What is the CSS Profile Deadline for the Upcoming School Year?

  • The CSS Profile opens on October 1 every year but the deadline for submission varies among schools
  • Most colleges set the deadline between January 1 and March 31 for regular decision students
  • The College Board publishes an updated list every year of all the colleges that require the CSS Profile

The CSS profile deadline varies from one school to another. If you’re applying to a college that requests the CSS Profile, make sure to take note of the deadline so you don’t miss it.

Not all colleges request the CSS Profile so make sure to check your school’s requirements. If the college you’re applying to requests the CSS profile, you’ll definitely want to complete it as it can impact your financial aid and make college more affordable.

What is the CSS Profile?

The CSS Profile is a financial aid application similar to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Unlike FAFSA, however, this application is used for awarding non-federal, institutional aid to students who qualify.

Graphic showing difference between FAFSA and CSS.

The CSS Profile is managed by the College Board. The application includes more questions than the FAFSA related to your family’s financial situation to help create a full financial picture. Colleges and universities can include school-specific questions on the form.

Around 250 schools and programs accept the CSS Profile. They use the information you provide on the application to calculate personalized financial aid packages for each student. See how completing this form can greatly impact your financial aid offers.

What is the CSS Profile Deadline for 2024 – 2025?

The CSS Profile deadline for 2024 – 2025 varies from school to school. Most colleges set the deadline between January 1, 2024, and March 31, 2024, for regular decision students. If you’re applying under Early Action or Early Decision, it may be due sooner.

Harvard, for example, requires the CSS Profile to be submitted by November 1 for Early Action students, February 1 for regular decision students, and March 1 for transfers.

The CSS Profile is available to students starting October 1 for the upcoming school year. So the application for the 2024 – 2025 school year could be accessed on October 1, 2023. This is the same date FAFSA usually becomes available.

There is a large window between October 1, which is the date the application becomes available, and March 31, which is the CSS Profile deadline. Despite this six-month window, it’s recommended that you complete and submit your CSS Profile as soon as it becomes available. The closer to the opening date the better for two reasons.

Applications are assessed and financial aid calculated as each application comes in. The earlier you submit your application, the higher your chances of getting the maximum financial aid that you qualify for.

Another advantage of an early submission is that it leaves ample time to correct any technical errors or data mistakes in the form.

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What Is The CSS Profile Priority Deadline?

Some schools list two deadlines for submitting the CSS Profile – the priority deadline and the regular deadline.

The priority deadline allows students to submit their profile and application earlier than the regular deadline. They will also receive an answer faster. If your college or university offers this deadline, you may want to submit your information by this date. Scholarships and grants can run out, so applying under the priority deadline could increase your chances of getting maximum financial aid!

What Do You Do If You Miss the CSS Profile Deadline?

Colleges and universities do try as much as possible to work with students who submit their CSS profiles after the deadline. However, getting a response may take a bit longer as on-time submissions by other students will take priority.

Another downside of missing the CSS Profile deadline is if the allocated funds are already used up, you may miss out on receiving any financial aid package.

If you believe you’re going to have to submit your CSS Profile late or you missed the deadline, contact your school’s financial aid department at your earliest opportunity. Find out if they accept late applications and get details on what to do next.

Which Schools Require The CSS Profile?

Over 200 colleges and universities use the CSS Profile, which is managed by College Board. Every year, the College Board website publishes an updated list of all the colleges, universities, and scholarship programs that require the CSS Profile.

Take time to go through the entire list. If any college you’re applying to is featured on the list, make sure to get all the information you need beforehand about how and when to submit your application. The College Board recommends checking each school’s website or contacting the institution for their CSS Profile deadline and any other information. As we said earlier, each school sets its own deadline so it’s important to get the submission deadline for each college individually.

Do Colleges That Require the CSS Profile Also Require The FAFSA?

Yes. If you’re applying to a school that requires the CSS Profile, you must also file the FAFSA. This is very important. The CSS Profile and the FAFSA are two very different types of financial aid applications.

The FAFSA is issued by the federal government. It determines how much federal financial aid you are eligible for by way of federal grants, scholarships, and student loans.

The CSS Profile, on the other hand, determines how much institutional aid you’re eligible for from the school you’re attending. This application form has many more questions than the FAFSA. It digs deeper into your family’s financial circumstances with lots of very in-depth questions. Make sure to take your time and answer all questions accurately as you may need to provide documentation supporting your answers at a later time.

How The CSS Profile Works – The Application & Beyond

The first thing you’ll need to do is open a CSS Profile account. The first application costs $25. Subsequent applications cost $16 each. You may qualify for a fee waiver if your family’s adjusted gross income is less than $100,000 or if you’re under the age of 24 and an orphan or ward of the court. If you qualify for a SAT fee waiver, you automatically also qualify for a CSS Profile fee waiver.

Once you’ve paid the fee and registered, you’ll get access to the CSS Profile application form. Don’t get overwhelmed by all the questions you see listed on the form. Remember, you are not required to answer every question. Only answer those that apply to you unless it is marked as required or mandatory. This breakdown of the CSS Financial Profile details information you’ll need to provide as well as what documents you need to keep handy while filling out the form.

After you apply, the colleges and scholarship programs that you’ve listed will receive and review it. They will then use the information you’ve provided to calculate your financial aid award.

You can still add colleges that you want to send your profile to even after you’ve submitted the application. This can be done easily by logging in to your CSS Profile account. You should know you will be charged for every school you add to the form after submission.

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