Skip to content Skip to navigation

Cost of Attendance

The Cost of Attendance (COA) is just an estimate and includes all expenses to attend the university for one year, not just expenses paid directly to UC Merced. The COA includes average tuition/fees, books and supplies, room and board, personal expenses, transportation expenses, and a health insurance allowance and varies depending on whether you live on-campus, off-campus or at-home with relatives. Your actual expenses may be different and most items are not paid directly to the university. The only COA items paid directly to the university are tuition/fees, on-campus room and board if you choose to live on campus and university health insurance if you are unable to complete the health fee waiver.
Standardized budgets are expressions of average costs. They are intended to provide sufficient funds to pay for educational expenses for most students in most circumstances. The UC Merced Undergraduate Direct Cost Worksheet is for undergraduate students it can assist you in determining your direct costs.
If your housing status is expected to be different than what you listed on the FAFSA or CADAA, submit an Adjustment to Housing Status form found on our Forms page. Your housing status will be updated and financial aid awards will be re-evaluated. Please be aware that any changes in housing status may impact your financial aid eligibility. For more information on the process, please watch our video on housing changes.


Adjustments for all students are made automatically beginning in early summer and continue 2-3 times per week through the 15th day of instruction of the fall or spring term.  If your housing status changes after the 15th day of instruction please complete and submit an “Adjustment to Housing Status” form, adjustments are made only if you submit an “Adjustment to Housing Status” form and will be made within 7-10 business days of the form being received.  You will receive an email notifying you to log into the portal to review the changes to your financial aid package.  Your housing status will be updated to On Campus if you are confirmed to have a campus housing assignment, Off Campus if you do not have a campus housing assignment and do not have an address within a 45-mile radius of campus.  If you have an address within a 45-mile radius of campus you will be placed in At Home/ With Relatives budget.

Financial aid awards will be updated as appropriate based on changes to the Cost of Attendance due to housing adjustments.  For updates to your housing status that occur after the 15th day of instruction, additional grant aid is awarded only if grant aid is available at the time the form is submitted.  If grant aid is not available, students will only be considered for additional loan/work eligibility. 

Direct Costs

Direct costs are those costs paid directly to the university and billed through your UC Merced student account. Direct costs are different from the estimated Cost of Attendance. The Cost of Attendance is an estimate of expenses and includes items not paid directly to the university. Direct costs typically only include tuition/fees and on-campus room and board, items that you will receive a bill for. Your actual direct costs will vary depending on things such as whether you attend full or part-time, live on or off campus, etc. 

Net Cost

Net Cost is the amount of direct costs (items you are billed for) you must pay out-of-pocket that are not covered by your financial aid after financial aid is applied. Your net cost is always lower than the Cost of Attendance and in many cases, lower or nothing.

Listed below are the 2019-2020 standard costs of attendance for undergraduate students:  

* The tuition and fees posted here are estimates based on currently approved amounts. These figures may not be final. Actual tuition, fees, and charges are subject to change by the Regents of the University of California and could be affected by increases or reductions in State funding, or other developments. Accordingly, final approved levels (and thus a student's final balance due) may differ from the amounts shown. The tuition and fees amount listed above includes $11,442 tuition, $1,128 student services fee, and $968 campus-based fees. 
** The listed Room/Board, Books/Supplies, Transportation, and Personal Expense amounts represent an average cost for students. Average amounts are determined annually based on statistical data from a variety of sources including periodic surveys of UC Merced students. Your individual cost may vary. For more information on actual off campus rental costs please visit the off campus housing website.
*** The University of California Regents mandate that all students be covered by a health insurance plan. All full and part-time undergraduate students are automatically enrolled in and charged for the University of California Student Health Insurance Plan (UC SHIP) unless they choose to submit on-line insurance waiver confirming they have comparable health coverage to the Health Center. 

Cost of Attendance Adjustment

It is impossible to take into account all the situations in which people find themselves or all the consumer choices they make. Students with unusual documented expenses who feel that their "allowed" budget does not reflect their actual expenses can learn more about a Cost of Attendance Adjustment here, The OFAS can sometimes allow a higher individualized budget. Whether additional financial aid can be made available to the student based on the revised budget depends on the availability of funds. Since scholarship and grant assistance is limited, an increase in the budget will usually be reflected in an adjustment to self-help financial aid (loans and/or work).