2024-2025 FAFSA and California Dream Act Changes

For the 2024-2025 application year, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will undergo changes relating to the FAFSA Simplification Act enacted into law. The changes to the FAFSA will impact the information requested from students and their families, as well as the potential eligibility of grant and loan aid for applicants during the 2024-2025 academic year.   Learn more about the upcoming changes from the Department of Education

Further details and eligibility information on the 2024-2025 application year, can be found at the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Application (CADAA).

2024-2025 Application Changes and Highlights

A simplified application process:

The number of application questions has been reduced and this has decreased the time needed to complete the FAFSA form.

Expanded eligibility for Federal Pell Grant:

More students will be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant, and some students may be eligible for more Federal Pell Grant than before.  

Reduced barriers for applicants:

  • Required Federal Tax Information (FTI) will be securely transferred directly from the IRS for all taxpayers upon consent.
  • Both students and parents/guardians will be able to create their own Federal Student Aid (FSA) IDs, even those with no Social Security Number (SSN). Please note that FSA IDs refer to the same username and password required to create the FAFSA application.

Change from Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to Student Aid Index (SAI):

  • Beginning with the 2024-2025 FAFSA, the EFC is being replaced by the SAI. The SAI refers to the new calculation used for determining and awarding need-based grants and scholarships.
    • Specific difference between the EFC and SAI include:  
      • The FAFSA removed the question asking for the number of family members in college.
      • Additionally, there is also a possibility for the SAI to be a negative number, with a minimum SAI of -1,500 instead of zero. 

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Changes:

  • Expected Family Contribution (EFC) replaced by Student Aid Index (SAI).
  • Fewer number of questions to answer on the FAFSA
  • The IRS Data retrieval process is now required to receive financial aid
  • FAFSA contributors, such as a parent, will need to log in with their own FSAID to complete student's FAFSA. Need help creating an FSAID? [pdf] 

Known Issues/Challenges with the 2024-2025 FAFSA:

Contributing to the FAFSA without a Social Security Number (SSN)

Beginning with the 2024-2025 application year, "Contributors” (parents) without a Social Security Number (SSN) can now create an FSA ID to sign the application, provide demographic, financial, and other important information. Prior to the 2024-2025 FAFSA parents and contributors without a Social Security Number (SSN) were not able to create their own FSA ID.

However, a new challenge has emerged for contributors without a social security number; though they can now successfully obtain an FSA ID (studentaid.gov account & password), they are not able to enter information into the FAFSA. Federal Student Aid (FSA) has communicated that they intend to have this issue resolved in the first half of March 2024.

For a full list of currently known issues with the 2024-2025 FAFSA, please visit the 2024-2025 FAFSA Issues page.

California Dream Act Application (CADAA) Changes:

For 2024-2025, the  California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) is working on making updates to the CADAA per recommendations from the  Renewing the Dream Report that was released earlier this year. Notable changes for the California Dream Act include:

  • The CADAA was released on the same date as the FAFSA - December 31, 2023
  • CADAA’s priority deadline is May 2, 2024
  • The California Dream act will use the new Student Aid Index (SAI) rather than an EFC.
  • Inclusion of Race, Ethnicity, and gender questions, used for statistical purposes only.
  • AB540 Affidavit included as part of the application in following Assembly Bill 1540, CSAC will include the questions for the determination of nonresident tuition exemption (commonly referred to as AB 540 affidavit) within the CADAA and provide a way to allow institutions to collect a student’s answers to the AB540 affidavit.  Note: Colleges and universities will continue to make final determinations of AB540 eligibility
  • CSAC is working on changes to allow parents to sign CADAA applications during the original submission, potentially eliminating the need for a separate pin creation process.

Frequently Asked Questions