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Need financial aid? Start Here!

  • The first step in obtaining financial aid is applying! The 2021-2022 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) open on October 1st, 2020. For more information about applying, click here.

    2021-2022 Financial Aid Application Information

    • The 2021-2022 financial aid applications are based on 2019 income information or the Prior-Prior Year (PPY), since most people have already filed their 2019 tax returns.
      • You cannot use your 2018 or 2020 tax information. If your family's income has changed significantly, please complete your application with 2019 information and contact our office for further assistance.
    • The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is available for you to import your tax information directly into your FAFSA
      • If you use the DRT, we'll collect less documentation if you're selected for verification
    • Don't forget to include our school code: 041271

    What You Need to Apply

    • Your FSA ID (for FAFSA filers)
    • Your Social Security number, Alien Registration number, or CSAC ID
    • Your parents' Social Security numbers if you are a dependent student
    • 2019 Federal tax returns, including IRS W2 information for yourself and your parents if dependent, or spouse if you are married
    • Records of your untaxed income (ex. child support received, interest income, and veterans noneducation benefits)

    Financial Aid Application Help

    Need help completing your financial aid application? Use the Help(?) icons on both FAFSA and CADAA online forms for question descriptions and other helpful tips. You should never pay someone else to help you complete your financial aid application, because these are free.


    Our office will be available to help you complete your FAFSA or CADAA in three ways this year:

    Start Here Virtual Workshops

    Financial Aid Advisors will be available to help you complete your FAFSA or CADAA at our Start Here Financial Aid Application Workshops. Because of precautions taken due to COVID-19, we have transitioned our in-person workshops to be held virtually over Zoom. These “drop-in” style workshops will be open for any UC Merced student to attend. We encourage students to start their applications, then attend a workshop whenever they need help answering a question.

    Start your application online and use the Help (?) icons to answer questions. If you get stumped by a question and you need assistance from a financial aid advisor, skip it, then visit us at a workshop! Join the Zoom meeting with your questions ready. You’ll enter a waiting room and be assigned a number. Then, you’ll be called into a private breakout room with a financial aid advisor, who will help answer the specific applications questions you have. We value your privacy! Your information will not be shared with anyone but the financial aid advisor you’re speaking with.

    Note: Since we’re trying to serve as many students as possible, we can only answer questions pertaining to financial aid applications during these workshops. If you have other financial aid-related questions, or general questions, please contact the Students First Center at (209) 228-7178 or email us at

    Register for a workshop by clicking a date below:

    Wednesday, October 14th, 12-2pm

    Tuesday, October 27th, 4-6pm

    Monday, November 9th, 2-4pm

    Wednesday, November 18th, 3-5pm

    If you have feedback or suggestions about our workshop offerings, please email us at


    Financial Aid Advisor Virtual Appointments

    We’re offering a small series of Virtual Appointments so that you can meet one-on-one with a Financial Aid Advisor and get help with your application questions.

    Click here to learn more about our Virtual Appointment offerings!


    Financial Aid Website

    We’ve published helpful resources that will help you answer common application questions. Check out the resources on our website below:

    FSA ID Tutorial

    2021-22 FAFSA/CADAA Tips (coming soon)

    2021-22 FAFSA on the Web Worksheet

    IRS Data Retrieval Tool Instructions

    Who's My Parent? Infographic/Video

    2021-22 FAFSA Tutorial Videos

    Parent Signature Page Instructions

    CADAA Informational Videos

    Financial Aid Video Page

    FAFSA Mobile

    The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has gone mobile! You can now complete the FAFSA on your smartphone or tablet device! Visit the FAFSA website for more information. Note: The 2021-22 FAFSA can be completed in the app in December 2020.