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What documents should I submit to support my SAP Appeal?

All students submitting a SAP Appeal are required to submit supporting documentation. Appeals submitted without documentation will not be reviewed. Please submit date-specific documentation from a disinterested third party, such as a doctor or a counselor's note, an accident or police report, or third-party documentation of a death in your family. Dated email correspondence with a professor, TA, or advisor that details circumstances mentioned in your appeal is also acceptable. If you still aren't sure what you should submit, please speak to a Financial Aid Advisor so we can offer you personalized guidance. 

My family makes less than 80k. When will I receive the Blue and Gold award? Do I need to apply for it?

The Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan promises to cover system-wide tuition and fees of approximately $12,570 in gift aid if you are a California resident whose family earns less than $80,000 a year and you qualify for financial aid. 

All sources of scholarship and grant awards such as the Cal Grant, the Pell Grant, and the Bobcat Grant count towards the minimum commitment of covering system-wide tuition and fees. Therefore, if you already have at least $12,570 in gift aid, you are already under the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan.  

Students eligible for the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan who currently do not have a minimum of $12,570 in gift aid will have their award added a few days prior to the Fall semester payment deadline.  

Students who are deemed eligible for the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan will not see an award specifically titled "Blue and Gold." The award will appear as a Bobcat Grant and you will be notified via email that the award is based on meeting the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan eligibility criteria. Please keep in mind that there is no separate application you need to complete for the Blue and Gold program as all students are automatically considered based on their financial aid eligibility. More information about the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan can be found online: 

My financial aid application indicates that I will be living on campus, but my portal shows that my financial aid is for living off campus. How can I change that?

Fall 2021 on-campus housing will be primarily for new, incoming first-year students. A limited number of continuing students will be allowed to live on campus. If you are approved to live on campus, the Housing Office will automatically notify our office, and we will update your budget and financial aid awards accordingly. Updates are made weekly throughout the spring and summer. 

My family’s income from 2019 does not reflect our current income, can your office consider me for additional financial aid?

If the income you reported using 2019 income tax information does not reflect your family’s current situation, you may be eligible to submit a Special Circumstance Appeal with our office. Types of special circumstances include loss of employment, other loss of income, disability or retirement, among others. The special circumstances appeal will help our office re-evaluate your financial aid award package. However, submitting all required documents for an appeal does not guarantee that financial aid awards will change. Awards may remain the same, be increased, or reduced based on the information you submit. You can visit this page to learn more about the specific documentation you will need to submit, 

We highly encourage you to speak with a financial aid advisor before starting the appeal process. You can contact our office by calling 209-228-7178.  

Why don't I have any financial aid awards to view?

If you have not received a financial aid award package or you are unable to view your financial aid package, we may have not received a 2021/2022 FAFSA or CA Dream Act application for you, there may be an issue with the name or Social Security Number you provided on either the FAFSA or Admissions application, or you may have pending requirements on your checklist that need to be satisfied before awarding you a financial aid package. See this page for more information. 

The amount I was awarded will not be enough to cover all charges is there any additional aid I can receive?

All students that were awarded a financial aid package were considered for all the financial aid they are eligible for. When considering your out-of-pocket expenses, we highly encourage you to think about your direct costs. Direct costs are those costs paid directly to the university and billed through your UC Merced student account. Direct costs typically only include tuition/fees, on-campus room and board, and health insurance which are items that you will receive a bill for. Your actual direct costs will vary depending on things such as what room/meal plan you choose or whether you waive out of the health insurance. 

You can utilize our Direct Costs Worksheet to get a better idea of your direct costs by visiting: 

  1. Click on “Undergraduate Direct Costs Worksheet” 
  2. Log in using your UC Merced Credentials 
  3. And review your direct costs.  

Once you log in, you will see that an estimate of your direct costs are pre-populated as well as the gift aid you were awarded.  

In section D, titled “Calculate Balance Due or Refund Amount”, any amount in red is what you will have to pay out of pocket or pay using your self-help aid (e.g., student loans). Any amount in green is your refund.  

Why do you keep asking for my/my parent's tax document when I've already turned one in?

There may be a problem with the document you have submitted. If your document was missing pages, Schedule(s) 1, 2, and/or 3, or signature(s), then your document will be marked as Received Incomplete. Please refer to your email for specific instructions about submitting a complete document. See this page for more information about understanding your Checklist. 

How will my financial aid change if I have an outside scholarship?

Federal financial aid regulations require that all financial aid awards you receive cannot exceed your student budget or cost of attendance. This includes grants, scholarships, loans and work study. It is possible, therefore, that outside scholarships could reduce a component of your current financial aid awards to ensure that your total awards do not exceed your student budget or cost of attendance. In these cases, the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will first attempt to reduce work study and/or loans that are offered. Fellowships, grants or scholarships are only reduced as a last resort.

I withdrew before the semester ended. Why do I now owe money?

The Return of Federal Title IV (R2T4) financial aid regulation mandates that students who withdraw from all classes may only keep the financial aid they have "earned" up to the time of withdrawal. Click here to read more about that. 

How do I know my financial aid is ready to pay?

Authorization is the first step in the disbursement process. You can think of this is as "pre-disbursement".  Aid will only authorize if a student's aid is ready to disburse. Aid authorizes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings. The next step, disbursement, will begin to take place on August 16th.