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...institutions are somehow rewarded by the gov't by getting the majority of their applicants to provide the FAFSA info....

My guess is that the government gets to double-check what you report on your 1040, make sure you've been filing, make sure you paid off your own college loans, and make sure all 18-year-old males are registered for the draft. Also makes sure that government-sponsored grants don't go to those who don't need them.

Thus, the FAFSA is free because the government gets a fair amount out of it. CSS PROFILE costs for each school you send it to.

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