How do I answer this CSS profile question?Answered
One of the schools I am applying to (Smith college) has the following question on their CSS profile extra documents: "How much of your 2021-22 educational costs can be paid by parents or relatives?"
I don't understand how to answer this question since the school should already have my EFC. I have tried emailing Smith's financial aid office but I can't get them to respond and I need to get this in soon. Does anyone know how to answer this question?
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The EFC is something that is generated by FAFSA for purposes of determining whether you qualify for federal aid known as a PELL GRANT.
The Collegeboard CSS Profile is not the same thing and the FAFSA input data that you used is not something that passed back and forth between the Federal application for financial aid and the Collegeboard CSS profile which is something used to determine institution-based aid. Nevertheless, your financial aid will be determined by considering the FAFSA profile and the EFC that was generated by your data.
The maximum Federal grant aid is like $6345, so if Smith College costs $75,000 (2021-2022 Guessimate), then Smith has to determine how much of the difference to grant you or make you take out loans or work-study. So for argument's sake if you have to take a work-study job let say that's $3655 for the year and say you qualify for the max. PELL grant ($6345+$3655) =$10,000. Smith has to figure out how much of the remaining $65,000 to award you.
That is why they are asking you a frank and honest question, not from a PELL GRANT perspective but from the lens of Smith Colleges Finaid office who have to determine a fair and equitable financial aid award to you. To answer this question, you will have to have a conversation with your parents and relatives and find out if they are willing to help you pay for your education and what amount they are going to contribute. I think that is a fair question for the college to ask of all its applicants.
No one here on College Vine, nor its members knows anything about your families' unique financial situation, how much money your parents earn, what their assets are including their home, bank accounts, investments, ownership of business or farms, etc.
So once you involve your family and relative and get an answer, you will have to write down that figure and submit that to Smith College to fulfill their Financial Aid application requirements.
IF the EFC is not accessible to them you can fill it out yourself directly from your FAFSA if they are not replaying to your emails consider calling them or going to the office.
I agree with the more than excellent answer given to us by @matchakombucha. Particularly, I would like to draw attention to two things. Firstly, there is a difference between the CSS profile and FAFSA. CSS helps the institution that you are applying to (Smith college) determine how much institutional aid it will provide to you. FAFSA helps the government determine how much federal aid to provide to you. Secondly, I would like to say that this question is NOT meant to deceive you in any way. This is simply an honest question to assess your EFC, so it's best that you discuss with your parents and relatives about this important and personal financial decision.
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