FAFSA and CSS Profile Tips and Resources

Undergraduate students at DU need to submit two applications to be considered for all types of financial aid: the FAFSA (which determines eligibility for federal and state aid) and the CSS Profile (which determines eligibility for need-based institutional aid). Prospective students do not need to apply for aid to be considered for merit scholarships or admission to DU.

How to Apply for Aid

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What You'll Need to Apply for Aid

To complete the 2024-25 FAFSA and CSS Profile, you should gather the following financial records for both you and your parent (if you're a dependent student):

  • 2022 federal tax returns
  • 2022 W-2s and other records of income
  • Records of untaxed income and benefits (such as child support and interest income)
  • Records of assets (such as stocks, bonds and real estate)
  • Current balances of cash, savings and checking accounts
  • Net worth of investments, businesses and farm
  • Parent SSN and contact information (see "Providing Parent Information" below)

Video: What you Need to Complete the FAFSA

Creating an Account

StudentAid.gov Account (FSA ID)

You'll need to create a StudentAid.gov account (also known as an FSA ID) to fill out your FAFSA. If your parent(s) are required to provide information on your FAFSA (see "Providing Parent Information" below), they'll need to create their own account as well.

You'll use your FSA ID to complete the FAFSA, access your submitted FAFSA, complete requirements for student loans, and review all of the federal aid you've received so far.

Create a StudentAid.gov Account

Video: Create and Access Your StudentAid.gov Account

CSS Profile (College Board) Account

You'll need a College Board account to complete the CSS Profile. If you've taken the SAT, PSAT, or AP courses, you can use the same username and password to complete the CSS Profile.

Note that custodial parents will use the same account as their student. If your parents are divorced/separated, only the noncustodial parent will need to create a separate parent account to complete their CSS Profile. (See "Providing Parent Information" below for more details.)

Create a College Board Account

Providing Parent Information

Who is my Parent of Record?

Most undergraduate students will have to provide parent information on the FAFSA and CSS Profile. 

If your biological/adoptive parents are married to each other, you'll need to report information for both parents on the FAFSA and CSS Profile.

If your biological/adoptive parents are divorced, separated, or were never married, you'll need to determine your Parent of Record:

  • Typically, your parent of record is the parent who provided the majority of your financial support over the past 12 months, and you should provide this parent's information on your FAFSA and CSS Profile.
  • If your parents split the financial support equally over the last 12 months, your parent of record will be the parent with higher income and assets, and you should provide their information on your FAFSA and CSS Profile.

It's important that you use the same parent of record on both your FAFSA and CSS Profile applications. You should not report one parent's information on the FAFSA and the other parent's information on the CSS Profile.

Infographic: Which parent's information should I include on the FAFSA and CSS Profile??

View Infographic

FAFSA Contributors

A "contributor" is anyone who is required to provide their information, signature, and consent and approval to have their federal tax data transferred directly from the IRS into the FAFSA. If you're a dependent student, your parent(s) will be identified as a contributor. (Note that being a contributor on the FAFSA doesn't make your family member responsible for paying your education costs.)

To invite contributors to your FAFSA form, you'll be asked to provide their:
   • first and last name,
   • Social Security Number (if they have one),
   • date of birth, and
   • email address.

Video: Who is a contributor on the FAFSA?

Video: How do I complete the FAFSA if my parents are divorced or separated?

CSS Profile Parent Information

The University of Denver requires financial information from both biological/adoptive parents of students on the CSS Profile to be considered for institutional need-based aid. All parents, stepparents, and parents' domestic partners should be included in the Parental Relationships section of the CSS Profile application, at which point you'll be able to indicate which parent(s) financial information will be included.

All sections and questions are marked as to whether they are about the student or the parent. However, one of the most common mistakes parents make is to answer "Student Status" questions for themselves and not for their student, so be sure to read carefully!

Video: Completing the CSS Profile

Resource: Noncustodial Parent Information

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Tips for Applying for Aid

  • Always use your full legal name and social security number.

    Be sure to use your full legal name and social security number as they appear on your Social Security card when applying for aid. Do not use your parents' social security number, your DU ID number or nicknames as this will delay the processing of your applications.

  • Complete the FAFSA and CSS Profile at the same time.

    Whenever possible, complete both the FAFSA and the CSS Profile at the same time, using actual information from your financial statements. Carefully read the instructions that reference specific lines on your tax return. By entering the same information on both applications, you may not have to submit additional documentation to our office.

  • Sign your FAFSA.

    To complete your FAFSA, all contributors must sign the application using their FSA ID. Submitting the FAFSA without signatures will delay the processing of your financial aid.

  • Have you already received a bachelor's degree?

    You will be asked this question on the FAFSA - be sure to read it carefully! If you will not complete your first bachelor's degree before the upcoming academic year, answer "No".

  • Review your FAFSA Submission Summary.

    Once your FAFSA is processed, you will receive an email with instructions on how to access an online copy of your FAFSA Submission Summary, which summarizes the information you provided on your application. (Note that this is not a financial aid offer!) Review the information on your summary and, if corrections are needed, follow the instructions carefully.

    Please note that for 2024-25, FAFSA Submission Summaries are not expected to be available until February.

  • Do not update your FAFSA or CSS Profile unnecessarily.

    Once you submit your FAFSA and receive your FAFSA Submission Summary, don't make any changes unless your summary instructs you to do so. The information you report on the FAFSA is supposed to be a "snapshot" in time, so please don't update elements that changed after you initially completed the FAFSA (such as the amount in your checking account). Making unnecessary changes may result in a delay of processing your financial aid application. The same goes for your CSS Profile application.

    Read More: When should i correct or update my FAFSA information?

    Read More: Making Corrections on the CSS PROFILE

  • Pay attention to emails you receive from our office.

    We may need additional documentation from you before we can process your financial aid application. Our primary method of communication to students is via email, so be sure to read any email we send you as it will likely contain important information about your financial aid account.

Financial Aid Application Resources

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