The PROFILE form is administered by the College Scholarship Service (CSS), the financial aid division of the College Board. The CSS PROFILE is required by many private colleges and universities to determine your eligibility for non-government financial aid, such as the institution’s own grants, loans and scholarships.
The biggest differences between the CSS PROFILE and the FAFSA are:
- Submission dates: The CSS PROFILE can be submitted in the fall; The CSS PROFILE can be submitted in the fall; and beginning in 2016 the FAFSA can be submitted as early as October 1st.
- Specific questions: The CSS PROFILE contains questions specific to the school or program you’re applying to; FAFSA contains the same questions for everyone.
- Different methodology: The CSS PROFILE determines your financial need differently than the FAFSA, taking into account such factors as whether your family owns a home. In general, the CSS PROFILE asks for more detailed information than FAFSA.
- Minimum student contribution: The CSS PROFILE requires this; the FAFSA doesn’t.
- Greater reliance on professional judgment: The CSS PROFILE gives financial aid counselors greater freedom to grant aid based on a student’s particular circumstances.
- Cost: There is a cost to filling out the CSS Profile, though some families may qualify for fee waivers; the FAFSA, as the name implies, is free.
You can complete the CSS PROFILE online profileonline.collegeboard.com.
When you register for the CSS PROFILE, you will need the PROFILE code of the school or program to which you are applying. You can use the below table and search field to find the correct code.