CSS Profile questions

<p>Do all schools require a CSS profile? It's $16 a pop! Ouch! Are we going to need to scour each college's website for this info or is there someplace that shows which schools require it? Is there any way around that expense? What happens if you don't fill it out but only fill out the FAFSA? Sorry, but I'm still really confused about this stuff. :-( I thought it would be straight forward but didn't realize how expensive it is to send CSS profiles to schools.</p>

<p>Here is a link that lists the schools that require the CSS Profile
<a href="https://profileonline.collegeboard.com/prf/PXRemotePartInstitutionServlet/PXRemotePartInstitutionServlet.srv%5B/url%5D"&gt;https://profileonline.collegeboard.com/prf/PXRemotePartInstitutionServlet/PXRemotePartInstitutionServlet.srv&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>I would double check your schools too. I do not know how frequently this list is updated. If your school requires the profile you will not be considered for financial aid if you do not fill it out. Make sure to check the deadlines on each school's website they vary. I have seen as early as 1/15 and as late as 3/1 for regular decision.</p>

<p>You need to check each college website for their requirements and due dates. Some colleges have supplemental forms. Make a spreadsheet if you applied to a boatload of colleges. If you need aid filing the forms is a very important step in the process. Colleges that utilize Profile are generally expensive colleges and if you don't qualify for fee waivers the Profile filing cost is miniscule compared to the amount on the bill that will arrive this summer. Take the time to check each website and do what needs to be done on time...it's as important as the original application if you need aid to attend.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Do all schools require a CSS profile?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>No...there are about 300 colleges that REQUIRE the CSS Profile for consideration of need based institutional funds.</p>

<p>
[quote]
It's $16 a pop! Ouch!

[/quote]

If you net need based aid, this $16 per school will seem like a small amount.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Are we going to need to scour each college's website for this info or is there someplace that shows which schools require it?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Yes..the best place to find this info is on the financial aid section of each school's website. I wouldn't say you need to "scour"...you just need to go to the finaid section and see how you apply for aid. The schools list the required things, and the deadlines (these could include the FAFSA, Profile, school form, tax forms etc...so check EACH school).</p>

<p>
[quote]
Is there any way around that expense?

[/quote]

If you are very low income, you might qualify for a fee waiver for the CSS Profile, I believe. This is meant for students who are significantly needy.</p>

<p>
[quote]
What happens if you don't fill it out but only fill out the FAFSA?

[/quote]

If a school requires the PROFILE, you need to fill it out for consideration for THEIR institutional money or you will NOT get any of it. Period. You are required to complete ALL forms the school requires and send in all required supporting documentation.</p>

<p>If you ONLY complete the FAFSA, you will ONLY be eligible for federally funded aid. Everyone completing a FAFSA can take out a Stafford loan. If your FAFSA EFC is below $5200 or so, you could get a portion of the Pell grant by completing FAFSA only. BUT if you are applying to a school that requires the Profile, it is likely that it is a pricey place. The federally funded aid you might receive will be a very small drop in the bucket compared to the full cost of attending.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Sorry, but I'm still really confused about this stuff. :-( I thought it would be straight forward but didn't realize how expensive it is to send CSS profiles to schools.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>How many of your schools require the Profile?</p>

<p>Thanks for all the responses. I guess I will go through all the schools today. The good news is at least one, Princeton, does not require the Profile; they only require the FAFSA.</p>

<p>Since we are not low income (78K this year for a family of 5), for schools where my son already had full tuition and full tuition plus stipend scholarships, does he still need to fill out the Profile, do you think?</p>

<p>Thank-you!!</p>

<p>If the college requires the Profile you will have to fill it out. Some may waive that if you aren't asking for FA but only merit.</p>

<p>OP look VERY CAREFULLY at each colleges financial aid web page. Although Princeton does not require the CSS Profile they DO require the PFAA (Princeton Financial Aid Application) in addition to the FAFSA. Here:
Princeton</a> University | Apply for Financial Aid</p>

<p>Every school has their own requirements.</p>

<p>If the school requires the Profile be completed, you MUST complete it. </p>

<p>
[quote]
for schools where my son already had full tuition and full tuition plus stipend scholarships, does he still need to fill out the Profile, do you think?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Are you saying that your son has already been awarded some full tuition awards? If so, you need to contact the colleges and ask THEM if you need to complete any additional forms. I know that at my son's school (old news he's 27) he got a sizable merit award with his acceptance but his school REQUIRED all incoming freshmen to complete the Profile and FAFSA for ALL awards including merit awards (MisterK and I have had this discussion before...we had NO financial need. DS's merit award was a music performance award based on his audition...pure merit. If there had been a need component, he would NOT have gotten a merit scholarship award at all as our family contribution was well in excess of the cost of attendance).</p>

<p>SO...you need to check with the colleges. If they require the Profile, you will have to complete it...and if you want consideration for need based institutional aid for a school requiring the PROFILE...you need to complete it.</p>

<p>NewEnglandMother,</p>

<p>My son was accepted SCEA to Princeton so I had to fill out the PFAA in November so that's done. We just need to submit tax forms and FAFSA by April 15.</p>

<p>I've looked at the site that lists CSS schools. WUSTL says a student can fill out their FFP or CSS, so I can't see a reason to fill it out there if we're given a choice.</p>

<p>Thumper, yes, my son's been awarded full tuition at Pitt and full tution plus stipend at Univ. of Texas, Dallas. Neither school is on the CSS list but I'll double check on their websites. It looks like 4 schools will require the CSS.</p>

<p>One more question: What is the IDOC and where do I fill that out? At the link, it says IDOC is required for some of these schools?</p>

<p>Thanks very much.</p>

<p>
[quote]
We just need to submit tax forms and FAFSA by April 15.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>You really should plan to have this done MUCH earlier than April 15. Any need based financial aid award you got from Princeton was based on ESTIMATES of your 2011 income, not on actual tax numbers. You really want to have the final "stuff" into them so that they can process your need based aid in time to give you a REAL (not estimated) award by the time your kiddo needs to make a matriculation decision by May 1. If you don't get your tax info and FAFSA to them until April 15, they probably will not be able to process this in time. Of course, if you are anticipating being full pay at Princeton and do not expect need based aid, this doesn't really matter...</p>

<p>IDOC is a service used by some schools. If the school uses IDOC, you do not have to send your tax documents to the school directly. You send it to IDOC and THEY send it on to the school(s) you need to have it sent to. I believe that you will see information about this (if the school requires use of IDOC for tax info) when you complete the Profile. I believe (not sure about this) that ONLY schools using the Profile use IDOC, and not all of those even do this.</p>

<p>Four schools requiring CSS Profile isn't all that bad. BUT you do want to get your 2011 taxes done ASAP so that you can use the real numbers from your 2011 tax returns to complete it..(and the FAFSA too). Make sure you check the deadlines for EACH school for all required financial aid application information. What you need to send and the deadlines vary wildly from place to place. Do NOT miss the deadlines under any circumstances. In fact, try to submit early...just in case there is a snafu of some sort.</p>

<p>Oh definitely, Thumper. As soon as my dh's work sends him his W2s, we can file. Usually we're done before the end of January. I'll hopefully have everything in place to file both FAFSA and CSS by the third or fourth week in January. I've already completed the CSS but I would like to actually have exact 2011 numbers. Of course it will depend on my dh's employer and whether they are timely with their documents.</p>

<p>I've made my spreadsheet and am filling in all the deadlines.</p>

<p>What is the website for IDOC or will the CSS automatically send the info to IDOC? I see on the list from the link that NewEnglandMother sent that three of my son's schools use it.</p>

<p>It's better to have estimates and send in FAFSA in January, than wait and have actuals in Feb or March. </p>

<p>It's harder to correct CSS PROFILE for those schools that require it.</p>

<p>Plus - what is the deadline for the FAFSA and CSS PROFILE for Princeton?</p>

<p>Ok, thanks for the tip. I did already finish the CSS based on last year's taxes. Literally, my dh made exactly $2,000 more than 2010 and that is about the only change except that we had a medical savings account in 2011 and will have more of one in 2012. So, I will go ahead and file the CSS this weekend since I finished it.</p>

<p>Princeton's FAFSA deadline is April 15th and they don't require the CSS. (Yay!) They are extremely generous with their aid and we are extremely grateful and hopeful but of course, won't know all the final numbers until spring.</p>

<p>The FAFSA is easy to correct online. </p>

<p>I hate the CSS PROFILE! It's so long and involved. </p>

<p>Good luck!</p>

<p>
[quote]
Princeton's FAFSA deadline is April 15th

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Yes, I know that is their published deadline. BUT really, if you want to be certain that your need based award is accurate before May 1, you need to get it done earlier than that.</p>

<p>True story...our estimated income when DD was an applicant was $3000 less than our actual income. She received three financial aid awards from three schools where she got early acceptances. We filed our FAFSA in February as soon as we could. Each school sent her an updated award based on our ACTUAL numbers. One school, a FAFSA only school, cut her grant aid from $12,000 to $3000. The ONLY change was our income was $3000 less. We were grateful we knew about this BEFORE she made her matriculation decision. It was a top choice school until this happened...and they financial aid office would not even discuss their award change. They went right off the list.</p>

<p>Princeton is much more generous with their financial aid, but if it were me, I'd want my award to be based on the actual numbers, not estimates. It IS good that your estimates are so close.</p>

<p>P.S. My guess is that the four schools requiring the Profile also require the FAFSA and likely have a MUCH earlier deadline than April 15. That being the case, just get your taxes done and include Princeton when you submit the FAFSA to them.</p>

<p>Another thought...your son has already gotten some great acceptances and awards...is there any chance that he wants to withdraw any of those pending applications? His current options look mighty good...Princeton, Pitt, UT Dallas. All great options. Are the pending applications top choices too? If not, you could save the $16 per school for any he is no longer interested in.</p>

<p>Just saying.</p>

<p>If my dh and I can find time, my goal is to have everything done with real numbers by the end of January but I just don't know if that's possible. I worked and earned a whopping $100 as a dance teacher this year but I am not sure my employer will send the W2 early.</p>

<p>Thumper, good questions! I would say my son's top choices are Princeton, MIT (still has to submit the application today), Harvey Mudd (which financially doesn't look good unless he gets their top scholarship), and possibly Penn (still hasn't submitted and I'm not sure it's the right fit, though he loved the school when we visited). He does like the idea of Pitt and is waiting to hear if he's a finalist for their full ride scholarship but I don't think it's quite the right fit for some of his interests, though he loves the city.</p>

<p>Other schools on the list are Vandy, WUSTL, Caltech (hasn't submitted; not sure he'll get it done), and Baylor (also in the running for the full ride but we aren't sure this is the right fit, either).</p>

<p><em>My</em> favorite is Mudd 'cause it's close to home, but again, without the final numbers at each school (including acceptances and rejections), it's really hard to know. Your story is <em>really</em> sobering. I don't understand how a grant can go down when income goes down-makes no sense to me.</p>

<p>I suppose we can all sit down and discuss with my son if he'd be willing to let go of some schools since he got into Princeton. Dh and I easily would let go of Vandy and WUSTL because he's never been and they could easily reject him, as well.</p>

<p>Mudd, Vandy, Caltech, Penn, and MIT all require CSS. WUSTL seems to offer its own version. So, for sure, he'd do it for Mudd and MIT.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I don't understand how a grant can go down when income goes down-makes no sense to me.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>OOPS...did I say our income went down? I meant to say...or estimated income was only $3000 less than our actual income...our actual income was $3000 higher...but at that one school it lessened a grant by $9000. </p>

<p>Just FYI...the other two schools made no changes in my D's financial aid between the estimates and the final awards.</p>

<p>No, you said it right; I misread it. Sorry about that!</p>

<p>I would file the FAFSA as soon as possible (which it sounds like you plan to) and this link indicates that you should file the final tax forms by March 15th.
Princeton</a> University | Application Dates & Deadlines</p>

<p>BTW - Mudd usually has great FA hopefully that will be true for you too.</p>