The Most Onerous Form in College Admissions
Photo: Lincoln Agnew
Eric Hoover, The Chronicle of Higher Education
One application. Scores of questions. Untold hours of angst. Called the College Scholarship Service Profile, or CSS Profile, this complicated form is a gatekeeper for funds that many of the wealthiest colleges give out each year.
The application—used by more than 400,000 students annually—helps colleges and scholarship organizations allot more than $9 billion a year to students, often unlocking doors to a new life. But the same process that expands opportunity for some applicants contracts it for others. Low-income and first-generation applicants who could benefit greatly by submitting the form often struggle to complete it. And sometimes they give up.