Financial Aid

Key Answers to Your CSS ProfileTM Questions

Questions include if you need to complete both the CSS Profile and the FAFSA, how to update your application, who completes the profile, and what is IDOC.
Woman using tablet to learn about the CSS Profile

The CSS Profile is required by almost 250 colleges, universities, and scholarship programs across the country. The Profile includes questions similar to those asked on the FAFSA®, focusing on parent and student income, assets, and household information. Since the Profile became available on October 1st, we've received several questions from families completing the application. We've included some popular ones below.

Q: If my child has applied to a college that requires the Profile, does that mean I still need to send the FAFSA?

A: Yes, if a college requires the Profile, it also requires the FAFSA, as the FAFSA is required at every college and university.

Q: If I need to update the information I submitted on the Profile, how do I do that? Can I update the application online?

A: There's no online update mechanism for the Profile. After filing the Profile and submitting the data to a school, if you need to update your information, you must print out your Profile Acknowledgement, which lists the answers you provided, and then actually write the corrections on the printout. Then submit that printout to the college financial aid offices via fax, email, or mail.

Q: If I have a legal guardian, but my parents are alive, who completes the Profile?

A: If you have a legal guardian, and that legal relationship will continue after June of your high school senior year, the parent questions on the Profile should be answered by your legal guardian. You should also explain this relationship in the Special Circumstances section. Even if the legal relationship will not continue after June of your senior year, some colleges and universities may still require information from your legal guardian. Check with each school's financial aid office for specific instructions. Otherwise, your parents will need to provide their information on the Profile.

Q: I don't want my ex-spouse to be able to view my financial information on the Profile - will she be able to?

A: No, she will not. Within the Profile process, the non-custodial parent will complete and submit a separate Profile, and will not be able to view the answers submitted on the custodial parent's Profile. Actually, neither parent will be able to access the information the other one has provided.

Q: What is IDOC?

A: IDOC is the College Board's document collection service. If you submit the Profile to a college or university, you may be required to submit your tax documentation to that school via IDOC. You will receive notification from the school about any IDOC use requirements. You can learn more about IDOC here.

Q: After submitting the Profile, how do I send my Profile information to additional schools?

A: You may log back into your Profile at any time and click the Add Colleges to Submitted Application button. Select the additional schools where you would like your Profile information sent, and your data will be delivered electronically.

For a detailed overview of the Profile, watch our CSS Profile webinar for families. It reviews the basics of the application, offers tips on answering questions correctly, reviews the registration process, and lists customer service contact information. You can also reach out to us here at MEFA with your Profile questions. Call us at (800) 449-MEFA (6332) or email us at

Watch the CSS Profile webinar