According to Rhode Island CFP Kevin R. Worthley, the CSS is a much more investigative review of the family's finances. "I call the CSS Profile the evil twin sister of the FASFA."
Worthley says the CSS assesses parent income around the same or slightly less than FAFSA, but student income is considered slightly different. "CSS institutes a minimum student income contribution between $1,800 and $2,400," he says.
Additionally, Worthley tells us that CSS assesses home equity, family farm value and all business equity, while sibling asset values are counted as parental assets.
The form is not free; fees include a $25 setup charge, which includes the ability to send the report to one college. Sending the form to additional colleges costs $16 each.
7. Data retrieval
Filling out FAFSA is time consuming. But thanks to the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, if you've filed taxes, data can be transferred from your tax returns onto the FAFSA form. This will save you time, as the tool automatically answers several FAFSA questions for you.
Are they hard to get? Yes. Are the impossible? No! Spend 30 minutes per day researching or filling out scholarship applications using websites such as Fastweb.com and Zinch.com. And if you're essay-writing averse, there are plenty of scholarships that don't require an essay for entry.