Skip to Main Content


The PROFILE form is something every college student should know about. Bankrate explains it.

What is the PROFILE?

The PROFILE is a form that some colleges use to determine eligibility for non-federal student aid. Colleges use the PROFILE form in conjunction with the FAFSA form to receive more insight into a student’s financial situation.

Deeper definition

Also known as the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE, the PROFILE form requires information from both the student and the student’s parents. Students fill out the form online. Many students receive some form of private financial aid from their school, like grants. When they graduate, they do not have to repay their grants.

The PROFILE form is more comprehensive than the FAFSA; it provides the college with info that the FAFSA might miss, such as recent unemployment or excessive medical expenses.

Before completing the PROFILE form, gather the following documents:

  • Previous year’s federal tax return.
  • Statements for any assistance the family receives, such as welfare or food stamps.
  • Bank statements.
  • Mortgage statements.
  • Home value estimate.
  • Info for investment accounts.

Both parents and the student need these documents. If the student’s parents are no longer married, the school may require info only from the custodial parent. Students have to pay a fee to file the PROFILE form. There is also an additional charge for each school you need to send your report to. After your prospective college receives the PROFILE, it will send a report detailing your eligible financial aid.

PROFILE example

Students who want to receive non-federal aid should see if their prospective colleges require the PROFILE. For example, you may have acceptance letters from an affordable public university and an expensive private college. However, the private college frequently awards students with institutional-based financial aid; to see what aid you qualify for, complete the PROFILE form with your parents.

Are you planning to use student loans to help pay for your education? Forecast your potential loan payments using Bankrate’s student loan calculator.

More From Bankrate