As a college student, you quickly find that everywhere you look, there are options. You have options when it comes to choosing a store to eat at on campus, choosing classes you should take, choosing which teachers to avoid, choosing your work study job, choosing to study rather than party. The list goes on. Options for college students are pretty evident and frequent. Even more so, you have several options when it comes to receiving financial aid. However, you must first be aware of those financial aid options, and then complete your financial aid applications. Here are a few financial aid applications you should consider completing to receive money:

FAFSA - the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first stop you want to take in filling out financial aid applications. Most students who fill out the FAFSA get some type of federal financial aid. You can complete the FAFSA online at or complete a paper version of the application. The online application saves you the time it takes to mail back your application and keep up with all the papers. You are also able to save your online application and come back anytime to complete it. Furthermore, the online FAFSA application takes 3-5 days to process, while the paper FAFSA takes 7-10 days.

CSS Profile - The CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE is given out by the College Scholarship Service (CSS), the financial aid branch of the College Board. Many private colleges and universities require you to fill out the CSS PROFILE. These colleges and universities use this PROFILE to decide which non-government financial aid you are eligible for. The CSS PROFILE is different than the FAFSA in many ways. Some of those differences are:

  • The CSS PROFILE has no specific deadline but can be submitted in the fall, whereas, you are not able to submit your FAFSA before January 1 of any year.
  • The CSS PROFILE is more specific than the FAFSA. The FAFSA is the same for all applying, however, the CSS PROFILE asks you questions that pertain specifically to the school you are interested in attending.
  • The CSS PROFILE is also more specific than the FAFSA in that it factors in circumstances such as whether your family owns a home.
  • The CSS PROFILE costs $25.00 to file and send to one school plus $16.00 for each school or program you are applying to, and the FAFSA is, of course, free.

To complete your CSS PROFILE financial aid application online, go to You will need to find out the PROFILE code for the school or schools you are applying to. Call the school’s financial aid office for its code.

Financial Aid Supplements- In addition to the FAFSA and CSS Profile, you can also apply for financial aid supplements. A financial aid supplement is specific to the school or schools you are applying to. The questions on this form help support the information you already submitted on your FAFSA or CSS Profile. Because some schools require financial aid supplements, you should contact the school or schools you are applying to immediately after you submit your FAFSA. Even if your school does not require financial aid supplements, still check with your school about other scholarships, grants or money they may have available for you. It wouldn’t hurt to still fill out the form for financial aid supplements even if your school does not require it. You just may receive some money to help pay for college.

Clearly, the options are out there, you just have to grab at them and well, more specifically, fill out your financial aid applications.

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