Follow Brett Linkedin Facebook
Email Brett Email
Financial
Sep 26, 2018

Comparing the FAFSA to the CSS Profile College Application

Sponsored Content provided by Brett Tushingham - CFP®, CCFS®, Managing Member & CCO, Tushingham Wealth Strategies

Families of incoming and current college students can submit their financial aid applications for the 2019-20 school year beginning Oct. 1.

Before you get started, it’s important to understand the primary financial aid application forms and how each impacts your child’s eligibility for federal and institutional aid.


FAFSA And The CSS Profile

To apply for federal financial aid, such as Pell grants or loans, families must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. Some states and schools also use the FAFSA to determine eligibility for their own scholarships and grants, or merit aid.

The FAFSA uses your asset and income information, as well as your child’s, to calculate your expected family contribution, or EFC. This is the minimum amount your family will be expected to contribute toward your child’s education during the following year.

The CSS Profile, administered by the College Board, is the application around 300 colleges and scholarship programs use to determine eligibility for their own aid dollars. The CSS Board feels that its application provides more insights into a family’s ability to pay for college.

 

Key Differences Between FAFSA And The CSS Profile

The CSS Profile can vary from school to school, but it generally requires more information than the FAFSA and weights income and assets differently. 
For instance:
  • Unlike the FAFSA, the CSS Profile often asks for the noncustodial parent’s financial information in cases of divorce and separation.
  • The FAFSA excludes the value of small businesses and nonqualified annuities, as well as your primary residence’s home equity, from aid calculations. The CSS Profile includes such assets.
  • The FAFSA considers gifts made to parents — including by grandparents who want to help with college costs — to be assets, which get more favorable treatment in determining aid eligibility than income. On the CSS Profile, such gifts are generally considered income.
  • Schools that use the CSS Profile also collect information on your family’s estimated academic year income, medical expenses, elementary school tuition and any other circumstances that may affect your ability to pay.
The additional information on the CSS Profile is meant to help aid officers better understand your family’s ability to pay for college, not hurt your child’s aid eligibility.

But because of the differences, your child could receive a dramatically different level of need-based aid from different schools. This will drive the overall cost of college.


Planning For College

Before your child applies to colleges, find out which aid application each school uses. This can help you prepare your finances and improve your child’s chances of receiving financial aid.

For instance, if he or she is applying to a CSS Profile school, it could be wise to use your home equity to pay down higher-interest debt. This would reduce your amount of equity, which is assessed in the CSS Profile aid calculation, thus increasing your child’s aid eligibility.

It’s important to be proactive in the college-financing process. Understanding how a college will view your finances for financial aid purposes will give you confidence in selecting schools that you can afford.
 
PLEASE CLICK TO WATCH MY VIDEO ON COLLEGE SAVINGS PLANS 


Thanks for visiting Tushingham Wealth Strategies. Our goal is to help business owners proactively oversee all of their financial affairs by serving as their “Personal CFO” and fiduciary, so that they may live their ideal life worry-free. As part of our "Personal CFO" service, we help families develop "late stage" college planning strategies so that they can save money on college, protect their retirement assets and help their children graduate with minimal student loans. This is why our “Personal CFO” services integrate college and retirement planning into one strategy.

Tws logo reverse bluebkgd
Ico insights

INSIGHTS

SPONSORS' CONTENT
Hewet60

I Disagree.

Ron Hewett - Academy Leadership
Mike stonestreet 300x300

Leasing in a Community Association

Mike Stonestreet - CAMS (Community Association Management Services)
Burrus rob headshot 300x300

Information Systems and Technology Professionals Continue to Be in High Demand

Robert Burrus - Cameron School of Business - UNC-Wilmington

Trending News

Mixed-use Project On Oleander Drive Moves Forward

Johanna Cano - Mar 21, 2019

Proposal Revamps Wrightsville Ave. Shopping Center, Adds Apartment Amenities

Cece Nunn - Mar 22, 2019

Friends School Of Wilmington To Break Ground On Building Project

Cece Nunn - Mar 22, 2019

Economic Development Event Aims To Help Local Businesses Go Global

Jenny Callison - Mar 22, 2019

Report Shows Mixed Results For Area Counties In Improving Health

Jenny Callison - Mar 22, 2019

In The Current Issue

Hospitality Association Holding Annual Fundraiser

Wilmington Area Hospitality Association is readying for its annual charity event. WAHA’s Hospitality Olympics is slated for March 24 and wil...


6 Months After Florence

It’s been six months since Hurricane Florence made landfall in the Wilmington area, and John Pike and his family are still not living in the...


Tapping Hemp Fiber's Potential

Working from his garage in Wilmington, Kyle Trivisonno, a board-certified prosthetic technician, was able to create a prosthetic leg out of...

Book On Business

The 2019 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

Transporting the Future - Power Breakfast 3.12.2019
Health Care Heroes 2018
2018 WilmingtonBiz Expo - Keynote Lunch with Eric Dinenberg, Rouse Properties