CSS PROFILE/IDOC FAQ's
What is the College Board and why does the student need to send financial information to them? Why doesn't the student send information directly to his/her school?
Why does the student have to pay the $9 CSS PROFILE application fee and the $16 college program fee?
These fees cover the CSS PROFILE application processing. All students who want to receive consideration for institutional financial aid will be required to pay these fees. Please see the next question regarding fee waivers.
Is the student eligible for a fee waiver?
- The PROFILE fee waiver applies automatically to families that meet defined income and asset guidelines.
- The PROFILE fee waiver program applies the USDA reduced price lunch income guidelines to the CSS Institutional Methodology (IM) definition of total parent income. Total parental income includes both taxable and untaxed income, with the exception of the Earned Income Credit. More information about current reduced price lunch income guidelines may be found at http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd.
- Parental assets are also included in the fee waiver eligibility assessment. Dependent students whose parents report net assets in the excess of $33,820 are not eligible for a fee waiver.
- The fee waiver covers the application and six total school reports. First-time students file an average of three PROFILE reports; thus the fee waiver process meets the needs of most entering students.
- Payment is not required until the application is submitted. When students submit their applications, they will be notified of their charges or their fee waiver receipt.
- Families that do not automatically qualify for the fee waiver may request additional consideration through The HUB. A CSS PROFILE Fee Waiver (.pdf) form must be completed and submitted to The HUB for review and determination.
Is the student required to file the CSS PROFILE only if he/she wants to borrow a non-need based loan (a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Student Loan or a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan)?
Students who only want to receive consideration for a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Student Loan or Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan will only be required to file the FAFSA, and, if selected for federal verification, a federal Verification Worksheet which will be sent to them for completion. They will not be required to submit the CSS PROFILE. Students who only want to receive consideration for these non-need based loans should also complete the "Request for Federal Unsubsidized or Federal Parent PLUS Loan" form.
What is the last date to file the 2012-13 PROFILE?
If questions are left blank on the CSS PROFILE, will it still go through processing?
How does the student make corrections to his/her CSS PROFILE after it has been submitted?
To make corrections, the student should print the acknowledgement that becomes available after he/she submits the PROFILE, make corrections directly on the acknowledgement, and submit the corrections to Carnegie Mellon to update. The acknowledgement must be signed by the student or parent and can be mailed to The HUB, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213, or faxed to 412-268-6651.
If tax documents are faxed or mailed to CMU, instead of being mailed to the CSS IDOCS Processing Center, what happens to them?
If the student's parents are divorced or separated, what forms does the noncustodial parent need to complete?
The noncustodial parent needs to complete the CSS Noncustodial PROFILE (NCP) at https://ncprofile.collegboard.com. The student's CSS ID and Noncustodial PROFILE password that were assigned as part of the CSS PROFILE process will be needed to sign in to the NCP. Carnegie Mellon receives your Noncustodial PROFILE electronically from CSS, so there is not need to send copies or printouts. We do not require 1040s or any other tax information from the noncustodial parent.
Is there a fee for completing the CSS Noncustodial PROFILE (NCP)?
If the student or parent is a Non Tax Filer, what do they submit?
Can students/parents send in more than one IDOC packet?
How will the student's information be kept confidential?
How does the student ensure prompt processing of his/her information?
- The student should print his/her IDOC Cover Sheet on one side of a single sheet of paper. We cannot process the student's packet without a cover sheet or if the student sends in a two-page cover sheet.
- The student should complete and mail the IDOC Cover Sheet with one legible copy of each of the required documents. On the cover sheet, the student should provide the Social Security Number for each parent submitting documents, and for the student's spouse, if applicable. The student should make sure his/her Social Security Number is correct and complete in the first section of the cover sheet. All appropriate tax documents must be signed.
- The student should copy each document page on a separate 8.5" X 11" sheet of white (not lined) paper (full sized - no reduction or enlargement). Both sides of each tax form should be copied and the copy should be legible and complete. Copies must be one-sided. More than one W-2 form should not be copied on a single sheet of paper.
- The student should not staple or paper clip documents together and should not send post-it notes.
- The student should mail all requested documents with the IDOC Cover Sheet to the College Board at the address on the cover sheet in an envelope that is large enough to hold all of the documents without folding them. The student should not send the requested information to the College Board in multiple mailings and should not send duplicate packets/documents. Only information from the noncustodial parent, if requested, may be submitted separately with a separate cover sheet.
- Material received without an IDOC Cover Sheet will not be processed.
How does the student receive his/her IDOC Cover Sheet?
The student should go to the IDOC Sign-In Page and enter two of the following: Student's IDOC ID, Social Security Number, or Date of Birth; then click the "Sign-In" button. On the next page, the student should click on "IDOC Cover Sheet." The student's IDOC Cover Sheet must be legible and printed on one side of one-page document.
The student's IDOC Cover Sheet isn't printing as a one-page document. What should he/she do?
We suggest that the student adjust the print margins on his/her computer. If using Internet Explorer (IE), the recommended browser for viewing IDOC online, the margins can be adjusted by clicking on File > Page Setup in the top left corner of the screen (IE's toolbar). In the bottom right corner of the Page Setup box, all margins should be changed to .25. This will affect everything the student views and prints via IE.
How does the student learn what documents he/she needs to send to the College Board?
The student should go to the IDOC Sign-In Page and enter two of the following: Student's IDOC ID, Social Security Number, or Date of Birth; then click the "Sign-In" button. On the next page, the student should click on "IDOC Requirements." The student should keep the IDOC Requirements for his/her records. IDOC Requirements should not be returned to the College Board.
Where should the student send his/her IDOC information?
Information may be sent to: College Board IDOC, PO Box 4017, Mt. Vernon, IL 62864.
The packet should not be sent to another College Board address. It will delay the processing of information.
How can the student expedite the mailing of his/her information to the College Board?
The student may send his/her information via priority mail through the U.S. Postal Service. College Board's Mt. Vernon, Illinois processing center is usually a two-day service from most areas in the continental United States. From outside the U.S., information may be sent via air mail. The College Board's processing center is a secure facility and cannot accept envelopes or packages via FedEx, UPS, courier, etc.
How does the student verify that the College Board has received his/her IDOC packet and has forwarded it to student's college or program that requested it?
The student should go to the IDOC Sign-In Page and enter two of the following: Student's IDOC ID, Social Security Number, or Date of Birth; then click the "Sign-In" button. On the next page, the student should click on "Check Status." The IDOC status page will display the date we notified the student of his/her IDOC Requirements, the date we received the student's IDOC materials, and the date we sent the student's IDOC information to his/her college(s)/program(s). The notification and receipt dates are reported to the student's college(s)/program(s).
If the student applied to two (or more) colleges or programs that are IDOC participants, does he/she send two copies of the forms? If the student sends only one copy of his/her forms, will the College Board make the student's information available to both colleges or programs?
The student should send only one copy of his/her forms. All of the student's college(s)/program(s) will have access to the information in the packet that they have requested.
The deadline listed in the IDOC Requirements is different than the deadline on the student's college's website. Which one is correct?
The deadline listed in the student's IDOC Requirements is the earliest due date provided to the College Board from among the colleges and programs to which he/she has applied. Individual colleges may publicize a different date. That date is the correct date for that college. The student should submit his/her documents by the earliest date to ensure that all of the college(s)/program(s) deadlines are met. Additionally, the deadline listed in the IDOC Requirements is for the student's IDOC information only. Colleges and programs may have different dates for other requirements such as PROFILE, FAFSA, etc.
If the student cannot meet the deadline for filing information with IDOC, what should he/she do?
The student should return the documents requested to the College Board as soon as possible, and contact the college(s)/program(s) that requested the information and explain his/her circumstances.
What are the consequences of returning the information required by the student's college or program after the deadline indicated in his/her IDOC Requirements?
The student must contact his/her college's financial aid office to determine the consequences of returning documents after the listed deadline. The deadline in the student's IDOC Requirements is the earliest deadline provided to the College Board from among the colleges and programs to which he/she has applied. Some of the college(s)/program(s) may have a different deadline.
Is the deadline given in the student's IDOC Requirements the date that the information must be postmarked or the date that you must receive the student's documents?
The College Board must receive the student's IDOC documents no later than the deadline listed in his/her IDOC Requirements. Information should be returned to the address on the IDOC Cover Sheet: College Board IDOC, P.O. Box 4017, Mt. Vernon, IL 62864.
How long does it take to process the student's information once the College Board receives it?
It takes approximately five (5) business days to process the information once the College Board receives it.
If you receive the student's packet on the deadline date and it takes five days for this information to be sent to his/her college(s), won't it be late?
The College Board notes the receipt date of the student's packet as the day that they receive it from the U.S. Postal Service. The student's college(s)/program(s) are notified of this date and use it to determine if his/her information has been received on time. They have taken processing time in consideration when setting their deadline dates. The student should send in his/her packet as early as possible to ensure that the packet is received on time. If the student has any questions or concerns about meeting his/her IDOC deadline date, he/she should contact the college's or program's financial aid offices directly.
The student completed the IDOC packet a while ago but has not received a financial aid award from his/her college. When will the student receive his/her financial aid award?
The student's college or program will communicate with the student directly about his/her financial aid award. IDOC information is only one component of many evaluated by the student's financial aid office when reviewing his/her information. The student should consult the material that his/her financial aid office has available (information directly mailed to the student, his/her college's or program's website, etc.) to help determine when the student's award eligibility will be determined. The student should contact his/her college or program if he/she has additional questions.
The student isn't going to file a tax form, so he/she is supposed to submit a Non Tax Filer's Statement in his/her IDOC packet. The student is at school and can't sign it. Should the parent sign it for him/her?
No. The student's Non Tax Filer's Statement should be returned unsigned. The form cannot be signed on the student's behalf. The school will contact the parent or student, if necessary, to get the document signed. The return of the student's IDOC packet should not be delayed by waiting for the document to be signed.
What happens to the paper copies of the student's tax information once the College Board has completed processing?
After the end of the processing year, the College Board destroys all of the paper copies sent to IDOC.
If College Board is sending the student's tax information to one college, why don't they send the student's tax information to the other colleges that he/she listed to receive his/her PROFILE information?
Not all colleges participate in IDOC. The College Board sends IDOC documents only to colleges and programs that use the IDOC Service. The student should follow directions from his/her other college(s) or program(s) about where and when to submit his/her tax forms.
The student's college told him/her that the student would receive information on IDOC from the College Board, but the student has not received anything. When the student goes to IDOC Online to check his/her status, it says that the student was not notified by the College Board to use IDOC. Should student send IDOC materials to someone?
No. IDOC notification does not begin until the first week of February. If the student's school has told him/her that the student will receive an IDOC notification and the student has not yet received one as of the second week of February, it may be that the student's college has not yet provided the College Board with the information. The student will be notified when his/her college instructs the College Board to do so. If the student is required to submit a 2011-12 CSS PROFILE application and has not, he/she should do so as soon as possible. Not submitting the PROFILE application can delay the IDOC notification. The student should contact his/her college if the student has questions about when to send tax forms to the College Board.
Can the student use last year's (2011-12) IDOC Cover Sheet to send his/her 2012-13 IDOC information?
No. The student must use the current 2012-13 Cover Sheet.
Can the student use his/her sibling's IDOC Cover Sheet to send his/her IDOC information if they attend the same college?
No. The IDOC Cover Sheet is only valid for the student whose Social Security Number, name, and IDOC ID appear on the cover sheet.
The IDOC Cover Sheet lists the 1040EZ as a two-page document, but the second page is a worksheet that the student didn't fill out. Does he/she need to send in the second page of the 1040EZ?
Yes, both pages of the 1040EZ should be returned with the student's IDOC material even if he/she has not entered any information on the worksheet.
On the Non Tax Filer's Statement, it states student/parent should include supporting documentation for all of their income sources. What kinds of documents should be included?
Examples of documentation that should be submitted include: Pay stubs; annual Social Security statements; other annual benefit statements such as for housing or living allowances, workers compensation, or disability; and copies of cancelled checks such as for child support.
The student is receiving e-mails reminding him/her to return the student's IDOC packet but he/she will not be sending in any information. Can the student opt out of receiving these e-mails?
Yes, there is a link at the bottom of the e-mails that will register the student's request to opt out of receiving further e-mail reminders. The student may also send a request to help@cssPROFILE.org.
What is the student's IDOC ID?
Each year the College Board generates a unique six-digit ID number for each IDOC student. This identifier acts as a control number for the student's IDOC documents. The student can also use it to log into the IDOC website. This ID number was sent to the student when he/she was notified to complete an IDOC packet and is available on the student's IDOC Cover Sheet and IDOC Requirements. This number is secure and only available to the student and his/her school(s) that participate in the IDOC program.
The student lost his/her IDOC ID. How does he/she find out what it is?
The student's IDOC ID is located on his/her IDOC Cover Sheet and IDOC Requirements. If the student does not have either document, they should go to the IDOC Sign-In Page and enter his/her Social Security Number and Date of Birth, and then click the "Sign-In" button. On the next page, the student should click on "IDOC Cover Sheet" or "IDOC Requirements." If assistance is still needed, the student should contact the College Board by calling 305-829-9793 or e-mailing help@cssPROFILE.org.
The student and his/her parents are not U.S. citizens and will not file U.S. income tax returns. The student received a letter from the College Board directing him/her to submit tax documents through IDOC. Some of the requested documents aren't applicable to the student's situation. What should he/she send to the College Board?
The student should submit whatever tax documents his/her parents are required to file. If the student and parents are not filing a U.S., Canadian, or Puerto Rican income tax return, that should be indicated on the IDOC Cover Sheet by filling in the "Other Signed 2011 Non-U.S. Tax Return" ovals. The student should return the cover sheet and his/her documents to the College Board at the address on the cover sheet. The student should contact his/her school to determine if any further steps to complete his/her financial aid application need to be taken.
Carnegie Mellon will identify those students/parents who file a tax return in a country other than the United States and request a copy of this tax return translated into U.S. dollars on a 2011 U.S. Federal Income Tax Return. This document must be signed by the student or parent(s) and a tax accountant, and returned to the Student Financial Aid Office or Office of Admission (first-year student).