Completing the CSS Profile? Check Out These FAQs

Learn if you should include retirement accounts, how often you should complete the form, and when to submit the CSS Profile.
A student preparing for college

If someone in your family is applying to college this year, there's a good chance you'll need to complete the CSS Profile®, the financial aid application required by roughly 200 colleges and universities across the country. Check out the questions we frequently receive about completing the CSS Profile.

Q: Do I include the value of my retirement accounts as a parent asset on the Profile?

A: You shouldn't include the value of any official retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s, or IRAs, within parent assets. The Profile will ask a separate question about the value of your retirement accounts, and you can include those totals there. Most colleges and universities only glance at this information, and don't include the value of your retirement accounts in the calculation to determine your financial aid eligibility.

Q: Once my student is enrolled in college do I need to fill this form out each year?

A: Some colleges and universities require families to submit the Profile every year. Other schools only require the application for the student's freshman year. Check with each college or university for requirements.

Q: If the Profile is required early (in November) for one college, but not required until February for the rest, when should I submit the Profile?

A: You have the option of sending your Profile to different colleges at different times. The important thing is to make sure you send the Profile to each college by its earliest priority deadline. Send your Profile to your early school by the November deadline, and then make sure to submit the Profile to the rest of your schools by their respective deadlines.

Q: The Profile asks for medical and dental expenses. Do we include what we paid for insurance?

A: Yes, when reporting family medical and dental expenses on the Profile, include any expenses not covered by insurance as well as what your family paid for your health insurance plan.

Q: As a parent, should I create a separate College Board account to submit the Profile?

A: You may submit the Profile under the student or the parent's College Board® account. Only one Profile application can be tied to each account every year. Keep in mind that the student will have the ability to view the information submitted on the Profile application if your family decides to complete the Profile under the student's account. Parents who prefer not to share family financial information with their children often create their own College Board account to submit the Profile. Note that when parents create their own College Board account, they must create a new student account using parent information.

Do you have additional questions about the Profile? Include them in the comment section below, and we'll be sure to reply right away. Or if you'd like one-on-one assistance, call us at (800) 449-MEFA (6332) or email us at

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