FAFSA and CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

The U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid program is the largest provider of student aid.  It funds more than $150 billion in federal grants, loans, and work-study each year to more than 15 million college students.  In order to be eligible for federal aid, and many state and local scholarships you must complete the FAFSA.  The FAFSA offers an option called the FAFSA Student Aid Estimator where you provide basic financial information in order to estimate your eligibility for financial aid.

Please note that many colleges now ask applicants to fill out the FASFA and the CSS Profile regardless of whether or not you are eligible for need-based financial aid

The significantly revised 2024-25 FAFSA application is scheduled to open in December 2023 (it has historically opened on October 1st).  Changes to the FASFSA will be shared in our Fall Financial Aid presentation (October 2023 TBA).  As in the past it will be in your best interest to complete the FAFSA as soon as it becomes available. 

Useful (and legitimate) FAFSA Resources

Once launched, we anticipate helpful tutorials will be available through the Federal Student Aid website. We will do our best to keep you apprised of all changes and resources.

You should avoid all FAFSA websites except the official FAFSA website.  All others are fee sites that charge for various services  It is not necessary to pay to complete or submit the FAFSA.  It is manageable and free.

CSS (College Scholarship Service)/Financial Aid PROFILE

The CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE is an online application that collects financial information used by almost 500 colleges and scholarship programs to award financial aid from sources outside the federal government, including institutional scholarships, grants, and loans.  The College Board will send your PROFILE to the colleges and scholarship programs that you designate.  While not all colleges and scholarship programs require the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE, most highly selective schools do.   The following Student Guide lists 2023-24 CSS schools.

The CSS/PROFILE collects detailed and comprehensive information on family income and assets of all types, whereas the FAFSA collects information on income and only limited types of assets.  There are twice as many questions in the PROFILE as there are in the FAFSA.

The CSS/PROFILE is available in October and required by many schools at that time. It is therefore used by most schools with earlier decision plans.  Another difference between the PROFILE and the FAFSA is that there is an application fee.  This fee is $25.00 for current academic year applicants.  Additionally there is a reporting fee of $16.00 for each college or university to which you send the PROFILE.  Low income students may request fee waivers.

Completing the CSS Profile

Please attend all Pine View Financial Aid presentations and refer to the powerpoint presentations uploaded in the Presentations portion of this website.

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