2 years ago
Admissions Advice

CSS Profile fee waiver

Hi, I'm an international student from Viet Nam. Recently, I emailed Fairfield University Financial Aid Office to ask for a CSS Profile fee waiver and sadly they didn't offer that. They advised me to contact the College Board directly. However, the College Board doesn't provide fee waivers for international students so now I'm unsure whether to bear the cost or contact the FinAid Office again. I plan to inform them of the situation and ask for ISFAA instead, but I'm also afraid of being too pushy and it may show that I'm financially incapable of attending the school.

What should I do in this situation?

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2 answers

Accepted Answer
2 years ago

Hi @Tonra,

It is the standard policy of the CollegeBoard not to grant fee waivers to International students. I do not understand the rationale of this policy but since CB is a private company, I suppose they can set whatever policies they wish just like Twitter now. Perhaps they think that hundreds of thousands of Int'l students would put a burden on their ability to make a profit by providing this service to colleges.

If you are an Int'l student and can not pay $9 and $16 for each college you apply to, you have to contact each and every college you are applying to and ask them if they would accept an ISFAA form in lieu of the CSS profile.

If they grant the swap or replacement, then you have to ask how to get the appropriate form from the college you are applying to. For instance here is Dartmouth's form:


Here is the link for Harvard: https://college.harvard.edu/financial-aid/apply-financial-aid/financial-aid-forms

Here is the link for Stanford:https://financialaid.stanford.edu/pdf/isfaa23.pdf

For many schools, it's not that transparent, if they allow substitution or not, so you have to contact the Financial Aid Office for Int'l Students and ask if they will accept an ISFAA form and how to get one if they do.

My last comment is that just be aware that even if you get approved to use an ISFAA substitution form and get a favorable admission, most colleges do not provide a "full-ride" to International students. The best you can hope for is the basics of Tuition, Room & Board. But there are thousands of dollars of other expenses per year you have to be aware of. For example costs of technology (smart phones, laptops etc), health insurance, travel costs (airfare, ground transport), cost of staying at school 3 months over summer breaks if you are not going back to your home country, costs of staying on campus over Winter break when the dorms are closed, cost of your VISA paperwork which can be well over $500, cost of clothing, wearables, cost of outfitting out your dorm room with bedding, cost of supplies, notebooks, coursework texts and books that are not downloadable.

So be very diligent with your college list. You can do more research and determine which schools do not give out full financial aid and eliminate them. This will help you focus on the schools that want students like yourself and can afford to grant them better financial aid. There is no meaningful purpose to applying to a bunch of colleges, getting accepted to them, only to find out you have no ability to attend them even with their financial aid offer letter.

Good luck.

2 years ago

Hi, @Tonra!

How are you?

I am not quite sure this could help you, but I am also an international student applying for financial aid through the CSS PROFILE! I did requested waivers for a few schools, and the only one on my list that offered them was Skidmore College!

I don't know if Skidmore is in your college list, but if it is you already have a waiver!

Hope it helps.

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