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Helping Students Succeed

FAQ

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The amount I was awarded is not enough to cover my expenses. Is there any additional aid I can receive?

All students are automatically awarded the maximum amount of financial aid based on their eligibility, which almost always includes some loans. If you have not already, you may log into your UC Merced Portal to review and accept the loans that have been offered to you in your name. We encourage you to make the most thoughtful, informed decisions when determining which loan is best for you. Check out the following resources:

Most students need to accept at least a portion of offered loans to help with educational exepnses. If you have already accepted your loans and still have an outstanding balance, consider utilizing the Deferred Payment Plan offered through Student Business Services.

I've been dropped from my classes, now what do I do?

Don't delay, take action right away. To remove your registration hold, make payment arrangements, and re-register for classes, contact the Students First Center: 

  • In Person: First floor of the Administration Building
  • Phone: 209-228-7178
  • Email: Use the Contact Us form

Keep in mind that SFC response times can be longer than usual during peak periods at the start of the term. 

If you have been dropped for non-payment and no longer plan to attend UC Merced for the semester in question, you must still complete the process of applying for an Educational Leave or withdrawing from the university. If no action is taken, your student record will be deactivated after the Add/Drop deadline for the term and you will be required to complete the Reinstatement process to enroll in future semesters.       

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.  

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 opportunies here.

 

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. 

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.  

I withdrew before the semester ended. Why do I now owe money?

The Return of Federal Title IV (R2T4) financial aid regulation mandates that students who withdraw from all classes may only keep the financial aid they have "earned" up to the time of withdrawal. Click here to read more about that. 

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

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.

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.

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.

What are my next steps if I am graduating 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. 

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. 

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).