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CSS profile questions

hmf123hmf123 Posts: 324Registered User Member
For the following questions on CSS,
Q1)What do your parent's owe on their home?
Q2)What was the purchase price of your parent's home?
Q3)What is your parents' monthly home mortage payment?
Q4)Enter the purchase price of your parent' primary motor vehicle.
Q5)Enter the current total of consumer and installment debt.
Q6)Enter the amount your parent's have in their cash savings and checking accounts as of today.
Q7)Stocks, stock options, mutual funds, bonds, and savings bonds:

Are these supposed to be accurate or just estimates? I really do not want to estimate and then have to go back and correct for each college. How did other parents/students fill these out? For the questions about how much they owe,savings, and bonds my parents say that they change constantly so it's not meant to be accurate which I can understand. For instance, for cash savings my mother thought about it and just wrote down $14,600. Is that how these questions are supposed to be filled out???? I doubt it b/c in Q6 it says "as of today".
However, for things like the purchase price of their vehicle, shouldn't that kind of information be accurate??? My mother put $15,000 for the purchase price which I'm sure is an estimate.
Post edited by hmf123 on

Replies to: CSS profile questions

  • hmf123hmf123 Posts: 324Registered User Member
    Enter the total current value of this parent's tax-deferred retirement, pension, annuity, and savings plans. Include IRA, SRA Keogh, SEP, 401(a), 401(k), 403(b), 408, 457, 501(c) plans, etc. Where would my parents find this info? This information is not used in the calculation the College Board sends to your school, although some schools may use it when determining the overall financial strength of your family. My dad said to put nothing since he lost most of his 401k anyways, and that since he can't even access it colleges do not need this info. Is this alright?
  • sueinphillysueinphilly Posts: 4,207Registered User Senior Member
    they should be as accurate as possible. Most people know how much they paid for their house, what they owe on it and what their mortgage payment is. Not too much gray area there. Most people know how much debt they have at any given moment (if they don't, that's a problem unto itself).

    As for price of car, I wouldn't think you need to be down to the penny, but if she's driving a 2008 Mercedes (I think that form asks what cars you own) and you put down 15K as the purchase price, expect an eyebrow to be raised.

    Amount of $$ in investments/cash can vary from day to day. You are supposed to put down the number as of the day you file.

    I always approach the Fafsa (and the profile the one year I did it), the same way I do my taxes. If anyone asks me to justify something I put down, I want to be able to do that without a problem. Some people are good at bluffing, I am not. I need to fill forms out so I can sleep at night (and for me, that requires being honest).
  • CrewMomCrewMom Posts: 117Registered User Junior Member
    There should be no estimating here. Your parents need to get accurate figures for you.
    Yes, colleges know that your cash and checking account balances will change from day to day. Calculate the total on the day you fill out the CSS PROFILE and use that total. Do not put zero for your dad's 401K if that's not true.
    Being less that truthful, could get you into trouble. You may be asked to prove that the amount you enter are accurate and when you sign the form you are stating that they are.
    The PROFILE is a long and at times confusing form. Don't rush it, and answer each question that applies to you completely.
    Good Luck!
  • hmf123hmf123 Posts: 324Registered User Member
    "Yes, colleges know that your cash and checking account balances will change from day to day. Calculate the total on the day you fill out the CSS PROFILE and use that total." How would they calculate this?
    "There should be no estimating here. Your parents need to get accurate figures for you." Are you sure? What if the info I put for stocks/bonds and debt are a little off? For instance, for enter the current total of consumer and installment debt owed by your parents and my mother wrote down $5,000. What if it's actually say $5,320 (I'm making up these numbers) would that be alright? Also, where would my parents find how much they have in their 401k? I'm sorry for all the questions it's just that my parents seem to think that being a little off is fine since they feel you'd get about the same amount for aid if you're a little off. Which makes sense, but I don't know. I'm just one of those people who like to follow instructions to the T and be completely honest, and I feel like I'm lying if I'm even a bit off on financial information.
  • hmf123hmf123 Posts: 324Registered User Member
    Bumbety bump.
  • hmf123hmf123 Posts: 324Registered User Member
    bumpet bumpety bump
  • hmf123hmf123 Posts: 324Registered User Member
    Bumbety, bump, please someone tell me whether I'm doing the right thing here. (look at reply #5)


    Also, my parents estimated for this: "Enter the total current value of this parent's tax-deferred retirement, pension, annuity, and savings plans. Include IRA, SRA Keogh, SEP, 401(a), 401(k), 403(b), 408, 457, 501(c) plans, etc. " They said they don't know exactly how much is in each of their 401ks.
  • sueinphillysueinphilly Posts: 4,207Registered User Senior Member
    most people can go online and see their account balances in every possible place they have money. At the very least, people get year end statements or quarterly statements.

    Put the most accurate info you can get. If your parents tell you 'I don't know how much is in X account', then they are not telling you the truth, imo.
  • hmf123hmf123 Posts: 324Registered User Member
    So if my parent say they owe ABOUT $10,200 on their house should I just put that or beg them to call their banks or something to get exact info? Really how exact was everyone else in this process???
  • sueinphillysueinphilly Posts: 4,207Registered User Senior Member
    that's fine. that number changes every month. You'd have to call the mortgage company to get an exact number. If they have their year end statement showing the balance (and everyone with a mortgage gets that statement), then it's fine to use that. BTW, that's really close to paying off the house, congrats to them, I wish I was that close!
  • hmf123hmf123 Posts: 324Registered User Member
    yeah, they're almost done, and they finished paying off car payments too which is great for them but not so much for aid. If I have missed the priority deadline for a college should I bother sending the CSS for that college??? I was also told that if a college does not require a CSS form I shouldn't bother sending it, is this true? also if a college doesn't list a filing date should I assume it's the same as their FAFSA deadline? I contacted the institution about it but they have not replied.
  • sueinphillysueinphilly Posts: 4,207Registered User Senior Member
    if the school requires the profile, you have to send it if you want to be considered for aid. If the school doesn't require it, you can't send it to them, there wouldn't be a school code to use for the form

    I've never heard of a school that doesn't have the dates they want stuff on their website
  • hmf123hmf123 Posts: 324Registered User Member
    "Our office accepts the CSS profile, but we do not require this application for your Financial Aid Award Package." This came to me straight from the financial aid office of the college, and they do have a school code to use for the form. I'm not sure whether I should send it or not, someone replied don't if it's not required, but isn't it one of those things that can only help you?
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