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Helping Students Succeed

FAQ

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How do I view my financial aid award offer?

You can view your award offer at UC Merced Connect under My Financial Aid. 

Click here for more detailed instructions on navigating your portal to view your award offer.

What are my next steps if I am graduating at the end of spring and I received student loans?

Exit counseling is required when you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment. Exit counseling provides important information that you need to prepare to repay your federal student loan(s). 

Click here for more information. 

When will my document(s) be reviewed?

4It depends on what you submitted. Please refer our Processing Timelines page. 

Why do you continue asking for a document when I've already turned one in?

There may be a problem with the document you have submitted. If your document was unclear or missing pages 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. 

General

Is the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) how much my family is expected to pay?

No, the EFC is just an estimate used to determine how much need-based financial aid you may be eligible to receive. The EFC is calculated based on the information you submitted on your financial aid application and considers things such as income, assets, the number of persons in the household, the number attending college for the award year, etc. 

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?

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. 

How much will I have to pay out of pocket?

To calculate your estimated Direct Costs, use the Direct Costs Worksheet. This resource will help you estimate if will owe a balance after taking into consideration any gift aid. You can then determine if you will need to borrow any loans to help pay your balance and for any other school-related expenses. 

How will my financial aid change if I move on or off campus?

Your Cost of Attendance (COA) is based on your living situation (On-Campus, Off-Campus, or At Home). Since financial aid is awarded up to the COA, when your living situation changes your financial aid will be adjusted to meet your new COA.

I’m applying for graduate school fee waivers based on my qualifying for need based aid at UC Merced. How do I obtain a financial aid letter documenting my financial need?

You may download the Graduate Application Fee Waiver Request form from our website. Please print out and submit your fully completed form to our office for processing. Your letter will be available 5-7 business days after your completed form is received by our office.

Eligibility

Why didn’t I receive any grants? / Why is my grant so low?

Every student is awarded differently based on multiple variables such as financial aid application data, housing status, outside scholarships, waivers, etc. Please contact the Students First1 Center to discuss your financial aid eligibility.  

What will happen to my financial aid if I withdraw before the semester ends?

Federal regulation mandates that students who withdraw from all classes may only keep the financial aid they have "earned" up to the time of withdrawal. Title IV funds in excess of the earned amount must be returned, which could result in your owing money back to UC Merced. You can read more about that process here. Withdrawing may have other impacts too, like on loan repayment and Satisfactory Academic Progress. We highly encourage any student considering withdrawing to contact us to discuss how leaving UC Merced may impact your grant aid, loan repayment, and eligibility for future financial aid.

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.

Do I have to include my parent(s) on my financial aid application if I support myself or file my own taxes?

Typically yes, however it depends on how you answer the Dependency Questions on your aid application. Check out the two FATV videos below for more information. 

My family’s income from 2020 does not reflect our current income, can your office consider me for additional financial aid?

If the income you reported using 2020 income tax information does not reflect your family’s current situation, you may be eligible to submit a Special Circumstance Appeal with our office. Special circumstances include loss of employment, other loss of income, disability or retirement, among others. This appeal will help our office re-evaluate your financial aid award package. Submitting all required documents for an appeal does not guarantee that financial aid awards will change. Please visit this page to learn more about the process.

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.  

Awards

Where is my Cal Grant?

You may need to log in to your WebGrants 4 Students account and view your Cal Grant information. If you are eligible for a Cal Grant and it was not awarded, it may be an issue of timing. You can expect updates to be made by the end of July. 

How do I report my outside scholarship?

If you are notified you have been awarded an outside scholarship you will first need to report that to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships so we can make a note on your financial aid awards that funds are expected. You can disclose this through the UC Merced Connect, under the Resources/Additional Information tab, in the Accept/Decline Awards section. We will then add that award as an “Estimate” to your financial aid award package within 5-7 business days. You will receive an email when that has been completed. “Estimated” funds will not be used or applied to your balance until the funds are actually received from the Agency.

Are there any scholarships I can apply for?

All incoming freshmen are automatically considered for our institutional scholarships by submitting FAFSA/CADAA. Continuing students are considered by submitting the Continuing Student Scholarship Application between February 1st and March 2nd each year. You can also check out some outside scholarships opportunieis here.

 

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: finaidapps.ucmerced.edu 

  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 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 2022/2023 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. After you have made the necessary updates, your awards will be available to view online 7-10 business days later. If you don't see updates made by then please contact us. We're here to help! 

When will I receive the Blue and Gold award?

The Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan promises to provide enough gift aid to cover system-wide tuition and fees if you are a California resident who qualifies for financial aid and your family earns less than $80,000 a year. Students who are deemed eligible for the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan will not see an award specifically titled "Blue and Gold."  

All sources of scholarship and grant awards including Cal Grant, Pell Grant, and Bobcat Grant count towards the commitment of covering system-wide tuition and fees. If you have enough gift aid to cover your tuition and fees, you are already under the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan.  

Students eligible for the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan who do not currently have enough gift aid to cover tuition and fees will have their awards adjusted added a few days prior to the Fall semester payment deadline. All students are automatically considered based on their financial aid eligibility. 

Why did my Bobcat Grant change after I submitted my UC SHIP waiver?

Your Bobcat Grant was adjusted because you will not be paying for UC SHIP. Your financial aid was originally packaged with the assumption that you would be paying for and staying enrolled in UC SHIP for the entire academic year.

Do I have to accept the loan(s) offered to me?

You are not required to borrow the loan(s) offered to you. Only borrow what you need. You have the right to turn down the loan or to request a lower loan amount. If your situation changes at any point in the academic year, you can opt accept or adjust the loan(s) that you were offered.  

Disbursement

Why isn't my financial aid ready to pay?

You may have outstanding requirements on your checklist or an academic hold. Click here for more information about disbursement. 

When will I receive my refund?

Refunds are processed by Student Business Services. Click here to read more about their refund process for both checks and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). 

When will my summer financial aid disburse?

Your summer financial aid will disburse 10 days prior to the summer session in which your combined enrollment reaches at least 6 units.

For example, if you are enrolled in 4 units in Session A and 4 units in Session C, your financial aid will disburse 10 days before Session C begins. Financial aid that is ready to pay will show as "Authorized" on your student bill prior to disbursement. If your summer financial aid does not cover your full balance, you must follow fee payment deadlines.