2024-2025 FAFSA Simplification

Significant changes are underway for both financial aid applications, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) in the upcoming year of 2024-2025. These modifications aim to increase the eligibility for federal student aid and to simplify the process for students and contributors.


Changes to the Application Overview

Typically, the FAFSA and CADAA are relased on October 1st, allowing students to begin and submit the applications for the upcoming academic year. However, due to recent adjustments to these applications, there is a delay in the opening date. The FAFSA and CADAA for the 2024-2025 academic year will be avilable on December 31, 2023.

Due to the postponed release of the 2024-2025 applications, the traditional priority filing deadline of March 2 has been extended. The new priority deadline for submission is May 2, 2024.

A significant change for the FAFSA filers is that all contributors providing information on the financial aid applcation must now have individual FSA ID's.

The FSA ID is a username and password that is now a mandatory requirement for logging in and accessing FAFSA. The FAFSA ID serves as a legal signature when submitting the FAFSA.

It's essential that both you and any contributors, such as spouse or parent, create an FSA ID before initiating the FAFSA process. If you are an independent student, your parent won't need to create an FSA ID. It's worth noting that if you have a sibling who attended college  before you, your parent may already have an exisiting FSA ID.

All students are required to create an FSA ID. The FAFSA process will determine whether you need to include your parent's information. Typically, unmarried students under the age of 24 are considered dependent on their parents.

Major Changes to the Application Overview

The number of questions asked on the application has been reduced.

Students may now list up to 20 colleges on their FAFSA application.

The term Expected Family Contribution (EFC) has been replaced with the new term Student Aid Index (SAI)

Modifications to family definitions within the FAFSA website and application. Student, spouse, student's parent(s) and or stepparent is now called a contributor.

A two-step verification is mandatory for both the student and contributors who all must have an FSA ID to log into the application. A seprate process is available for parents and spouses without a Social Security number.

Each contributor (student, spouse, student's parent(s) and or stepparent(s) will need to provide consent to give their Federal Tax Information (FTI) in the new Consent to Retrieve and Disclose Federal Tax Information section of the FAFSA.

If any contributor decides not to provide their consent, the Student Aid Index (SAI) will not be calculated and the student’s eligibility for financial aid will not be determined.

What was known as the the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) is now replaced with a Direct Data Exchange through the IRS.

For students whose parents are divorced or separated, the Custodial Parent on your FAFSA will no longer be the parent with whom you lived with the most within the past 12 months. It will now be based on which parent who provides you with the most financial support.

Foster, homeless and unaccompanied youth (as well as applicants who cannot provide parental information) will be able to complete the form with a provisional independent student determination and receive a calculated SAI.

Changes for Special or Unusual Circumstances

Under the new simplified FAFSA guidelines, financial aid administrators at colleges are now required to inform families that students applying for aid can request adjustments on a case-by-case basis. These adjustments may include:

  1. Modifying the Cost of Attendance (COA) to accommodate additional costs that exceed the standard COA.
  2. Altering the data elements used to calculate the Student Aid Index (SAI).
  3. Adjusting Dependency status.

This procedure, commonly referred to as professional judgment, allows for a more personalized evaluation of a student's financial situation. Notably, professional judgment can be applied in certain circumstances, such as  emergencies, economic downturns or declared disasters.

We believe these changes will contribute to a fairer and more responsive financial aid system. If you have any questions or require further clarification, please don't hesitate to reach out to our financial aid office.

Federal Student Aid Estimator

The Department of Education has created the Federal Student Aid Estimator, a tool for students to use which will calculate an estimate of how much federal aid a student may be eligible for the 2024-2025 aid year. This estimate is based on the Student Aid Index (SAI) to determine a student's federal aid.