As many students and parents have found this fall, the Noncustodial PROFILE is full of challenges and confusion. College Board has not updated its site with the pertinent information, so I figured I’d post about what I found out:
If you are a student or parent of a divorced family, and you want to fill out the Noncustodial PROFILE to be eligible for institutional aid at certain schools, there is NO specific form for this purpose. There used to be, and the College Board website still has a Noncustodial PROFILE section, but that is outdated and apparently no longer used. Instead, the noncustodial parent(s) is to create an entirely new CSS PROFILE under the regular instructions. Once they do that and indicate the parent(s) filling out the form are not the parent(s) living with the student, the form converts into the noncustodial version.
I went through this process and there were no issues once I was actually able to figure this out from another forum. Essentially, the normal CSS PROFILE detects a noncustodial parent is filling it out and converts the form to include only those sections needed from the noncustodial family. In other words, the student doesn’t have to input information about his or her assets, expected earnings, etc. Note that there is a one-time $25 application fee to submit the noncustodial version of the PROFILE, but that’s one fee for all schools instead of one fee per school. The form also automatically inputs all of the student’s schools that require the noncustodial information and leaves off those that don’t, so it was nice to see that come through successfully.
To make a long story short, do NOT try to fill out what College Board calls the “Noncustodial PROFILE” in this school year. Instead, create a second CSS PROFILE with the student’s exact same information, and that form will eventually convert itself into the noncustodial version you need.
Maybe College Board will fix this or make it clear on their website before winter deadlines, but I figured it was good to get this information out there for families that were having trouble with this process.\
Good information; thanks for posting. It’s pretty much on par for the College Board to be charging money for something that they then proceed to screw up.
“Instead, the noncustodial parent(s) is to create an entirely new CSS PROFILE under the regular instructions. Once they do that and indicate the parent(s) filling out the form are not the parent(s) living with the student, the form converts into the noncustodial version.” “Essentially, the normal CSS PROFILE detects a noncustodial parent is filling it out and converts the form to include only those sections needed from the noncustodial family.”
-To add a little insight to Picknroll’s excellent post, what actually happens is that the NCP (Non Custodial Parent) will receive an email from Profile notifying him/her that that their information is required and that they are to follow the link provided in the email to initiate a NCP Profile. The email is generated based upon info provided by the student in the initial Profile in the ‘Parent Details’ section called ‘Additional Parent Application’. As Pick noted, this section only appears if the student has indicated that parents are divorced and, thus, there are two households for which info is required by one or more of the schools listed by the student. That’s a good reason for the NCP to await the email notification before attempting to complete his/her Profile.
NCParents should not try to jump-start the process by initiating a new Profile before the email notification arrives from the College Board; instead, wait for the email and follow the link. Also, if possible, the NCP might want to ask his/her child to provide him/her with a copy of the first two pages of the student’s Profile completed application PDF print-out. That way, you can enter in the exact identity-matching criteria that he/her entered (especially SSN, DOB, name spelling -e.g. has the child changed his/her last name in a situation which the remarried custodial parent has taken on the last name of his/her new spouse, etc.). If the custodial parent objects to this (she/he may not want to the NCP to know about the custodial family’s income, etc.), have the student black-out any info that they don’t want to share with the NCP).
I have to do it this year (for D’s final year of college) and had no idea it had changed. Yuk.