What is the CSS PROFILE? The Other Financial Aid Form

Note asking what are css profile schoolsThe CSS PROFILE is basically a non-governmental financial aid application administered by the College Board, the same people who bring you the SAT and the AP Exams. Although used by some scholarship programs and graduate schools (the CSS stands for College Scholarship Service), it is more commonly used by over 200 colleges to determine eligibility for institutional aid. (You can see a list of all PROFILE colleges below.)

Why You Should Care about the CSS PROFILE

The PROFILE asks much more detailed questions than the FAFSA including in some cases the year of the car you drive. However, given that some of the schools most generous with their financial aid use the PROFILE, it can be worth answering the financially intrusive questions. After all, it is their money.

Unlike the FAFSA, the EFC calculated by PROFILE schools use their own institutional methodology (IM) as oppose to the Federal Methodology. Furthermore, although the application is being administered by a single entity, the schools are not necessarily using the same institutional methodology. This means that EFC calculated by the PROFILE will vary from school to school-there is no one PROFILE EFC.

Furthermore, completing the PROFILE does not mean you get out of having to submit the FAFSA. If you want to be eligible for any federal and possibly state programs, you’ll have to complete the FAFSA as well. This includes federal student loans, work-study, and Pell Grants.

Students will also have to pay to submit the PROFILE. There is a set $25 to submit the form to one school and then $16 for each additional school. The PROFILE does have fee waivers but they are granted only once students have completed the form.

Who Should Care about the CSS PROFILE

Because of the differences between the FAFSA and the PROFILE, students can receive very different financial aid awards depending on their family’s situation. If you fall into any of the following categories, you should pay extra attention to the school’s net price calculator.

If you have substantial home equity.

Unlike the FAFSA, the PROFILE asks for information on home equity although not all schools use that information as part of their institutional methodology. Furthermore, the schools that do generally cap the contribution expected from home equity at some percentage. This is a good reason to use the college’s net price calculator.

If you are divorced.

The FAFSA does not require information from the non-custodial parent whereas the PROFILE does for some schools. It’s actually a separate form for the parent to complete. You can find a list of PROFILE schools that require the non-custodial form at the College Board.

If you have large health related expenses.

The PROFILE has specific areas for you to enter information on health and dental expenses; the FAFSA does not.

If you have large retirement investments.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, the PROFILE asks a lot more questions about your finances in general than the FAFSA and that includes retirement savings. Again, net price calculators can be your friend.

If you are considering applying to any of the following schools.

The list of schools requiring the PROFILE changes from year to year as some decide to start using the application while others drop it. You can find the most up to date list at the College Board.

You should also use the College Board’s EFC calculator since it is literally the only EFC calculator that can provide your EFC for PROFILE schools. And even that will be an estimate.

US Colleges the Require the PROFILE
(with 500 or more full-time undergraduates)

Institution Name State Type Application Fee % Admitted
Alabama A&M University AL Public $30 90
Birmingham-Southern College AL Private $50 62
Spring Hill College AL Private $25 46
California Institute of Tech CA Private $75 8
Claremont McKenna College CA Private $70 10
Harvey Mudd College CA Private $70 15
Occidental College CA Private $65 42
Otis College of Art and Design CA Private $50 91
Pitzer College CA Private $70 16
Pomona College CA Private $70 8
Santa Clara University CA Private $60 54
Scripps College CA Private $60 33
Stanford University CA Private $90 5
Univ of Southern California (USC) CA Private $80 16
Colorado College CO Private $60 15
Univ of Denver CO Private $65 58
Connecticut College CT Private $0 38
Fairfield University CT Private $60 61
Sacred Heart University CT Private $50 60
Trinity College (CT) CT Private $65 34
Wesleyan University CT Private $55 16
Yale University CT Private $80 7
American University DC Private $70 29
Catholic University of America DC Private $55 83
George Washington University DC Private $75 41
Georgetown University DC Private $75 16
Jacksonville University FL Private $30 87
Ringling College of Art and Design FL Private $70 64
Stetson University FL Private $50 68
Univ of Miami FL Private $70 36
Berry College GA Private $0 62
Emory University GA Private $75 22
Georgia Institute of Technology GA Public $75 23
Grinnell College IA Private $0 29
Northwestern College IA Private $0 68
Wartburg College IA Private $0 77
Illinois Wesleyan University IL Private $0 61
Lake Forest College IL Private $0 53
Northwestern University IL Private $75 9
Univ of Chicago IL Private $75 9
DePauw University IN Private $40 67
Marian University IN Private $35 59
Marian University IN Private $0 68
Univ of Notre Dame IN Private $75 19
Tulane University LA Private $0 21
Amherst College MA Private $60 13
Babson College MA Private $75 24
Bentley University MA Private $75 44
Berklee College of Music MA Private $150 53
Boston College MA Private $80 32
Boston University MA Private $80 25
Brandeis University MA Private $80 34
Clark University MA Private $60 56
College of the Holy Cross MA Private $60 40
Emerson College MA Private $65 46
Hampshire College MA Private $0 63
Harvard College MA Private $75 5
Massachusetts Inst of Tech MA Private $75 7
Mount Holyoke College MA Private $60 51
Northeastern University MA Private $75 27
Smith College MA Private $0 32
Stonehill College MA Private $60 72
Tufts University MA Private $75 15
Wellesley College MA Private $0 22
Wheaton College (MA) MA Private $60 48
Williams College MA Private $65 15
Worcester Polytechnic Institute MA Private $65 48
Johns Hopkins University MD Private $70 13
Loyola University Maryland MD Private $60 75
Bates College ME Private $60 22
Bowdoin College ME Private $65 14
Colby College ME Private $0 16
Thomas College ME Private $0
Hillsdale College MI Private $35 41
Olivet College MI Private $25 70
Univ of Michigan MI Public $75 27
Carleton College MN Private $0 21
Gustavus Adolphus College MN Private $0 68
Macalester College MN Private $40 41
St. Olaf College MN Private $0 43
Saint Louis University MO Private $0 64
Washington University: St. Louis MO Private $75 16
William Jewell College MO Private $0 48
Davidson College NC Private $50 20
Duke University NC Private $85 10
Elon University NC Private $50 67
Univ of North Carolina Chapel NC Public $85 24
Wake Forest University NC Private $65 28
Dartmouth College NH Private $80 10
St. Anselm College NH Private $50 76
Stevens Institute Technology NJ Private $70 44
Bard College NY Private $50 58
Barnard College NY Private $75 15
Colgate University NY Private $60 28
Cornell University NY Private $80 13
Fordham University NY Private $70 46
Hamilton College (NY) NY Private $60 24
Hobart and William Smith Coll NY Private $0 64
Ithaca College NY Private $60 71
Marist College NY Private $50 43
New York University NY Private $80 28
Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst NY Private $70 43
Siena College NY Private $50 78
Skidmore College NY Private $65 25
Syracuse University NY Private $75 47
Union College (NY) NY Private $0 37
Univ of Rochester NY Private $50 34
Vassar College NY Private $70 24
Case Western Reserve University OH Private $70 33
College of Wooster OH Private $0 56
Denison University OH Private $0 37
Kenyon College OH Private $0 34
Marietta College OH Private $0 67
Oberlin College OH Private $0 34
Lewis & Clark College OR Private $0 71
Oregon State University OR Public $65 79
Reed College OR Private $0 36
Bryn Mawr College PA Private $50 38
Bucknell University PA Private $40 31
Carnegie Mellon University PA Private $75 22
Dickinson College PA Private $65 49
Drexel University PA Private $50 79
Franklin and Marshall College PA Private $60 34
Gettysburg College PA Private $60 46
Haverford College PA Private $65 20
Kutztown University PA Public $35 83
Lafayette College PA Private $65 31
Lehigh University PA Private $70 25
Swarthmore College PA Private $60 11
Univ of Pennsylvania PA Private $75 9
Villanova University PA Private $80 36
Brown University RI Private $75 8
Providence College RI Private $65 52
Rhode Island School of Design RI Private $60 32
Furman University SC Private $50 61
Rhodes College TN Private $0 51
Sewanee: The University of the South TN Private $0 47
Trevecca Nazarene University, TN TN Private $25 70
Vanderbilt University TN Private $50 11
Baylor University TX Private 39
Rice University TX Private $75 16
Southern Methodist University TX Private $60 49
St. Edwards University TX Private $50 84
Texas Christian University TX Private $50 41
Trinity University TX Private 38
College of William and Mary VA Public $75 36
Univ of Richmond VA Private $50 33
Univ of Virginia VA Public $70 27
Washington and Lee University VA Private $60 22
Bennington College VT Private $0 57
Middlebury College VT Private $65 17
Norwich University VT Private 65
Pacific Lutheran University, WA WA Private $0 75
Whitman College WA Private $50 52
Whitworth University WA Private $0 89
Lawrence University WI Private $0 61
Northland College WI Private $50 61
What is the CSS PROFILE? The Other Financial Aid Form