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CSS PROFILE for 2018-2019

ARTCCARTCC Registered User Posts: 89 Junior Member
I started work on the CSS PROFILE for 2018-2019 and noticed that it's somewhat different than those of previous years. More streamlined, but much less online help available. Thoughts?
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Replies to: CSS PROFILE for 2018-2019

  • apraxiamomapraxiamom Registered User Posts: 238 Junior Member
    My first experience, but it did seem smoother than I’d been led to believe.
  • ARTCCARTCC Registered User Posts: 89 Junior Member
    The CSS PROFILE site has crashed several times today while we were working on it. After several attempts, we were finally able to submit our application, but we were unable to download a PDF record copy of our submission. We presume the IDOC submissions will open on November 1 as they did last year.
  • ProfessorMom1ProfessorMom1 Registered User Posts: 53 Junior Member
    Maybe we could start asking questions on this thread (esp for first timers). With that...

    What do folks generally enter for this question:

    How much does the student expect to receive from the following sources to pay for educational expenses for the 2018-19 academic year? From students parents:____

    Is this meant to gauge how much we have saved for college? Are we committing to a certain amount here? Should we enter the average EFC that the net price calculator gave us for our various schools if that's manageable to us? I've got a rough estimate of our minimum budget, but obviously I would love for child to get a scholarship and not have to pay that. And if we were asked to pay more then we would see what we could do to make it happen. The question seems so open ended.
  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint Registered User Posts: 2,790 Senior Member
    edited October 6
    Is this meant to gauge how much we have saved for college? Are we committing to a certain amount here? Should we enter the average EFC that the net price calculator gave us for our various schools if that's manageable to us? I've got a rough estimate of our minimum budget, but obviously I would love for child to get a scholarship and not have to pay that. And if we were asked to pay more then we would see what we could do to make it happen. The question seems so open ended.


    I have a Profile "FAQs and Glossary" put out by the College Board (the one I have is from the 2015-2016 year). One of the FAQs asks:

    SR-160 asks about parent's contribution to my education. Does that include the student loans they took out on my behalf?

    Answer:

    Your parents should estimate the amount of money they can reasonably afford to pay for your expenses from income and assets. Do not include loans your parents expect to borrow.


    Another question:

    How do I know how much I will need to contribute to my child's education until I find out how much aid he/she will receive?

    Answer:

    Estimate as best you can the amount of money that you can reasonably afford to pay from income and assets for the student's expenses, including tuition, fees, books, supplies, transportation, room and board, and personal expenses. Do not include amounts you plan to borrow if necessary.


    Definition of "Parents' Contribution":

    On this application it is an estimate of the amount the student’s parents paid or will pay towards educational expenses, including tuition and academic fees, books and supplies, and room and board (housing and meals) out of their income and assets (not loans).
    When used in the context of federal financial aid, it is an estimate of the portion of the student's educational expenses that the U.S. federal government believes the student's parents can afford. It is based on their income, the number of parents earning income, assets, family size, the number of family members currently attending a university and other relevant factors.
  • ProfessorMom1ProfessorMom1 Registered User Posts: 53 Junior Member
    @BelknapPoint That is very helpful and what I entered as a placeholder anyway.

    Is anyone else having the following problem? The CSS online form asks for information about vehicles and trusts but the box doesn't allow more than 45 characters, so you can't really answer the question properly. Do I just stop at 45 characters?
  • ARTCCARTCC Registered User Posts: 89 Junior Member
    Some colleges which require the CSS PROFILE also have their own supplemental information requirements and use the CSS PROFILE process to collect it. The college our D is attending only required the basic CSS PROFILE and IDOC submission of tax returns and W-2s, and we weren't asked about vehicles, although the basic PROFILE does ask about trusts in several places.

    One of the other colleges she applied to and was accepted to had a CSS PROFILE supplement unique to that college which asked about what kinds of cars we drove (year/make/model) among other things not covered on the basic CSS PROFILE. We considered that question really over the top, given that the FAFSA and CSS PROFILE are already invasive enough about asking for very detailed family financial information.

    The "Special Circumstances" section at the end of the basic CSS PROFILE online form accepts up to 2000 characters of information and you might be able to cross-reference the question numbers and provide more detailed info there.



  • binky66binky66 Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    @ProfessorMom1 , we have the same problem to list the vehicles. We have 3, but don't have enough space to list all..

    How will the 2017 and 2018 estimated income affect EFC? As my husband was unemployed for several months during 2016, the estimated 2017 and 2018 income would be higher than 2016's.
  • ChristiGabiChristiGabi Registered User Posts: 42 Junior Member
    Okay, maybe this is a stupid question, but I have to ask. The CSS Profile asks about our tax-deferred retirement plans. I listed my traditional IRA and my husbands 403b. Do we need to include our Roth accounts, since they are not tax deferred?

    Also, another stupid question: it asks if you plan to collect social security upon retirement. I clicked 'yes', but then my husband brought up that it's a weird question. Do they need to ask? Doesn't everyone plan to collect social security? (assuming US citizenship?)
  • patsmompatsmom Registered User Posts: 4,150 Senior Member
    Well, some people might retire at 60 but not collect SS until 70 in order to get the maximum amount.
  • ARTCCARTCC Registered User Posts: 89 Junior Member
    My understanding is Roth accounts are not considered tax-deferred retirement plans, so I didn't list mine where the CSS PROFILE asked about tax-deferred retirement plans.
  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint Registered User Posts: 2,790 Senior Member
    Okay, maybe this is a stupid question, but I have to ask. The CSS Profile asks about our tax-deferred retirement plans. I listed my traditional IRA and my husbands 403b. Do we need to include our Roth accounts, since they are not tax deferred?
    My understanding is Roth accounts are not considered tax-deferred retirement plans, so I didn't list mine where the CSS PROFILE asked about tax-deferred retirement plans.

    Roth IRA accounts owned by a parent or the student should be reported on Profile where requested as an asset. Roths are not technically tax-deferred if used as a designed, but they are still tax-advantaged because the earnings are tax-free. Again, from the Profile "FAQs and Glossary" put out by the College Board from the 2015-2016 year:

    Should I report the value of my Roth IRA?

    Yes, the total value of all retirement (IRA, Keogh, 401k, 403b, etc.) accounts as of December 31 should be reported for the student in SA-105 and for the parent in PD-175 or PD-270.
  • dolkendolken Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    After submitting for an early decision school, is it possible to change any financial data in the CSS/Profile -- for submission to *other* schools added later on? (Like if assets or income or parent contribution need to be changed.) It looks like only "Special Circumstances" and "Submit Application" are available, but nothing else. (I have read that in the past it was possible, but would like feedback on this year's CSS/Profile, where there doesn't seem to be a way.)
  • manykids2000manykids2000 Registered User Posts: 104 Junior Member
    I don't remember filling in info on cars. oops. did I miss something?
  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint Registered User Posts: 2,790 Senior Member
    I don't remember filling in info on cars. oops. did I miss something?

    Not necessarily. Asking about vehicles owned is an optional question that some schools choose to ask and others do not.
  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint Registered User Posts: 2,790 Senior Member
    After submitting for an early decision school, is it possible to change any financial data in the CSS/Profile -- for submission to *other* schools added later on? (Like if assets or income or parent contribution need to be changed.) It looks like only "Special Circumstances" and "Submit Application" are available, but nothing else. (I have read that in the past it was possible, but would like feedback on this year's CSS/Profile, where there doesn't seem to be a way.)

    The income for the base year (2016 when completing the 2018-2019 Profile), which is most important, will not change. Expectations of 2017 and 2018 income may change form one submission to another, but I think in the vast majority of circumstances it won't make any difference. I think the best practice is that every school that is considering a particular student for need-based aid see the same data. You can't update FAFSA with new income or asset information as more schools receive the form through the same reporting season. It makes sense to operate the same way with Profile. Use the explanation section at the end of Profile to explain any special circumstances, or contact a financial aid office directly.
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