A Free, Fast Way to Help You Stay in College Applying for Financial Aid

A Free, Fast Way to Help You Stay in College Applying for Financial Aid

Financing a college education is one of the most difficult challenges for students. The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships helps students and parents navigate the financial aid process in order to receive the highest award available to them.

In order to qualify for aid for next school year, students must fill out the 2006/2007 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 2, 2006. FAFSA is easy and free, and it may make the difference in a student's ability to attend UC Merced.

We encourage every UC Merced applicant to complete the FAFSA. Even if they think they won't meet the criteria for need-based assistance, it's smart to file, said Diana Ralls, the director of the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

In 2005, 80 percent of UC Merced students were eligible for some form of financial aid, and 65 percent qualified for need-based aid, according to Ralls.

The most common thing we hear from students is, ‘My parents make too much and I will never get anything.' Many students are surprised when they see that in fact they are eligible for financial aid, said Kristen Duarte, a UC Merced financial aid advisor.

Duarte knows the importance of financial aid first-hand. I was a financial aid student at UC Santa Barbara, she said. If I hadn't received financial aid, I would have never been able to go to college.

We want students to come to us with questions, Duarte added. If they don't understand how financial aid works, we're happy to explain it to them.

Additional information about applying for financial aid at UC Merced is available online at www.financialaid.ucmerced.edu or by calling (209) 724-4384. In addition, the Students First Center can assist with questions and schedule financial aid appointments on the first floor of the Gold Wing in the Kolligian Library, Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Graduate students should complete the FAFSA online and then contact the Graduate Division for fellowship, grant and employment opportunities.

Key Financial Aid information:

  • Every student and applicant should file a FAFSA by March 2, 2006.
  • Apply early; some aid is given on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • FAFSA can be filed electronically at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
  • FAFSA must be submitted every year and are NOT automatically renewed.
  • All students applying for financial aid at UC Merced must enter UC Davis'Federal School Code (001313) on their FAFSA.
  • FAFSA will be processed following the March 2 deadline and after students are notified of their admission decision.
  • Students will begin receiving offers of financial assistance in late March or early April.

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