How to Complete the CSS Profile®
Each year College Board’s CSS Profile® unlocks access to billions of dollars in grants and scholarships for thousands of students. CSS Profile is an online application that collects information used by hundreds of colleges, universities, professional schools, and scholarship programs to award financial aid from sources outside of the federal government. After you submit your application, the College Board sends it to the colleges and scholarship programs you have chosen.
Who Should Complete
Not all colleges and scholarship programs require the CSS Profile. Check with the ones you’re interested in to see if they require it.
When to Complete
Start your CSS Profile by visiting cssprofile.org at least two weeks before the earliest college or scholarship priority application date you need to meet. This date is the college or program’s deadline for submitting a completed CSS Profile application.
How Much It Costs
CSS Profile is free for families who make up to $100,000 a year. First-year domestic undergraduate students may submit CSS Profile for free if your family adjusted gross income is up to $100,000 or you qualify for an SAT fee waiver, or you are an orphan or ward of the court under the age of 24. CSS Profile fee waivers cover all application and reporting fees. If you do not qualify for a fee waiver submitting your CSS Profile to one college or scholarship program costs $25. Additional reports are $16 each. To qualify for the SAT-based fee waiver, students must log in to CSS Profile using the same College Board account used for the SAT. Providing eligible students with fee waivers for College Board programs and services is integral to our mission of connecting students to college success and opportunity.
The Process: How to Complete the Application
Before You Start
- Visit cssprofile.org.
- Prepare by reviewing the helpful application resources found in the “Getting Started” section of the website.
- The CSS Profile Overview answers many common application questions and takes just a few minutes to review.
- Ready to begin? Select the “Sign In” link and follow the instructions.
Completing the Application
- Have tax records and financial documents handy.
- Enter the required information about you and your family.
- Help is only one click away within the application through live chat, email, or phone.
Here’s what you can expect:
- The application dashboard is a helpful tool that provides a quick status of your progress and important messages from colleges. Questions are personalized based on your situation.
- Expect to be asked about income, assets, and expenses.
- If your parents are divorced or separated, review the Divorced or Separated Parents section to learn more about what to expect.
- Your application is saved along the way. Return at any time to complete the application.
- You’ll receive alerts to missing or incorrect information.
- Secure data—your information is encrypted and stored with firewall protection.
Submit the Application
To complete your application select a college or scholarship program and enter your payment information. Once you have submitted your application, college-specific messages and a payment confirmation are available in the application dashboard. Your application can be saved or printed from the application dashboard. This includes the data you entered on your application and your college and scholarship list. Note: At any time, you may add a college or program to your CSS Profile application from this dashboard.
The data on your CSS Profile is analyzed and reported to the colleges and scholarship programs you have specified. They then use the report to help determine your financial aid award.