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Award Notification and Award Letter


The UC Merced Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships (OFAS) begins sending award notifications to all students in March. Applicants are notified on a rolling basis as the OFAS receives their financial aid application and students are admitted to the University. We reserve the right to modify financial aid awards at any time due to changes on your financial aid application, in your financial eligibility, in program terms, in the amount of available funding, and/or due to coordination with other resources you receive.

Paper award letters are sent to first-time applicants’ home addresses. Each and every communication from that point forward will be done through email.  We will use the email address you submitted on your financial aid application until you register for courses and then we will use your UC Merced email address.

If the OFAS requests that you submit additional documents, we must receive them by the deadline indicated on your checklist in order to consider you for all aid programs, including institutional aid. If you do not submit the requested documents, we will not be able to process your financial aid application and financial aid will not be disbursed to your UC Merced student account (grants, loans and institutional grants/scholarships).

Rights and Responsibilities of Accepting Financial Aid

Accepting financial aid entails certain rights and responsibilities. When you are awarded financial aid, it is critical that you read and understand the "Award Terms and Conditions" listed in MyChecklist each academic year. We strongly encourage you to learn as much as you can about the aid you are accepting and to know in advance what is expected of you in terms of your enrollment and academic progress.

Your Award Letter Explained

Below is a description of the sections on the second page of your award letter. Be sure to read both pages for additional information about your financial aid.

  1. Gift Aid — Grant and scholarship money. These are awards that do not have to be repaid or earned through work.
  2. Self Help Aid — Aid such as loans and federal work study. Loans and federal work study are always optional and are only offered to you to assist in meeting your costs. If you wish to borrow a loan, you must accept it and complete a Master Promissory Note and loan Entrance counseling. All this information is available on our website under "Types of Aid (Loans)." If you wish to accept your federal work study, you must go online to your MyFinancialAid and accept your award. For more information, visit our Federal Work Study page.
  3. Refers to the housing status you indicated on your FAFSA. Your cost of attendance is based on your housing status. If your housing status changes, your awards may change as well.
  4. Student Aid Index (SAI) —  an eligibility index number that is used to determine how much federal student aid you are eligible to receive. This number results from the information that you provide on your FAFSA form. This number is not a dollar amount of aid eligibility or what your family is expected to provide. A negative SAI indicates the student has a higher financial need.
  5. Cost of Attendance (COA) — An estimate of the costs you and your family may need to pay to cover one year of educational expenses at UC Merced. The amount you will pay directly to UC Merced will only include tuition & fees, on campus housing charges, and optional university health insurance. 
  6. Estimated Direct Costs — Direct costs are those costs paid directly to the university and billed through your UC Merced student account. Your actual direct costs will vary depending on factors such as attending full or part-time, living on or off campus, purchasing University health insurance, etc. To make it easier to determine your direct costs, we've created the Undergraduate Direct Costs Worksheet.

Viewing Your Awards Online

Don't see an award offer? 

If you have not received a financial aid award package or you are unable to view your financial aid package, we may not have received FAFSA or CA Dream Act application for you. Please be certain you have listed our UC Merced School Code (041271) on your application. 

If you completed a FAFSA more than 3-4 weeks ago and confirmed that you have UC Merced's school code listed, there may be an issue with the name or social security number you provided on either the financial aid application or Admissions application. You may also have outstanding checklist requirements that need to be satisfied before our office can award you with a financial aid package, such as a Verification of Dependency, Selective Service, or Citizenship requirement. Please call the Students First Center at (209) 228-7178 for assistance.