FAFSA Simplification

Due to the passing of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Simplification Act on December 27, 2020, as a part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, the FAFSA is changing for the 2024-2025 aid year.

You can expect the following changes:

  • The 2024-2025 FAFSA and California Dream Act Application (CADAA) will not be available until December 31, 2023.
    • The 2024-2025 FAFSA and CADAA determines your financial aid eligibility for the fall 2024, spring 2025 and summer 2025 terms.
  • The FAFSA application process will be streamlined and easier for students to complete.
  • New terminology will be added to the FAFSA.
  • Eligibility for federal financial aid will be expanded.

We will continue to update this page as additional information becomes available.  You can learn more about the specific changes, timeline and how to prepare below.

FAFSA/CADAA changes for 2024-2025

  • FAFSA/CADAA completion date
    • Instead of opening in October, the 2024-2025 FAFSA will not be available until December 31, 2023.  This is only temporary for 2024. After the 2024-2025 aid year, the FAFSA will be available in October as usual.
    • The priority deadline for Cal Grant, Middle Class Scholarship (MCS) and State University Grant (SUG) has been extended to April 2, 2024 for the 2024-2025 aid year only.  After the 2024-2025 aid year, the priority deadline will go back to March 2.
  • Streamlined application process
    • The FAFSA will feature fewer questions, fewer requirements, and has the ability to retrieve tax information using a direct data exchange from the IRS instead of the previous IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
    • The process for the CADAA will include some of the changes from the new FAFSA.
  • New terminology and information
    • The need analysis formula to determine financial aid, formally known as the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), will now be referred to as the Student Aid Index (SAI). The new formula removes the number of family members in college from the calculation, better reflects the FAFSA results, and implements a separate eligibility determination criteria for Federal Pell Grants.
    • The FAFSA is introducing the new term contributor, which refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student's FAFSA form, including the student, the student's spouse, a biological or adopted parent, or the parent's spouse. Being a contributor does not imply responsibility for the student's college costs.
  • Expanding Pell Grant eligibility
    • The adjustments to the new Student Aid Index (SAI) calculation will expand Federal Pell Grant eligibility to more students.

Timeline

The following timeline provides an overview of upcoming changes due to the FAFSA Simplification Act. Additional dates will be added as we learn more information.

FAFSA Simplification Timeline
Date Item Description
December 2023

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and California Dream Act Application (CADAA) for the 2024-2025 year opens.

April 2, 2024

Priority deadline to submit the FAFSA/CADAA for Cal Grant, Middle Class Scholarship (MCS) and State University Grant (SUG).  Applications can still be submitted after April 2 for federal aid eligibility and possible SUG re-awarding consideration.

Late Spring 2024

Estimated Financial Aid Award Offer begins to go out to new Fall 2024 admitted students.

If you are admitted to the University and have completed the financial aid application, you will receive either an Official or Estimated Financial Aid Offer. 

Summer 2024

Financial Aid Award Offers begin to go out to returning students.

If you have completed the financial aid application, submitted all required documents and the file review has been completed, you will receive a Financial Aid Award Offer

 

Prepare for the FAFSA

While the 2024-2025 FAFSA won't be available until December, you can still prepare by doing the following:

  • Make sure every contributor has an email address.  Parents must have an email address to obtain access 
  • Create an FSA ID on the Federal Student Aid website and assist contributors, such as your parent(s) or spouse who have Social Security Numbers, in creating an FSA ID. The process for individuals without a Social Security Number to obtain an FSA ID is not available at this time.  It is expected to be available in December before the FAFSA release date.
    • An FSA ID is an account and password that gives access to the Federal Student Aid's online system and serves as an electronic signature.
    • The FSA ID can be used to, fill out the FAFSA when it's available, sign the Master Promissory Note (MPN), apply for repayment plans, complete loan counseling and use the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Help Tool.
  • Complete the FAFSA as soon as it opens in December.

Resources

Federal Student Aid - What is the FAFSA Simplification Act?