The CSS Financial Aid Profile is a secondary financial aid application used by many colleges to award their own financial aid (specifically grants offered by private not-for-profit colleges). The application is required to qualify for institutional grants at those colleges that ask for the form. Since we know that the largest source of grants for college is institutions (colleges and universities), if you are attending one of these colleges that require the CSS Financial Aid Profile, you better make sure it is on your list of forms to complete.
So here’s some good news. The CSS Financial Aid Profile has a cost ($25 to register and $16 per school). This can get expensive if you are applying to a lot of colleges that need the CSS Profile, but the College Board has expanded the eligibility for fee waivers. Starting with the 2022-23 CSS Profile, students from families earning less than $100,000 will qualify for free submission, and this will make access to the application much easier for families as they apply for aid.
Here are some resources for you: