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Need financial aid? Start Here!

The first step in obtaining financial aid is applying! The 2023-2024 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) open on October 1st, 2022. For more information about applying, click here.

2023-24 Financial Aid Application Information

  • The 2023-2024 financial aid applications are based on 2021 income information or the Prior-Prior Year (PPY), since most people have already filed their 2021 tax returns.
  • You cannot use your 2020 or 2022 tax information. If your family's income has changed significantly, please complete your application with 2021 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
  • 2021 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 the following ways:

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 to any UC Merced student. 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.

We have concluded the virtual Start Here workshops for the 2022-23 academic year. If you need further application help, please contact the Students First Center.

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

FAFSA Helpful Resources

FSA ID Video Tutorial 

2023-24 FAFSA on the Web Worksheet

IRS Data Retrieval Tool Instructions

Who's My Parent? Infographic/Video

FAFSA Tutorial Videos

FAFSA Parent Signature Page Instructions


CADAA Helpful Resources

CADAA Worksheet

CADAA Parental Signature Form

CADAA Common Application Issues

CADAA Frequently Asked Questions

CADAA Informational Videos

CSAC CADAA Resources


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.