Top 10 Common CSS Profile Questions

The CSS Profile is one of the most common forms of financial aid applications in the US. Learn about the different CSS Profile questions, the application deadline, requirements and more.

TCM Staff

13th October 2020

College expenses can be quite hefty and several times many students are unable to meet the monetary requirements. However, the provision of federal and non-federal financial aids have helped students overcome such obstacles.

The College Scholarship Service Profile, otherwise known as the CSS Profile is an online application fabricated and supported by the US-based College Board that provides college students with the opportunity to apply for non-federal financial assistance.

What is the CSS Profile?

The primary goal of a CSS Profile is to determine the financial conditions of a student's family to pay for their child's education. This is also used to determine the eligibility of a candidate for their financial aid. The Common CSS Profile is far more descriptive and deep when compared to the United States federal application, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The CSS Profile is one of the most common forms of financial aid applications in the US. The general opening date for the CSS Profile Application is on October 1 every year. One of the core requirements for this application is applying student’s financial position and their requirement. The information is then forwarded to the member educational institutions of an applicant's choice to receive the necessary assistance.

10 CSS Profile Questions for Students

The CSS Profile requires the applicants to upload some personal details, which are as follows - 

1. Name of a Candidate

Need to be supported by official and certified documents with his/her name on it.

2. Contact details of applicants and their household

An applicant must provide their valid contact details on the application for any further communication

3. Age of a recipient

Need to be supported by official and certified documents; the applicant must fall into the acceptable age-pool to be eligible for application.

4. Financial income statements

Not every student will be eligible to receive financial assistance. It is important that candidates provide necessary documents proving their need. Those candidates who fall under a certain income level would have to submit this to proceed further.

5. Academic background

Every document relating to a candidate's academics such as official transcripts, letters of recommendation, reports, and more must be submitted along with the application form.

6. Home Equity of a Student

Home equity is one of the few assets that alter your ability to meet educational expenses. It is important to provide information related to your home equity while applying for educational institutions.

7. Business value and retirement value

If the applicant is a part of a business, it is critical to disclose the important details relating to the business during the application process. The important details include the business value and the retirement value of the business. Both of the details need to be calculated and dated on the day of the application itself.

8. Other resources available to the applicant to pay for their college

The applicant also needs to mention other sources of finance that the applicant has applied or is receiving funds from, for the academic requirements. The other resources of funds may include - military benefits, scholarships, etc.

9. Extenuating circumstances applicable to the applicant

In case the applicant has one or more dependants in their household, they will be required to submit viable documents related to the dependants, like - eldercare obligations, the financial requirements of the dependant(s), etc.

10. Explanatory comments

This section provides you with the liberty to go deep into the information that you provided and give some extra details that may seem relevant. This section is a very important part of the application as it delivers a more descriptive context to your information which may not have been you provided earlier.

How much financial aid can an eligible candidate secure via the CSS Profile?

The financial aid eligibility differs from school to school. The College Board’s EFC Calculator can help you estimate your aid requirement on the basis of the submitted CSS Profile.

The CSS Profile methodology for determining financial assistance constitutes the following:

Adequate information

Information collected includes,

  • Family finance

  • Consideration of assets (neglected by FAFSA): Home equity, revenue from the small family business, family farms.

School customized questions

Often, colleges add customized questions and formulate their own methodology to determine aid. 

The income of divorced parents

Schools may also take into account the economical status of divorced or separated parents for the CSS Profile, unlike the FAFSA which accounts for only one parent.

Colleges that accept CSS profile

Many educational institutions may require the CSS profile despite your FAFSA. Few of the institutions that accept the CSS profile are-

For the detailed list of the institutions that require the CSS profile, visit CollegeBoard

What is the CSS profile deadline?

The general opening date for the CSS Profile Application for the year 2020-2021 was assigned as October 1, 2019. Individual schools and programs have their own established deadline. However, it is recommended to submit no later than two weeks before the deadline.

CSS Application Fees

The fee required for the CSS Profile Application is $25 for the first institution and $16 for each additional institution applied to.

CSS Profile vs FAFSA


CSS Profile



The application cost for one report- $25

Cost of the additional reports- $16


Governing body

College Board

Department of Education

Type of aid


Federal, and sometimes state and institutional

You may also read about - CSS profile vs FAFSA





It is recommended to scrutinize the information related to the CSS Profile before taking it under consideration. A punctual submission can help in a long way and is highly prescribed. Legitimate information/documents should be submitted to avoid any undesirable circumstances.

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