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Quick! Show Me the Money--the CSS Profile

Original post made by Doing College on Sep 30, 2013

Timing is critical. For high school seniors who plan to request financial aid, now is the time to determine the forms required at each college on your list. You can do this by looking at the financial aid webpage found under the admissions tab. While all colleges want you to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), you will find approximately 280 schools and institutions ask for an additional form called the CSS Profile. You should [Web Link visit] for information about the form. You should also be aware that some colleges have their own institutional forms to complete in addition to or as a substitute for the CSS Profile.

If you are applying Early Decision (ED) or Early Action (EA) and the school requires the CSS Profile, it is usually due at the same time. For instance, Bates College offers an ED date of November 15, and on the same date Colorado College offers both ED and EA options to its applicants. The CSS Profile is due at both institutions on November 15 along with the family's 2012 Federal Income Tax Returns and W-2 Forms. In addition, the 2014-15 FAFSA is due at both colleges no later than February 15. The 2013 W-2 Forms (parent and applicant), on the other hand, are required at Bates by February 15 and at Colorado College by March 1. Meeting all deadlines for forms, early and otherwise, allows the colleges to give you a financial aid offer right around the time you are accepted. Modifications are made as you provide updated numbers based on your 2013 tax returns to your colleges.

To stay on top of the process, create a spreadsheet. A little work now should produce financial benefits later. The point is to stay on track, you must be aware of the college application deadlines and how these connect to the financial aid deadlines and follow instructions carefully. A lot depends on it.

Visit [Web Link Elizabeth] to learn more about her and her college counseling services. Or call Elizabeth @ 925 891-4491.

Elizabeth LaScala is the founder of Doing College and Beyond. Originally from New York, Elizabeth attended Hunter College, received a B.S., and continued with graduate study at the University of Michigan. After a number of years working in project management and scientific research, Elizabeth earned her Ph.D. from University of California, Los Angeles, with concentrations in the behavioral sciences and education. Elizabeth founded Doing College and Beyond to help students and their families understand the increasingly complex admission process, discover alternative ways of making college affordable, review educational options within the public and private sectors and prepare strong, cohesive applications.

Elizabeth provides personalized guidance for college, transfer and graduate school applicants. She is a well-recognized, regular educational columnist for regional print and electronic media, and a frequent speaker at events, schools, civic organizations, learning centers, athletic clubs, sororities and fraternities throughout California.

This article was revised and reprinted with kind permission from Gael Casner, College Find Newsletter October 2013 issue

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