Thousands of students around the U.S. know that they must fill out a CSS Profile in addition to the FAFSA during the financial aid season.  While this application has no set national deadline, students must still be mindful of when they complete it.  This is very much the case for high school students applying to Early Decision programs and universities.  Early Decision applicants have a CSS Profile deadline of November 1st.

This deadline is in place primarily because of the way that Early Decision college applications work.  Students applying for this type of acceptance into college essentially are committing themselves to attending the specific school for which the application is submitted, should that school choose to accept them.  If a student is selected via Early Decision, all other college applications to other schools must be withdrawn.  All of this happens quite early in the college application season so that students may have an answer in a timely fashion.  The college application and the CSS Profile application are both due on November 15th, as the prospective school must know how they may financially assist each student.

You may know that the CSS Profile is used most often by private colleges and universities.  The application is used in conjunction with the FAFSA to determine what a student’s EFC (what the student is responsible for paying towards college) should be.

The Profile and FAFSA will both consider family finances and tax information in determining how much students should pay, and therefore, how much aid they will need.  The Profile will also take into account various family assets, i.e. home ownership, as well as if the family has other children they are paying for to attend school.  Paying a mortgage and additional tuitions for other children both greatly affect a family’s ability to contribute to education, which the government acknowledges.

Sometimes financial aid applications are affected by other factors.  Students are usually encouraged to get started on the CSS Profile early (it can be filed in the fall, so typically October) regardless of their situation.  November 15th is the end-of-the-line date for Early Decision applicants, however, so don’t forget it!

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