The CSS Profile is a financial aid form used by some colleges to award institutional aid.  It is usually required by private colleges that have more financial aid to award than public universities.  The CSS Profile is processed through CollegeBoard (the same company that administers and processes the SAT so you will log in using the same credentials used to register for the SAT).  The CSS Profile is used to determine your need by the college and asks for much more information regarding the student’s and parents’ financial situations, but not all the information is necessarily used by every college.  Unlike the FAFSA, there is not a standard Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) calculated because each college uses the information provided differently. 

For example, one college will not take the equity of your family home into consideration while another college will. A student whose parents have a significant amount of equity in their home will have a higher EFC at a college that looks at home equity than one that does not.  Unfortunately, most colleges do not publish the methodology they use to establish a student’s EFC using the CSS Profile, so it is impossible to know exactly what your EFC will be at each college.  With that said, College Funding Connection does own software that can calculate what your EFC will be at the average college that requires the CSS Profile, taking into consideration what colleges who have released their methodology use. 


Check each college where you applied (or plan to apply) to find out if the CSS Profile is required.  While on the website, be sure to note the deadline to submit the CSS Profile as well as other deadlines (such as to submit the FAFSA and your federal tax information).  Know that unlike the FAFSA, you can (and may be required to) submit the CSS Profile before January 1st.  Missing a financial aid deadline will not hurt your chances of being admitted to a college, but may make it so the cost is not affordable to you or your parents.  A college can choose to not award financial aid if you miss the deadline… so be sure to keep track of these important dates! 

Questions from our families:


What does CSS stand for?

CSS stand for College Scholarship Service 

When is the CSS Profile due?

There is no set deadline for the CSS Profile- each college has their own deadline to submit the form.  College Funding Connection recommends you submit all forms at least 10 days prior to the college’s due date to ensure it processes and is sent to the college in time.


Do you have a question regarding the CSS Profile or other financial aid form?  Submit your questions to  We will answer all questions with a personal email and yours may be featured in next week’s email!   

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