page of CSS profile

Also, there are chances some schools might ask for separate applications for divorced or separated parents.


Cost of CSS profile

The CSS profile is free for U.S. citizens and permanent residents' families who earn up to $100,000 or less a year. It is applicable for independent or dependent students. If you qualify, you can submit the CSS Profile to unlimited colleges at no cost.

It costs $25 to submit your CSS Profile to one college or scholarship program if you are not eligible for a fee waiver. There is a fee of $16 for each additional report. Students must log into CSS Profile using the same College Board account that they used for the SAT to qualify for the SAT-based fee waiver.

Although the CSS fee waiver is not applicable to international students. It is still advisable to ask your college authorities.

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