Preparing for the 2017-18 CSS Profile

With the fall approaching, families of rising seniors are turning their attention to financial aid requirements. While most every school requires the FAFSA to be completed in order to be considered for financial aid, more and more universities are also requiring the CSS Profile.

Here’s more info on the CSS Profile, but the purpose of this post is to help you determine what’s needed to prepare for the form.

Also check out how to prepare for the 2017-18 FAFSA >>

First of all, you should determine if you are applying to schools that require the CSS Profile. You can reach out to schools individually or you can check this site for those schools that require the CSS Profile.

Once you know that the CSS Profile is something that your family needs to complete, here are a few steps to help you prepare for completing the form:

Register for College Board account
You need to have an account on CollegeBoard.org under the applying student’s name. Most students will likely already have an account created, but they will need to remember their username and password. Otherwise, they’ll need to look this up to ensure they have it available.

Gather tax records and financial documents
The CSS Profile will ask questions about the previous tax year, the current tax year and the upcoming tax year. For the 2017-18 filing year, this would be 2015, 2016 and 2017. A majority of the questions involve the current tax year, and there are some estimates required in terms of the current and upcoming tax year, so be prepared to calculate these, either yourself or with the help of a tax professional.

Families will also need to gather information on savings, investments and retirement accounts. The CSS Profile will also ask about any forms of untaxed income that were received.

Complete pre-application worksheet
College Board provides a pre-application worksheet that you can complete ahead of time which will expedite the process when you sit down to fill out the official CSS Profile.

Have payment info available
Unlike the FAFSA, the CSS Profile costs money to submit, so be prepared for that. Families can qualify for a waiver of this fee.

If you follow these steps you will take a majority of the hassle and stress out of the CSS Profile.

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