)
 
The PROFILE

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.

 
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