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FAFSA Simplification Updates

The 2024-2025 FAFSA will undergo major changes, delaying its release from the usual October 1 date to December 2023, and these changes will also be reflected in the California Dream Act Application (CADAA).

This act makes more students eligible for Pell Grants by considering their family size and comparing it to the federal poverty level.

Please review the current issues that the Department of Education has confirmed and currently working to resolve. We encourage you and your parents to sign up for updates directly from the Department of Education by registering for their Listserv.

You may also check out the Department of Education's Outreach YouTube page.

We will continue to update this webpage as we receive more information from the Department of Education and California Student Aid Commission.

Changes to the FAFSA

Student Aid Index Replaces Expected Family Contribution

The Student Aid Index (SAI) is the new method for calculating a student's eligibility for financial aid, replacing the previous Expected Family Contribution (EFC) system.

Changes in Aid Calculation Due to Siblings

The SAI no longer factors in whether a student has siblings in college, which could lead to a decrease in the amount of need-based aid some students receive.

Parental Income Reporting for Divorced/Separated Parents

For students with divorced or separated parents, the parent responsible for the most financial support is the one whose income needs to be reported, rather than the parent with whom the student primarily resides.

FSA ID for Parents without Social Security Numbers

Parents who don't have a Social Security Number can now obtain a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID, allowing them to submit the FAFSA online and speeding up the process.

Dependency Status for Homeless Students

Students who are homeless or can't access their parents' financial information and qualify for a dependency override no longer need to reconfirm their status every year unless their circumstances change.

Simplified FAFSA Process

The FAFSA has been streamlined, reducing the number of questions from over 100 to just 36, making it easier for most students and families to complete.

Comprehensive Changes to the FAFSA


The FAFSA online form is dynamic, removing certain questions due to changes in gathering tax and income information.

Streamlined Application

Fewer questions on the FAFSA and a new future-act Direct Data Exchange (FA-DDX) secure system that will make it easier to transfer Federal Tax Information (FTI) directly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The Difference Between SAI and EFC

The SAI determines aid eligibility more accurately than the EFC and can even have negative values, such as -1500.

No benefit for having siblings in college

The FAFSA removed the "sibling discount" affecting aid eligibility, meaning students with siblings in college might see changes in their aid amounts, a decision made by Congress.

Automatic Pell Grants

Students from families earning below set percentages of the federal poverty level will qualify for Pell Grant awards, with amounts determined by household structure and the SAI.

Larger Income Protection Allowances (IPA)

The IPA, excluded from SAI calculations, reduces the income considered available for college. New, larger IPAs raise it by 20% for parents (up to about $2400), 35% for most students, and 60% for single parents (approximately $6500).

Inclusion of Family Farms or Small Businesses

When required, families will now report the value of their farms or businesses. As this inclusion continues to be debated in Congress, it will be required reporting for appropriate families on the 2024-25 FAFSA and will be part of calculating the SAI.

What is NOT changing from the FAFSA

Access to Aid

To qualify for federal, institutional, and state aid, students must complete the FAFSA or CADAA annually.

Early Completion is Valuable

Filling out the FAFSA early is beneficial as some aid is allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Returning Questions

  • New questions added in 2023-24 about sex, race, and ethnicity don't impact aid eligibility and are for statistical purposes only.
    * However, the questions are optional and are not required.
  • Dependency status questions, determining if parents are involved in the FAFSA process, remain unchanged.
  • The FAFSA requires tax information from two years prior.