Differences Between CSS Profile & FAFSA

Differences Between CSS Profile & FAFSA

 

  • The CSS PROFILE is administered by the College Board, a nonprofit organization, while the FAFSA is administered by the federal government.
  • Since the CSS PROFILE is not a federal government document, it will inform you of all the non-federal financial assistance you are eligible for (i.e., loans, scholarships, grants, etc.). The CSS PROFILE is available for submission as early as the fall of each year, while the FAFSA cannot be submitted until January 1 due to the updates of yearly taxes.
  • The CSS PROFILE focuses more on your family’s assets while the FAFSA focuses on your family’s annual income.
  • The FAFSA does not take minimum student contribution into account, while the CSS PROFILE does.
  • One of the most significant differences between the two forms is cost. The FAFSA is completely free whereas the CSS PROFILE carries fees. The CSS PROFILE charges a one-time $25 application fee; this $25 fee includes sending the report to one college. CSS charges $16 for sending the report to each additional college. Do not let these fees scare you away from filling out the CSS PROFILE. There are fee waivers available.