Disbursement of Financial Aid

Financial aid is paid (disbursed) to students no sooner than 10 days prior to the beginning of the first day of instruction each term. Read the information on this page carefully to find out how and when different types of financial aid are disbursed and what you must do to receive your funds.

Requirements for Receiving Your Aid

Financial aid is disbursed to students no earlier than 10 days prior to the first day of instruction. Before your aid can be disbursed to you, you must complete the requirements below.

  1. Accept Your Aid — Accept your awards for the current aid year under MyFinancialAid at My.UCMerced.edu.
  2. Satisfy All Outstanding Requirements — Be sure that every item on your MyChecklist is satisfied.
  3. Course Units — Students must be enrolled full time (12 units for undergraduates and eight units for graduate students) on the 15th day of instruction in fall and spring terms (unless approved for part-time status).

* Note to students enrolled less than full time: if you are not in an approved part-time program, your financial aid will be disbursed to you based on full-time enrollment. If you are not enrolled full time on the 15th day of instruction, your aid will be adjusted at that time and you will receive a email of your revised awards and will be responsible for paying any balance that is owed.

  1. Loan Promissory Notes and Entrance Counseling — If you are borrowing a student loan, complete and sign any applicable promissory notes for your loans. First-time, first-year Direct Loan borrowers and Grad PLUS borrowers must complete loan entrance counseling at StudentLoans.gov. Both of these requirements can be found on the MyChecklist at My.UCMerced.edu.
  2. Academic Holds — If there are any academic holds on your account, you must resolve them before your aid will be disbursed.

How Aid is Paid to Students (Disbursements)

Grants, Scholarships and Loans

Grants, scholarships and loans administered by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships are applied directly to your UC Merced student billing account to pay charges for tuition, fees and on-campus room and board (if applicable). [top]

Federal Work-Study Funds

Students who have applied for and are accepted into a Federal Work-Study job earn their Federal Work-Study funds by working in positions with eligible employers. Wages are typically paid bi-weekly through the employer's payroll system. For more information about the Federal Work-Study program, see Federal Work-Study

Outside Scholarships

Once the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships receives your scholarship check, it will be incorporated into your financial aid package within two weeks and an email notification detailing the adjustments will be sent to you. If the check is made payable to UC Regents or is co-payable to you and UC Regents and you have endorsed the check, the scholarship will disburse to your UC Merced student account just like any other form of financial aid (only after all requirements are satisfied, you are enrolled, no earlier than 10 days prior to the start of instruction, etc.) and will be split half in fall and half in spring, unless otherwise specified by the donor. 

If your scholarship sponsor sends your scholarship check directly to you, follow the instructions on the How do I submit a scholarship check page to make sure it is applied to your university student account. 


If you have financial aid funds that exceed the charges on your UC Merced account at the time of disbursement, you will receive a refund, which may be used to pay other educationally related expenses. (Note that if subsequent charges are made to your account, you are responsible for paying them. You can always view your student account by going to your MyBill.)

Electronic Funds Transfer or Paper Check

The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships strongly recommends that students use the Electronic Funds Transfer (Direct Deposit) option available through Student Business Services. Having your financial aid refund deposited directly to your account is the best way to ensure you receive your funds in a timely manner. If you do not have direct deposit, you will be issued a refund check that will need to be picked up at the Cashier's Office. 

When Are Refunds Available?

If you see a negative balance on your student account, that means you have a credit balance and a refund will be issued to you. You will know that your refund has been generated when the negative credit balance goes to a zero balance and you see a transaction posted on your student account that reads, "Refund Student Credit Balance." Your refund will be available approximately three business days after you see the "Refund Student Credit Balance" transaction posted to your student account. Student Business Services will send you an email notification approximately five business days after your refund is generated as a reminder that your refund is available.

A Few Important Notes About Refunds

  1. If your parents are borrowing through the PLUS Loan program, they may elect to have any excess funds refunded either to them or to you.
  2. Not cashing a refund check does not cancel any loans you have been awarded. To cancel a loan, you must return the check to the Cashier's Office or Student Business Services with an explanation that you do not want it.
  3. Some types of aid can only be used to pay for certain types of charges. Therefore, you could receive a refund even if you have outstanding charges on your student account from the current term or previous terms. You are responsible for paying the balance on your account, if one remains even after you receive a financial aid refund.