FAFSA Simplification

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FAFSA Simplification Act

In 2020, the FAFSA Simplification Act was enacted into law with the goal of making the application simpler and making more students eligible for federal student aid. Some of the changes are being made to the FAFSA form itself, to the terminologies used, and to how need analysis is calculated.

When you are completing the FAFSA for 2024-25, keep in mind these key changes to help you navigate the new application:

  • To start the FAFSA, an FSA ID (or StudentAid account) is required - including for the parents without a Social Security number.
  • Questions have been removed regarding
    • Housing choices
    • Selective Service
    • Drug Conviction
    • Interest in Work Study
  • Modification to family definitions changed.  Parent(s), spouse, stepparents, guardian, are now called a contributor and must provide consent.
  • 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.
  • All student and parent/spouse contributors are only allowed 45 days of inactivity on any incomplete section of the FAFSA before the FAFSA is deleted and will need to be restarted.
Start your FAFSA
Personal Circumstances and Demographics
Financials Section
Select Schools
Review, Sign, Submit


Apply today

When applying, you will be asked to enter a school code to the college you wish to receive financial aid.  If you have questions, please contact your financial aid office.

College School Code Contact Information Website
SAN DIEGO CITY COLLEGE 001273 619-388-3501 
Office A-270
Financial Aid Website
SAN DIEGO MESA COLLEGE 001275 619-388-2817 
Office I4-107
Financial Aid Website
SAN DIEGO MIRAMAR COLLEGE 0013172 619-388-7864 
Office K-312
Financial Aid Website

We also encourage you to read these really helpful tips for preparing to fill out your FAFSA: Pro Tips for the 2024–25 FAFSA® Form


California dream Act Application (CADAA)

  • The process for the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) will include some of the changes from the new FAFSA, both of which will be implemented for the 2024–2025 award year. All students must complete either the FAFSA or CADAA to be considered for student aid.

New Terminology

  • FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS): formerly the Student Aid Report (SAR) that is generated after the student’s FAFSA data is processed.
  • Contributor: Refers to anyone asked to provide information on a student’s FAFSA form.
  • SAI: Expected Family Contribution (EFC) changes to Student Aid Index (SAI).
  • Special Circumstance: Refers to an event which impacts a student’s or their family’s financial situation (e.g. loss of a job, etc.) that would justify the recalculation of a student’s eligibility for aid through a “Special Circumstance – EFC/SAI Calculation Appeal” (previously the Income Reduction Appeal).
  • Unusual Circumstance: a student’s dependency status – through an Unusual Circumstance Appeal (previously the Dependency Override Appeal) – may be changed by a financial aid administrator based on unique situations (e.g. human trafficking, refugee or asylee status, parental abandonment, incarceration, etc.).

Shorter FAFSA form

There's a new system that allows the FAFSA to pull information directly from your income tax return. You don’t have to go hunting for your past returns anymore. You just need to give your consent for the transfer of data.

You must create an FSA ID / StudentAid Account

First step first: create an FSA ID for all contributors – including those parents without a Social Security Number (SSN).

Historically, the ability to create an FSA ID has been limited only to contributors with a verified SSN. However, starting with the 2024-25 FAFSA, all parent and spouse contributors without an SSN may now create one.

The account information will be validated against credit bureau data to verify the identity of the contributor without an SSN, and if the system is unable to verify the contributor’s identity, they will be asked to contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center to open a case to establish their identity. They may be requested to complete a form and provide a state ID/driver’s license or other types of ID plus a utility bill.

IMPORTANT: Being a contributor does NOT implicate financial responsibility. However, if a required contributor refuses to provide their information, it will result in an incomplete FAFSA form, and the student will become ineligible for federal student aid.

Student Aid Index (SAI)

What information goes into calculating a student’s financial aid eligibility has changed which will impact your eligibility and award amounts:

  • More student and parent income will be sheltered from the financial aid formula.
  • The number of children in college at the same time will no longer affect eligibility for federal need-based aid.
  • Changes to Reportable Income/Assets
    • All assets are considered in the formula – no longer excluding assets of small business and family farm.
    • Child support received will be reported as an asset instead of income.
    • Distributions from 529 college savings plans owned by a non-custodial parent or grandparent or aunt or uncle no longer affect aid eligibility.
    • Types of untaxed income no longer need to be reported:
      • Cash support and other money paid on student’s behalf
      • Veteran’s education benefits
      • Workman’s Compensation

Known Issues

There is currently an issue preventing contributors without a Social Security number (SSN) from starting or accessing the 2024–25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. Until it’s resolved, the student can follow the steps to submit your form if you have a required contributor without an SSN. IMPORTANT: Following these instructions will result in an incomplete rejected FAFSA submission that must be corrected at a later date.


Changes can mean delays, so file early

As with any new system, there may be a few bumps in the beginning. Filing early is the best way to have the time you need to get into the new system and submit your FAFSA.

The new simplified FAFSA form will be shorter and require much less effort on your part to fill out. But, if at any point you have questions, please get in touch with the Financial Aid Office for assistance. 

If you want the full information currently available on the FAFSA Simplification Act, check out the Congressional Research Service report on The FAFSA Simplification Act.

FSA will continue to update its 2024-25 FAFSA Updates page as new information becomes available.