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Helping Students Succeed

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.

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 2021-2022 standard costs of attendance for undergraduate students:  

*IMPORTANT: We reserve the right to modify financial aid awards at any time due to changes in your financial aid eligibility, in program terms, in the amount of available funding, and/or due to coordination with other resources you receive.

  • The tuition, fees, and charges posted here are estimates based on currently approved amounts. Actual system-wide tuition and fees are subject to change by the Regents of the University of California. If different tuition and fee levels are approved, your costs and your financial aid award may be adjusted. Accordingly, final approved levels (and thus your final balance due) may differ from the amounts shown.
  • Financial aid may change for future academic years; this award is not a guarantee of future awards.
  • It is also important that you satisfy any outstanding requirements by the appropriate deadline. You can find and/or satisfy your requirements by visiting the Student Requirements section of this website. Your financial aid will not be disbursed until all outstanding requirements have been satisfied.

** 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. Click here for typical housing costs near UC Merced. 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).