Any student who intends to apply for financial aid form any college is required to fill out this free federal form on the FAFSA website.
Students should be checking on the College Board website or individual college websites to find out if any private colleges or universities that they are applying to require the CSS/Profile form for additional financial aid from the institution.
Examples of some colleges that require the CSS/Profile form are:
- MA schools: Amherst College, Babson, Bentley, BC, BU, Clark, Holy Cross, Emerson, Harvard, MIT, Mt. Holyoke, Northeastern, Springfield College, Stonehill, Tufts, Wellesley, Wheaton, Williams, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
- CT Schools: Connecticut College, Fairfield Univ., Sacred Heart, Wesleyan and Yale.
- DC Schools: George Washington and Georgetown.
- Maine Schools: Bates, Bowdoin, and Colby.
- NH Schools: Dartmouth and St. Anslem.
- NY Schools: Bard, Colgate, Columbia, Cornell, Fordham, Hamilton, Hobart & William Smith, Ithaca, St. Lawrence, Sarah Lawrence, Skidmore, Syracuse, and Vassar.
See the website or your guidance counselor for a complete list.
- Visit this website for information on Understanding Your Financial Aid Award Letter and Alternative Student Loans.
- While you are there, look at the information available for financial aid, scholarships and loans.
Helping make higher education possible for millions - on the web on the MEFA website or at 1-800-449-MEFA
MEFA — the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority — is committed to making college more accessible and affordable. They are a non-profit state organization that serves students and families in Massachusetts, and out-of-state students and families pursuing higher education in Massachusetts.
MEFA was created by the state legislature in 1982 at the request of Massachusetts colleges and universities. For 25 years, we have worked to create industry-leading education financing programs and have established a reputation for providing cost-saving programs combined with quality service. We are committed to promoting educational opportunity and the economic development of the Massachusetts higher education industry.
Information from MEFA regarding Marital Status and Financial Aid:
The marital status of the student's parents is one of the most important and complex issues affecting the filing of financial aid applications for many dependent students each year. Federal guidelines dictate which parent(s) needs to complete the FAFSA. Dependent students are required to submit parental information on FAFSA. In the case that both natural parents are alive but not currently married, questions often arise. Consider the following scenarios when trying to determine who should provide financial information on the FAFSA.
The dependent student lives with BOTH natural parents who are currently married. In this case, you check the box on the marital status question on the FAFSA for "Married/Remarried" and BOTH parents are required to submit their financial information.
The dependent student lives with one natural parent who is not currently married. Check the appropriate box on the marital status question—"Single," "Separated/ Divorced" or "Widowed"—and ONLY the custodial parent has to complete the FAFSA. The federal definition of "custodial-parent" is the parent with whom the student lived most of the year. In the case of joint custody, where the student lived equally with both parents, the custodial parent is the parent who provided at least one dollar more in total support for the student.
The dependent student lives with one natural parent who is currently married. Check the box on the marital status question for "Married/Remarried" and BOTH the custodial parent AND the step-parent must complete the FAFSA. If a student is also required to file the CSS/Profile®, the non-custodial parent and his or her spouse may be expected to submit a Non-Custodial Parent Form online. Colleges can advise you about their individual policies regarding this situation. Remember that any information a college collects through the CSS/Profile® or any CSS/Profile® supplement can only be used to determine distribution of institutional funds. The CSS/Profile® information will not impact eligibility for federal or state financial aid.
***The above information is intended as a guideline for the financial aid application process. You may request additional information regarding filing requirements directly from the college, or if a personal situation warrants it, a meeting with a member of the financial aid staff may be requested.
Financial Aid Websites:
- Office of Student Financial Assistance
- Sallie Mae
- College Board
- CollegeValue - using the Net Price Calculator and comparing financial aid packages
***Reminder - Once males turn 18, they must register for Selective Service in order to receive federal financial aid.
Glossary of Terms:
- Cost of Education: Total Student Budget comprised of tuition, fees, books, supplies, room and board, living expenses and estimated transportation costs per year.
- CSS/Profile: The College Scholarship Service PROFILE is a fee-based supplemental financial aid application form used by many private colleges and universities to more accurately assess financial aid beyond information provided on the FAFSA form. It is available online only on the College Board website.
- Expected Family Contribution: The EFC is the amount that the student and his/her family are determined to contribute towards one year of college education. This is calculated by a formula established by Congress (Federal Methodology) for awarding government assistance, or by an individual college or university (Institutional Methodology) for awarding private aid. The formulas include factors such as taxable and non-taxable income, assets, family size and the number of family members attending college.
- FAFSA Form: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is processed by the federal government at no cost to the student. It is used to determine a student's eligibility for government grants, loans and work-study funds. This form should be completed online on the FAFSA website after January 1st.
- Financial Aid Package: The award notice sent to the student will include the financial aid for which he/she is eligible at that particular college or university. The award may include gift aid (scholarships and grants), loans and/or work-study awards.
- Financial Need: This is the amount by which total college costs exceed the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
- Grants: Grants are gift aid that is awarded based on financial need. They require no repayment. Grants are available through the accepting college, the federal government, state agencies and private donors.
- Loans: Loans are funds made available in advance through lending institutions or colleges and universities, as well as private sources, which must be repaid sometime in the future. Repayment terms vary based on need, rate of interest, interest benefits, repayment period, and/or credit worthiness. Traditional student loans, which are based on financial need, include interest benefits for the in-
- school period, and repayment is deferred until after the completion of college studies. Non-need based student loans typically accrue interest during the in-school period. Some require credit tests and repayment that begins immediately after receiving the funds.
- Merit-Based Awards: Many colleges and universities award merit scholarships each year to highly qualified students who possess excellent credentials. To be considered for merit aid, many colleges and universities require that the CSS/Profile Form be filed.
- Need-Based Awards: Students whose EFC is less than the Cost of Education demonstrate financial need. Since the family is unable to pay all educational costs, the students would receive funding to help make up the difference. Such funds that seek to provide the student the financial ability to attend college may be comprised of gift aid, loan aid and/or job (work-study) aid.
- Student Aid Report: About four weeks after the student files the FAFSA, this report is mailed to the student either by mail or email. The document shows the EFC derived through the federal methodology and indicates any eligibility or the Federal Pell Grant. If the report contains any incorrect, incomplete or outdated information about the student, the form may be corrected and resubmitted for an adjustment.
- Work-Study Program: The work-study program is a federally subsidized part-time employment program administered by the college or university. The amount indicated on the financial aid letter is the limit of potential earnings for one school year, not a guaranteed financial resource. The funds are earned by the student in a part-time job that they can apply for through the college or university work study office. These positions may be in a variety of on-campus departments or in private, not-for-profit or government entities in the local community.
(Provided by Stonehill College through "A Guide to Paying for College - A Financial Aid Overview")