When Is the 2021-22 CSS Profile Deadline?

Keeping track of financial aid deadlines is crucial. Learn about the CSS Profile timeline in this article.

The College Scholarship Service Profile, or CSS Profile, is an application or financial aid created by the College Board. Many U.S. colleges use the CSS profile so that students can get non-federal financial aid. For this reason, the CSS profile is one of the most vital aspects to help students pay for college, aside from the FAFSA or Federal Application for Federal Student Aid. 

Understanding when the CSS profile is due is crucial if you want to be eligible for free non-federal aid. You don’t want to miss out on as many opportunities as possible, so keep reading to learn when the CSS application deadline is and other essential details you need to know.

When Is The CSS Deadline?

The truth is that the CSS profile deadline varies depending on the school. If you want to apply to different schools, you’ll need to make sure to submit your application well within two weeks of the earliest deadline. That means if your first deadline is February 14, you’ll want to make sure you submit all your documentation two weeks before that time. 

In general, you can expect the deadlines to fall within the following months for undergraduate students:

  • Early decision: November
  • Regular decision: January or February
  • Transfer student: March
  • Returning student: April

The opening date for the CSS Profile for the 2022 to 2023 academic year is October 1, 2021. This date is around the same time as when the FAFSA, another common financial aid application, opens. However, the FAFSA deadline is June 20, 2022, for all schools, whereas the CSS Profile varies.  No matter when the deadline will be, it’s a smart idea to apply as close to the opening date as you can.

If you’re sending your CSS Profile to more than one school, you want to ensure that these additional schools receive it before the priority filing deadline. 

If you want your CSS Profile results sent to other schools, make sure they receive them before the priority filing date. 

How to Find Out Your School’s CSS Deadline

The best way to learn when the CSS Profile for your school is is to go to the Financial Aid website. There, you should look up the correct deadline for the type of college student you will be. Don’t forget to see when the priority and final deadline will be so you can submit your CSS Profile well within the priority deadline. 

You should also be able to check the deadline by contacting the school or by visiting their website to see when their earliest priority deadline is so that you can plan your time accordingly. 

What’s the Difference Between Priority And Final CSS Deadlines?

If you submit your CSS Profile within either deadline, you’ll be fine. However, the main difference lies in when the school will review your application. 

Most schools have a priority and a final deadline — submitting within the priority deadline means that your application will be reviewed as soon as possible. If you submit after the priority deadline, your application will still be considered, but you’ll have to wait until the school has reviewed all the ones that met the priority deadline. In many cases, it could mean that you won’t receive as much financial aid because most of it will have been awarded to others. 

How to Afford CSS Application Fees

An individual CSS Application fee doesn’t seem like it’s a lot at $16 for each school. However, if you add multiple colleges, the fees can add up.

To ensure you’re getting the most out of your money, carefully consider the schools and scholarship programs you think you’ll be able to receive the most financial aid from. Don’t forget to do some research on each school you’re looking at to see the school’s endowment or budget. Sometimes, schools that don’t have much to offer in financial aid may not be worth it to you. 

If you meet specific income requirements, the College Board will automatically waive the fee once you complete the online application. 

Smart Moves to Make

When getting ready to go to college, you’ll want to make sure you take the proper steps to afford the expenses. Getting as much financial aid as possible will help you do so. In addition to preparing your CSS Profile, here’s what you can do:

  • Fill out the FAFSA: submitting this form will help qualify you for federal financial aid, including federal student loans. Technically, you should fill this out before the CSS Profile since it’s required by some schools for state or institutional aid. 
  • Find out deadlines for financial aid: Make sure you check the schools you’re interested in going to and track the earliest financial aid deadlines. That way, you will know when you need to submit your CSS Profile. 
  • Set reminders for deadlines: Don’t forget that October 1st is the earliest date to submit the CSS Profile and FAFSA. Ensuring you’re ahead of deadlines means you’re not stressing yourself out at the last possible minute. 
  • Wait for your financial aid award letter: this document will tell you how much financial aid you may qualify for, which can help you budget for loans accordingly.

Once you know how much free money is available for you, you can see if you need to borrow money to help you pay for things like tuition and related educational expenses. It’s a good idea to exhaust all federal loan options before you turn to private loans. That’s because you will get perks that aren’t available with private loans, such as lower interest rates and income-driven repayment plans.

You’ll need to take out private student loans to make up for the gap in many cases. If so, you’ll want to shop around to ensure you’re getting the most favorable rates and terms possible. It can feel overwhelming to do much of this research yourself — consider joining Juno (it’s free), where we negotiate on our member’s belief to be the most competitive rates and terms. 

Sarah Li Cain
Written By
Sarah Li Cain

Sarah Li Cain is a finance writer and a candidate for the Accredited Financial Counselor designation whose work has appeared in places like Bankrate, Business Insider, Financial Planning Association, Investopedia, Kiplinger, and Redbook. She’s the host of Beyond The Dollar, where she and her guests have deep and honest conversations about money affects their well-being.

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