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When is the CSS Profile deadline?

The short answer: It depends on your school.

Updated

The first step to filling out the CSS Profile is figuring out when the deadline is. This can be a little complicated since different schools and programs have different rules and deadlines. Generally, the best time to submit the CSS Profile is as soon as you can, after you’ve narrowed down the schools and scholarship programs you’re interested in.

When is the CSS Profile deadline for the 2020-2021 academic year?

There’s no universal CSS Profile deadline. Instead, it depends on your school and whether you’re applying as an early decision student, regular admission student or transfer student. Returning students might also have a separate deadline if your school requires you to to resubmit the CSS Profile each year.

Here’s how it typically breaks down for undergraduate students:

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

However, it works differently depending on the school. Some schools like the University of Michigan have different deadlines depending on the semester you plan on starting classes — regardless of the type of admission you applied for.

Priority vs. final deadlines

Many schools and programs have a priority deadline and a final deadline. Miss the priority deadline and the school will still review your application — but after all of the other applications it received by the priority deadline. This often means you won’t receive as much financial aid.

Some schools might only have a priority deadline, others might only have a final deadline and some schools have both.

CSS Profile deadlines for 7 schools

SchoolEarly decision studentsRegular admission studentsTransfer studentsReturning students
Boston UniversityEarly decision: November 1st

Early decision II: January 6th

January 6thFall: March 1st

Spring: November 1st

March 1st
Catholic University of America
  • Early decision I priority: December 1st
  • Early decision II priority: February 1st
  • Final: April 1st
  • Priority: February 1st
  • Final: April 1st
  • Fall priority: February 1st
  • Fall final: April 1st
  • Spring priority: September 1st
  • Spring final: December 1st
Not required
HarvardNovember 1stFebruary 1stMarch 1stMay 1st
Johns Hopkins UniversityNovember 15thJanuary 15thApril 1stJanuary 15th
MITNovember 30thFebruary 15thFebruary 15thApril 15th
Vanderbilt University
  • Early decision priority: November 7th
  • Early decision II priority: January 2nd
Priority: February 1stPriority: February 1stPriority: April 15th
William and Mary
  • Early decision I priority: November 15th
  • Early decision I final: December 12th
  • Early decision II priority: January 15th
  • Early decision II final: March 1st
  • Priority: February 1st
  • Final: March 1st
  • Fall: March 1st
  • Spring: November 15th
April 15th

How can I find out when my school’s deadline is?

The easiest way to learn your school’s CSS Profile deadline is to visit the financial aid website. Make sure you’re looking at the right deadline for the right type of student. And pay attention to the priority deadline and final deadline.

If you have any questions, you might want to reach out to an administrator by email, phone or stopping by in person.

When should I submit the CSS Profile?

Ideally, you should submit the CSS Profile as soon as you can after the new application opens on October 1st. The College Board and many schools recommend that you submit it no later than two weeks before the priority deadline to make sure you’re considered for all aid. Some schools might even recommend submitting it earlier.

Missed the priority deadline? It might not be worth submitting it if it’s not required by your school. The CSS Profile isn’t free — it costs $16 for every school or scholarship program you send it to, unless you can qualify for a fee waiver.

Give yourself time to consider schools and programs to send it to

To keep that cost from getting out of hand, consider which schools and scholarship programs are most worth it. Look into factors like the percentage of students who receive financial aid as well as the school’s budget or endowment. Those that might not offer much aid might not be worth sending your application to in some cases.

Bottom line

While each school might have its own set of deadlines, the best time to submit the CSS Profile is as soon as you can after October 1st. If you can’t make it before the priority deadline, weigh the costs against your chances of getting aid from that school or scholarship program.

You can learn more about how financial aid works by reading our guide to student loans.

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