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    How You Can Get a CSS Profile Fee Waiver

    By Kayla Korzekwinski

    Kayla Korzekwinski is a Scholarships360 content writer. She earned her BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied Advertising/PR, Rhetorical Communication, and Anthropology. Kayla has worked on communications for non-profits and student organizations. She loves to write and come up with new ways to express ideas.

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    and Varonika Ware

    Varonika Ware is a content writer at Scholarships360. Varonika earned her undergraduate degree in Mass Communications at Louisiana State University. During her time at LSU, she worked with the Center of Academic Success to create the weekly Success Sunday newsletter. Varonika also interned at the Louisiana Department of Insurance in the Public Affairs office with some of her graphics appearing in local news articles.

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    Reviewed by Annie Trout

    Annie has spent the past 18+ years educating students about college admissions opportunities and coaching them through building a financial aid package. She has worked in college access and college admissions for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission/Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation, Middle Tennessee State University, and Austin Peay State University.

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    Edited by Maria Geiger

    Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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    Updated: February 28th, 2024
    How You Can Get a CSS Profile Fee Waiver

    The CSS Profile gives students access to institutional aid from hundreds of schools. However, it is not free to complete. Fortunately, you can qualify for a CSS Profile fee waiver, which will save you money in the college application process. 

    Continue reading to learn more about who is eligible for a CSS Profile fee waiver and how to get one!

    Related: CSS Profile vs. FAFSA: What you need to know

    What is the CSS Profile?

    Students who fill out the CSS Profile are able to apply and be considered for state and institutional aid at over 200 universities, colleges, professional schools, and scholarship programs. The CSS is usually required by private institutions to be considered for financial aid. 

    Students typically submit the CSS Profile during their senior year of high school, but graduate students can submit it as well. It uses your family’s financial assets and income to determine your financial aid eligibility. 

    The CSS Profile is similar to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is used to give students access to federal financial aid. Similarly, you must submit the CSS Profile annually to any schools that accept it.

    Unlike the FAFSA, the CSS Profile is not free to complete and send to schools. Students should always complete the FAFSA and the CSS Profile since the FAFSA is the only way to qualify for federal aid and some state aid programs.

    See also: FAFSA 101 guide

    How much does the CSS Profile application cost?

    The initial application fee for the CSS Profile is $25. This fee includes the cost of sending the profile to one school. It will cost $16 more for each additional school that the report is sent to.

    On the other hand, students can send their FAFSA to up to 10 schools for free. The CSS Profile would cost a student $169 to send to the same 10 schools. This amount could be a financial burden for some students and families.

    Related: How to complete the CSS Profile

    Who is eligible for a CSS Profile fee waiver?

    Students who want to receive a CSS Profile fee waiver must be undergraduates and live in the United States. Students who live abroad are not eligible to receive the CSS Profile fee waiver. Domestic students can receive the fee waiver if:

    • Their family’s adjusted gross income is below $100,000.
    • The student qualified for an SAT fee waiver.
    • The student is an orphan or ward of the court under 24 years old.

    If you qualify for an SAT fee waiver, be sure to login to your CSS Profile application using the same information you did to register for the SAT.

    If you didn’t initially qualify for the CSS Profile fee waiver, but your family’s situation changed due to unforeseen circumstances such as a natural disaster, contact College Board customer service to explain your circumstances.

    Related: How to qualify for a college application fee waiver

    What does the fee waiver cover?

    The CSS profile fee waiver covers the initial $25 application fee. It also covers the cost for reports sent to additional schools.

    How to get a CSS Profile fee waiver

    Students who are eligible to receive the CSS Profile fee waiver will find out while they complete the application. Once you reach the online payment process, you will be notified if you qualify. The decision is made automatically based on your responses in the profile application.

    If you don’t qualify for the CSS Profile fee waiver, but the costs would pose a financial burden to your family, your school may have its own program to cover the fees. Yale University, for example, offers a school-specific fee waiver.

    Submit your application by the deadline

    If you plan to submit a CSS Profile, be sure to do so before your school’s deadline! The application for this year became available on October 1. Each school sets its own deadline, so check the ones you plan to submit and apply as soon as possible! 

    Also see: College application deadline guide

    Key Takeaways

    Key Takeaways

    • Over 200 mostly private universities require students to submit the CSS Profile 
    • Starting in senior year of high school, students are required to submit the CSS Profile annually to all schools that accept it to maintain their financial aid
    • The CSS Profile has some similarity with the FAFSA, but the main difference is the CSS Profile is not free for students to send to schools 
    • Eligibility for CSS Profile waivers depend on family income, SAT fee waiver eligibility, and whether students are under 24 years old and orphans or wards of the court 
    • CSS Profile fee waivers cover initial application fees and fees for each school that require it
    • Fee waivers are not offered to International students
    • If you don’t qualify for a fee waiver through the CSS Profile, specific schools may offer waivers
    • The CSS Profile opens on October 1 every year, but each school has its own deadline for submission
    Key Takeaways

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    Frequently asked questions about how to get a CSS Profile fee waiver

    Do I have to send the CSS Profile before I know that I got into a school?

    Yes – most schools require that you submit the CSS Profile by the same date that your application is due. Some schools use your financial need to help decide whether to grant you admission. 

    As a result, you’ll need to submit it before you know that you’ve gained admission to a school. This makes the fee waiver all the more useful to avoid paying to send the profile out to schools that don’t accept you.

    Is the CSS Profile worth it?

    The CSS Profile can be costly without a waiver, but many schools require it. So, if you are seriously considering a school that requires a CSS Profile, it is worth it in order to complete your application. If these costs inhibit your ability to apply to schools, you may qualify for a waiver.

    Can international students get a CSS Profile fee waiver?

    Unfortunately, international students do not qualify for CSS Profile fee waivers. Regardless of your financial situation, you’ll have to pay full price for your CSS Profile submissions if you are an international student.

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