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Better FAFSA, Better CADAA

Need financial aid? 

The first step in obtaining financial aid is applying! The 2024-2025 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) opened on December 31st, 2023. For more information about applying, click here.

2024-25 Financial Aid Application Information

  • The 2024-2025 financial aid applications are based on 2022 income information or the Prior-Prior Year (PPY) since most people have already filed their 2022 tax returns.
  • You cannot use your 2021 or 2023 tax information. If your family's income has changed significantly, please complete your application with 2022 information and contact our office for further assistance.
  • No more Data Retrieval Tool! – The FAFSA will link directly to the IRS to populate Federal Tax Information (FTI) needed to determine your eligibility if you and your parents (or spouse, if applicable) provide consent.
  • Don't forget to include our school code: 041271

What You Need to Apply

You might need the following information or documents as you fill out the 24-25 FAFSA form:

  • Your parents’ SSNs if you’re a dependent student

  • Your spouse's SSN if  you're a married student

  • Tax returns

  • Records of child support received

  • Current balances of cash, savings, and checking accounts

  • Net worth of investments, businesses, and farm

Financial Aid Application Help

Need help completing your financial aid application? Use the Help(?) icons on both FAFSA and CADAA online forms for question descriptions and other helpful tips. You should never pay someone else to help you complete your financial aid application, because these are free.

Our office will be available to help you complete your FAFSA or CADAA in the following ways:

FAFSA & CADAA Workshops

Financial Aid Advisors will be available to help you complete your FAFSA or CADAA at our FAFSA & CADAA Workshops. These “drop-in” style workshops will be open to any UC Merced student. We encourage students to start their applications, and then attend a workshop whenever they need help answering a question. 

Start your application online and use the Help (?) icons to answer questions. If you get stumped by a question and you need assistance from a financial aid advisor, skip it, then visit us at a workshop! You can either join us online via Zoom, or in-person.

If you join via zoom, you’ll enter a waiting room and be assigned a number. Then, you’ll be called into a private breakout room with a financial aid advisor, who will help answer the specific application questions you have. We value your privacy! Your information will not be shared with anyone but the financial aid advisor you’re speaking with.

Note: Since we’re trying to serve as many students as possible, we can only answer questions about financial aid applications during these workshops. If you have other financial aid-related questions, or general questions, please contact the Students First Center at (209) 228-7178 or email us.

If you have feedback or suggestions about our workshop offerings, please email us at

Continuing Students Scholarships 

The new and improved 2024-2025 Continuing Student Scholarship Application is now open to those who will be attending UC Merced for the upcoming 2024-2025 year. Preference will be given to those with a minimum 3.0 GPA, but all are encouraged to apply.


FAFSA Helpful Resources 

How To Submit the 2024–25 FAFSA® Form if Your Contributor Doesn’t Have an SSN

2024-25 FAFSA Issues Report and Updates

Applying for Financial Aid with FAFSA Form

FSA ID Video Tutorial 

CADAA Helpful Resources

CADAA Common Application Issues

CADAA Frequently Asked Questions

CSAC CADAA Resources

Better FAFSA, Better CADAA FAQ


The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has gone mobile! You can now complete the FAFSA on your smartphone or tablet device! Visit the FAFSA website for more information.