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Helping Students Succeed



When should I apply for financial aid?

Students should apply for financial aid between October 1 and March 2 each year.

Students applying for financial aid from UC Merced, the federal government, and/or the State of California must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students will also need to submit a GPA Verification Form to the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC). [top]

What is your Title IV School Code?

Our Federal School Code is 041271. [top

How much financial aid can I expect?

Eligibility for financial aid is determined by the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) that is calculated based on the information you submit on the FAFSA.
Need-based aid eligibility is determined by subtracting the EFC from the Cost of Attendance (COA). Students with no financial need are often eligible for non-need based student and parent loans. [top]

Is financial aid renewable?

Most forms of financial aid and some scholarships are renewable while you are an undergraduate. However, we do our best to offer a few additional gift aid programs to entering freshman whose work and borrowing opportunities are more limited the first year. Those sources of funding are not renewable. And, you must reapply each year by the deadline to be reconsidered for all financial aid. As a continuing student, you will also need to submit a Continuing Student Scholarship Application each year if you wish to be considered for institutional scholarships. [top]


What is an EFC (Expected Family Contribution)?

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is a calculated figure based on the information you report on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The calculation is made through a need analysis formula established by the U.S. Congress. While the EFC seems mysterious, it is based on a preset formula that, in the case of federal financial aid, is set by law. The EFC formula takes into account: 

• Income
• Assets
• Employment benefits
• Family size
• Number of family members in college

The calculated Expected Family Contribution doesn’t necessarily equal what you’ll be expected to pay to the university (please refer to the current Cost of Attendance to determine your fees). At UC Merced, we use the EFC to determine your eligibility for need-based federal, state and institutional grants and scholarships. We do this by subtracting the EFC from the estimated Cost of Attendance. If the number is positive, you are eligible for need-based aid up to that amount. If your EFC is greater than your COA, you are not eligible for need-based aid but may be eligible for non-need based student and parent loans.
Minus    EFC
Equals   Need-Based Eligibility [top]

Is the Cost of Attendance what I owe?

No. The only Cost of Attendance items paid directly to the university are tuition/fees and on-campus room and board if you choose to live on campus. The Cost of Attendance is just an estimate and includes ALL expenses to attend UC Merced 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. [top]

I don’t think I qualify for financial aid. Should I complete the FAFSA?

Yes! Financial aid is intended both to remove financial barriers for families who cannot afford the cost of an education beyond high school and to fill in the gap for families who can afford only part of the cost. A number of factors in addition to family income are considered in determining your financial eligibility, including the size of your family and number of family members in college. Although most grant awards are based on financial need, some loans and scholarships are available regardless of need. [top]

Don’t only students with the best grades qualify for financial aid?

No. There are scholarships that are merit-based, awarded on a student's academic performance. However, most financial aid, including grants and loans, is need-based, or awarded based on a family's ability to pay for college. [top]

Must I be accepted for admission before I apply for financial aid? Must I be admitted before I receive aid?

No. You may apply for financial aid any time after Jan. 1. However, you must be admitted and enrolled at UC Merced before you receive any funds. [top]

Do I have to apply for financial aid each year?

Yes. Your financial situation must be reassessed each year. However, after the first year you apply for financial aid, you probably will be sent a Renewal FAFSA Application that will ask you to answer some questions again and recheck the answers to others. [top]

I want to apply for a scholarship only. Do I have to fill out the FAFSA?

No. However, to be considered for scholarships where financial need is part of the criteria, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). We recommend that every student fill out a FAFSA. [top]

If my parents save money for college, will it hurt my chances of qualifying for grants?

The amount in a parent's savings account is indeed used in the federal formula that determines the contribution expected from parents. However, a large portion of those savings are protected from consideration; only a small percentage of the remaining amount is assessed in the calculation of the parent contribution. [top]

If we haven’t saved money for college, isn’t community college the only option?

While it certainly helps to have saved for your education, there are other ways to pay for college. Families with lower incomes who have not been able to save will likely find that the expectation of them will be quite modest. For families that do not qualify for financial aid, low-interest parent or student loans and tuition payment plans can help. [top]

How do I apply for scholarships?

New entering undergraduate students apply for scholarships on the UC Application for Undergraduate Admission and Scholarships during November prior to the award year. Free scholarship search information is also available at  Continuing students must submit a Continuing Student Scholarship Application by March 2 prior to the award year.  Continuing Student Scholarship Applications are available in February. [top]

Is there a separate application for Cal Grant?

All students who wish to apply for a Cal Grant must submit a Cal Grant GPA verification form to the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) by March 2. Students may obtain a CSAC GPA verification form from their high school counselor or the Financial Aid office at their current institution. [top]

How do I transfer my Cal Grant to UC Merced?

If your Cal Grant award notification indicates a different institution other than UC Merced, you can complete a Grant Record Change form (G-10) and submit it to CSAC. Please allow four to six weeks for the school change to take effect. [top]

How do I pay my fees?

*MyBill is the primary electronic payment collection site for UC Merced. Monthly billing statements, as well as a real-time look at your UC Merced account, is available on the MyBill website.
* Financial aid disbursements will appear as a credit on your UC Merced student account no sooner than 10 days prior to the beginning of the first day of the term and will apply towards any outstanding eligible charges including fees.
* If your financial aid does not cover the amount of your fees or is not disbursed before the fee payment deadline, you are responsible for paying your fees on time.
* If fees are not paid by the applicable fee deadline, you will be charged a late fee and may be administratively withdrawn from courses. [top]

How Do I Get My Money?
* After your fees and any other charges on your UC Merced student account are paid, any remaining financial aid will be refunded to you.
*Generally, if financial aid has disbursed aid onto your student account and a credit is created, you can expect to receive a refund approximately five to seven business days later.
* Refund checks are available for pick up at the Cashier's Office or directly deposited via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) into your personal bank account if you signed up for the EFT process. For more information contact Student Business Services.


Don’t Forget
In order to receive your financial aid you must
* Complete the items noted on MyChecklist located in the UC Merced Connect portal.
* Accept financial aid awards after June 1 in the MyFinancialAid section.
* Meet the policies and conditions for receiving aid.
* Register in at least 12 units unless in an approved part-time program.

Note: If you withdraw or drop below full-time you should contact our office to discuss how your financial aid will be impacted. [top]

How do I know if I qualify for AB540?

California Assembly Bill 540 (AB540) was signed into law in Oct. 2001 and provides that students meeting all of the following requirements will qualify to pay in-state tuition:

• Attend a California high school for three or more years;

• Graduate from a California high school or receive the equivalent general education diploma (GED); and

• Sign a statement with the college or university stating that he or she will apply for legal residency as soon as he or she is eligible to do so.


Non-immigrant students are not eligible for this exemption. Non-immigrants, as defined by federal immigration law, may hold one of the following visas: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, TN, TD and V, and TROV and NATO.


The exemption covers nonresident tuition and the nonresident differential in the Education Fee.
Eligibility for the nonresident tuition exemption does not affect the eligibility standards or requirements for any form of student financial aid. However, if the exemption is granted, it could impact the amount and, possibly type, of financial aid the student might receive.


If you need any further information about tuition exemption (AB 540), please visit the University of California Office of the President website. You may also contact the Office of the Registrar at or (209) 228-2734 or the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at or (209) 228-4243. [top]

What is AB205?

The California Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act of 2003 (AB205) became law on September 2003. The act extends to California Registered Domestic Partners the same rights, protections and benefits as a spouse. This act currently provides certain benefits in terms of tuition, fee waivers and exemptions based on domestic partnership rights.

To establish a valid domestic partnership in the State of California, same sex partners, or opposite sex partners if at least one of the partners is over the age of 62, must submit a completed, signed and notarized Declaration of Domestic Partnership to the California Secretary of State.

If you need any further information about domestic partnership (AB 205) please visit the University of California Office of the President website. You may also contact the Office of the Registrar at or 209-228-2734, or the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at or 209-228-4243. [top]

What will AB 131 do (California Dream Act II)?
AB 131 will allow all students who qualify for AB 540 nonresident tuition exemptions, including those who are undocumented, to apply for Cal Grant awards and for grants and scholarships awarded by California public colleges and universities. This new law will take effect on Jan. 1, 2013, with respect to UC institutional aid and Cal Grants for the 2013-14 academic year. For more information, click here. If your questions were not answered, please click here. [top]

What if my question is not answered on this list?

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