FAFSA and CSS completion date(s) this year

I’m reaching out to ask if anyone has insight into how schools that require both FAFSA and CSS will actually receive and evaluate the two submissions for this admissions cycle. I’m familiar with the FAFSA revamping process, so it can’t be completed until sometime in December when the new version launches, but most of the financial aid pages for the 10 or so colleges my daughter’s preparing admissions applications for have not been updated since last year (so they still say FAFSA will be available Oct 1) or for the two financial aid offices I have called they are telling me to submit CSS after Oct 1st and then FAFSA after it becomes available. A few schools are EA and one ED, so she will have 4 applications due on or before November 1st. With much appreciation and apology if this has been discussed elsewhere that I was unable to find on the forum.

You can contact each college and ask. Complete the Profile of required when it becomes available. Clearly, you can’t do the FAFSA until it becomes available and colleges know this.

So do each when they become available to submit.

@kelsmom anything to add?

Nothing to add - your advice is spot-on.

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After calling the FA offices at several schools where our daughter plans to apply, we’re generally learning they will want us to complete the CSS Profile after Oct 1st but before their FA deadline for ED (typically by Nov. 15), and then they will want us to complete the FAFSA after it becomes available in December (no deadline yet but likely Jan 15).

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This is exactly what I have found on a few college websites - the CSS is due at time of submitting ED/EA and the FAFSA is due mid January.

My guess is CSS schools are in a better position than non-CSS schools as they will have their own forms with even more data for which they should be able to make FA awards before the FAFSA is even filed? I am hoping this is the case.

I have been surprised, however, by how many colleges have not updated their NPC and websites to reflect that the FAFSA is not being released on 10/1. Not only that but one school said “oops” we have a NPC but its not updated with the changes so it will not be accurate. I mean seriously.

What I am REALLY hoping is that CSS schools will continue to take into consideration if a family has more than one child in college.

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Same experience here. As late as last week - Sept. 7th when I last checked - close to half of the schools on my daughter’s list had not updated the FA pages on their websites - in fact, they still say that FAFSA will be available to complete starting October 1st! In my eyes, it’s inconsiderate to communicate inaccurate information.

In defense of overwhelmed financial aid offices across the country, please have patience. Aid offices are short staffed, and making sure current students are properly taken care of is first priority. The FAFSA changes require technical changes on the part of schools, which take staff resources. I guarantee you that every school wishes they could have everything set right now, but they have to make choices regarding how to direct limited staff resources.

Using current calculators will give you a ballpark idea of cost, which will help you decide whether it makes sense to apply. If things change drastically, you may need to take the school off the table later. But you’ll have the information you need in time to make a final decision.

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The current calculators take into consideration if a family has multiple students in college. The million-dollar question that many would want to know is whether colleges that use CSS will still adhere to this policy or not once FAFSA changes.
Every single school counselor tells families to run the NPC before agreeing to sign the ED contract. So I’m sure there are lots of nervous parents who may have an upcoming deadline, yet cannot run the NPC with any certainty.
I do not think this is the fault of the financial aid offices at all - there is some company somewhere that oversees all the NPC calculators.

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