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Financial Aid Steps to Success: From App to SAP


Following these steps can help you successfully navigate your financial aid journey!




The first step you'll need to take to evaulate your financial aid eligibility is to apply for financial aid! You can apply for financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application (CADAA). Both of these applications open on October 1st of each year. The priority filing deadline is May 2nd.

You can also submit the Continuing Student Scholarship Application for consideration for an institutional scholarship, also due March 2nd each year. If you're thinking about attending Summer Session at UC Merced or certain other summer programs, you should complete the Summer Session Financial Aid Application. You can find both of these applications here.

If you need financial aid, start here!


After applying for financial aid, you may be selected for a process called Verification. This means that you may be required to submit further documentation to verify your financial aid eligibility. Stay on track by checking the Student Checklist and email in your UC Merced Connect portal frequently. Also, be sure to submit your documentation by the June 1st deadline.

Direct Costs

Once you've received your financial aid package and completed the verification process, you can determine your direct costs. The Direct Costs Worksheet is an online tool in which you can determine if you'll owe a balance or receive a refund once financial aid is applied to your student account. Here's a video about how the tool works and how to complete it.


Loans are financial aid awards that require repayment with interest under varying terms and conditions. You can learn about the types of loans we offer here. In order for your loans to disburse to your student account, you must first follow these steps:


Any authorized financial aid will be disbursed to your student account 10 days before instruction begins. If you're due to get a refund check and you'd like it to be directly deposited into a designated bank account, you can sign up for an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) If you owe a balance and would like to split that balance into smaller, more manageable payments, you can enroll in the Deferred Payment Plan (DPP). If possible, try to make these changes at least two weeks before the disbursement date to allow for processing time. For more information about disbursement, click here.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

UC Merced students are required to meet minimum standards to ensure that they're making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward their degree. Students should work all year round to meet these standards by the end of the academic year and maintain financial aid eligibility for the next year. You can find out more about SAP here.