CADAA Simplification

California Dream Act Application Changes

Updates to the financial aid application process for the 2024–25 award year.

The California Student Aid Commission is making changes to the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) to include some of the updates in the FAFSA Simplification Act. All students must complete either the FAFSA or CADAA to be considered for government student aid.

The Commission intends to release the updated CADAA on the same day as the new FAFSA. The application will be delayed from October 1 to December 2023 (exact date to be determined). The March 2nd priority deadline has been extended to May 2, 2024, due to the delayed application opening. Updates to both programs are expected to expand financial aid eligibility for many students.

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


What is the Simplification Act?

This process is the first major redesign of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process in over 40 years. It represents a significant overhaul of federal student aid.

The process for the CADAA will include some of the changes from the new FAFSA, both of which will be implemented for the 2024–2025 award year. Read more about the FAFSA Simplification Act.

CADAA Changes

The California Dream Act Application allows students interested in attending eligible California colleges, universities and career education programs to apply for state financial aid. 

Anticipated changes to the 2024–25 CADAA include:

  • The incorporation of the Student Aid Index in place of the Expected Family Contribution. 
  • Enhancements per the recommendations of a California higher education work group focused on solutions that reduce challenges for undocumented students accessing financial aid. 

Differences between CADAA and FAFSA changes:

  • The CADAA will keep the same number of questions, FAFSA will have fewer questions.
  • The CADAA will retain language about income from the student and parent(s); the new FAFSA has updated terminology, using contributors to describe a student’s parent(s) or spouse.
  • The new CADAA will have similar income reporting requirements and questions; the new FAFSA requires the applicant and each contributor to individually consent to the direct data exchange process with the IRS.

Benefits to Students, Families, and Borrowers

Students and families will see a different measure of their ability to pay for college and experience a change in the methodology used to determine aid. The benefits of CADAA simplification include:

  • An enhanced application process
  • Expanded eligibility for California student aid