Applying for Financial Aid?

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If you are applying for Financial Aid, there are two essential forms that you will most likely be required to file.

The first is the “Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).” Once completed, the FAFSA is sent to a central processing agency operated by the federal government. The information is analyzed through a standard method, and the results are sent to colleges you have designated on the form. The information is used to determine if you are eligible to receive federal grants, scholarships and/or federal loans. Most private colleges require this form because they want to determine if you are eligible to receive private grants as well as scholarships. The FAFSA can be completed online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. You will need to apply for a personal identification number (PIN) before filling out the FAFSA online. You may apply for a PIN at www.pin.ed.gov, and you will receive your number within 1 to 3 days.

The second online form is required by many private colleges and universities but is not required by most public colleges and universities. It is the Financial Aid Profile, commonly known as the CSS Profile. Completing the CSS Profile can be done online through the College Board Web site: https://profileonline.collegeboard.com.  After you’ve completed the profile, you will need to request CSS to forward your results to the colleges on your list that require the information.  A list of schools and scholarships requiring a CSS Profile is posted on their site.  A processing fee will be charged for forwarding your results to colleges; the exact amount depends on how many colleges you choose to receive the results. The profile should be completed by November 1st for those applying Early Decision.