In addition to requiring the FAFSA, many schools ask students
to complete an additional form known as the College Scholarship
Services (CSS)/Financial Aid PROFILE Application. Colleges requiring
this form often explain to their students that the FAFSA’s needs
analysis is too simple to paint an accurate picture of a family’s
ability to pay for their child’s education.
As your intuition may be telling you, when a college has
to explain its reasons for a policy, that policy is usually tied
to more dollars out of your pocket.
You have to pay a fee to complete the PROFILE—the little
VISA logo on the PROFILE Web site probably gave that away. The PROFILE
is also tougher than the FAFSA: It takes into account assets that
the FAFSA leaves alone, such as the equity in the parents’ primary
residence, which often means you qualify for less aid. While the
strategies of this guide are primarily concerned with the FAFSA
and the federal methodology, we’ll give you some advice later on
regarding the PROFILE.