The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) allows U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents to apply for and receive federal, state and institutional financial aid at colleges and universities nationwide.

  • Dream Act

    The California Dream Act allows undocumented students who meet certain provisions of Assembly Bill 540 (AB540) to apply for and receive state and institutional financial aid at California colleges and universities.

  • MC4Free

    Full Time = Free. College students who enroll in at least 12 units free tuition for two years.

State Cal Grant

Cal Grants are offered by the State of California to students attending eligible California institutions of higher education. Grants are funds that do not have to be repaid as long as you complete your courses successfully.

1. Cal Grant A and B awards are limited to 4 academic years, except as provided in
subdivision (c) of Section 69433.6 of the CEC.
2. Students need to take 15 units per semester or the equivalent quarter units, or 30
semester units or the equivalent quarter units per academic year, in order to
graduate within four years.

Other Types of Aid

About the Federal Work Study Program 

The Federal Work-Study Program offers students the opportunity to earn money through part-time employment. Students looking for employment should follow these steps: 

  • Jobs are located both on-campus and off-campus locations with non-profit, for-profit that contract with Merced College. 
  • Job types vary we try to locate work related to your major or occupational goal. 
  • The FWS program allows students gain work experience and also earn money they can use to help pay educational and personal expenses. 
  • Employment is not guaranteed, you must apply and wait to hear for possible interview. Be sure you are enrolled in 12 units or more and receiving Financial Aid to qualify. 
  • Work-Study wages will be at least minimum wage. 
  • Work-Study students receive their payroll checks once a month and must input hours on Web Time Entry. 

Application and Hire Process  

View open positions and apply at Merced Job Speaker.
Application Instructions 

About Scholarships 

Scholarships are sources of free money and usually not based on financial need. Instead, they may recognize your grades or test scores, athletic ability, major, special talents, or community service.

Merced College Foundation Scholarships

The Merced College Foundation Scholarships are offered once a year. The application period for the next academic year will begin February and end on March 31st. For the last couple of years we have been able to award more than $300,000 to our students. 

For more information:  Merced College Foundation

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I Receive a Scholarship? 

If you have received a scholarship, you need to see the Scholarship Coordinator in the Financial Aid Office. Outside scholarships include Bloss and Golden State Scholar Share Trust. 

See also:  Scholarship Disbursement information.

Helpful Tips 

We suggest you do not pay a scholarship search firm to look for scholarships. First of all, you can do the research and save money. Below we list a few web sites where you can begin your search. Secondly, do not fall for claims you are “guaranteed” a scholarship. If you do receive a list of possible scholarship opportunities, you still have to apply and compete for the money. And, third, never give your credit card information to hold a scholarship.  

Scholarship Resources 

Check out the following scholarship directories: 

A Federal Direct Student Loan is financial aid that must be paid back with interest. Merced College only participates in the Federal Direct Loan Program.  

Direct loans are low-interest education loans for students to help pay for college costs. There is no credit check or cosigner required to qualify. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education, which assigns loans to one of its contracted loan servicers throughout the country after a loan is originated by a school for a student. You can find out who your loan servicer is two weeks after your first loan disbursement is issued by the school. 

Go to https://nslds.ed.gov to see your loan servicer contact information and to keep your information updated with them. Your loan servicer will be responsible for any questions you have for your loan after the funds have been distributed.

How to Request a Loan 

  • From your Merced College student email only, send a request to [email protected]. Include your name and Merced College student ID number.
    • Applicants must meet the following minimum requirements:
      • Have a completed financial aid file with no outstanding tasks
      • Be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
      • Be enrolled in a minimum of 6 units of non-remedial/non-ESL coursework
  • The Financial Aid Office will review your financial aid file to ensure you are meeting the above minimum criteria and are eligible to receive and complete a Federal Direct Loan request form
    • If you are eligible- You will receive an email in your student email account to complete the  Merced College Financial Aid Direct Loan Questionnaire
    • If you are not eligible at this time- you will receive an email with information as to why you do not currently meet the minimum qualifications and what, if any, steps you must take
  • Complete Entrance Counseling
  • Entrance Counseling is a requirement that provides you with all the information you need to know about the terms and conditions of the loan, as well as your rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower. Follow the instructions below to complete the EC:
    • Go to www.studentaid.gov/ and Log In
    • After signing in, click the link “Complete Counseling”
    • Under entrance counseling, click on the “Start” Button
    • Select your State and School from the drop down boxes
    • Select “Notify this school”
    • Select “I am completing EC to receive Direct Loans as an undergraduate student.” Click continue
    • Read and follow all instructions carefully
  • Complete Master Promissory Note (MPN)
  • The MPN is a legal binding document. When signed, it signifies your understanding of the rights and responsibilities, your acceptance of the terms and conditions of the loan, and your agreement to repay. Follow the instructions below to complete the MPN:
    • Go to www.studentaid.gov/ and Log In
    • After signing in, click the link “Complete Master Promissory Note”
    • Click the link for “Subsidized/Unsubsidized”
    • Read and follow all instructions carefully
  • Please Allow up to four weeks processing time after completing all steps. You will receive a loan notification to your student e-mail.

Loan Disbursements

Please refer to the Schedule of Payments for upcoming disbursements. Your actual disbursement date will be confirmed on your loan notification e-mail.  

Please note:  

  • First-time student borrowers with no prior Federal Direct Loans are required by law to complete 30 days of their academic program before receiving their first loan disbursement.  
  • For Spring 2021, the last date to turn in a Direct Loan Questionnaire is April 30, 2021.  
  • Merced College has the right to reduce or deny loans on a case-by-case basis for students.

Exit Counseling 

Exit Counseling is ONLY required of borrowers when the borrower drops below 6 units during a semester or stops attending, completes just one semester, or when a student completes their program of study at Merced College or transfers to another school. For more information visit www.studentaid.gov

Federal Direct Loan Interest Rates and Fees 

Interest rates and fees are adjusted by Congress and begin July 1 for each academic year. As per changes authorized by the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013, the Direct Loan interest rate will be the sum of a uniform “index rate” plus an “add-on” that varies depending on the type of loan and the borrower’s grade level. The interest rate for a loan, once established, will apply for the life of the loan — that is, the loan is a fixed-rate loan. As a result, student borrowers who borrow in more than one award year will likely have a number of fixed-rate loans, each with a different interest rate.  

Interest. Loans must be repaid in full. In addition to the principal (the amount you borrow), interest accumulates on the loan as an expense paid by the borrower for the use of the money. The expense is calculated as a percentage of the unpaid principal amount.   

  • The interest rate for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Direct Student Loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2023 and before July 1, 2024 is 5.50%  

Origination Fees. All loans have loan fees (also called origination fees) that are deducted proportionately from each loan disbursement you receive. This means that the money you receive will be less than the amount you actually borrow. You are responsible for repaying the entire amount. 

An origination fee will be automatically deducted before disbursement. 

  • For loans disbursed before Oct. 1, 2020, the fee is 1.059% of the loan. 
  • For loans disbursed on or after Oct. 1, 2020, and before Oct. 1, 2024, the fee amount is 1.057%. 


Managing your federal student loan debt is a major responsibility, but there are many resources out there to help you along the way. Whether you are still in school at least half-time or have already left school, it is important to stay on top of your student loan debt obligations. Do you know who your lender is? What is your interest rate? What if you can’t make your loan payment? Below you will find various resources to help answer these questions and more.

Loan Resources

The National Student Loan Data System Using your FSA ID you can access your entire loan history
including balances, interest rates, and lender contact information. 

Federal Student Aid Loans Access general loan information as well as copies of your MPN and loan correspondence. 

US Department of Education 

ATT: Applicant Services
P.O. Box 9002
Niagara Falls, NY 14302
Phone: 1.800.557.7394
Email: [email protected]
Contact the Department of Education directly for questions regarding your rights and
responsibilities or the terms and conditions of your loan. 

Payment Help 

Having trouble making your loan payment? Don’t ignore your loan payment in the hopes that it will go away. It is a federal debt that must be repaid! If you are unable to make your loan payments, there are options out there for you to reduce or postpone your payments temporarily until you are back on your feet. Federal Student Aid website. 

The MCCD Financial Aid Staff is committed to default management. Several activities occur regularly to maintain a reasonable default rate and to assist student borrowers in obtaining deferments and properly repaying their loans.

Any student who has already borrowed $16,000 from any educational loan programs and submits a request for a Direct Loan may contacted by the Financial Aid Office explaining the concern about the student’s level of indebtedness.

Applications will be reviewed by the Financial Aid Specialist/Supervisor along with the student’s financial aid file, academic record, and loan portfolio. If the designated staff chooses to exercise professional judgment and deny the loan, the student will be notified in writing of the decision and rationale for the decision. The decision is final.

Award  2023-2024 Maximum Award 
Federal Pell Grant  $7,395 
Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant  $800 
Cal Grant B


Student with Dependents/ Foster Youth  – $6,000 
Cal Grant C


Student with Dependents/Foster Youth  – $4,000 
Student Success Completion Grant
24+ Units 
Student Success Completion Grant
30+ Units 
Chafee Grant for Foster Youth  $5,000 
California College Promise Grant  Waives per unit enrollment fee 


2023-2024 Academic Year

If you are attending:

  • Fall 2023
  • Spring 2024
  • Summer 2024

You will need to complete the 2023-2024 FAFSA or Dream Act Application and use your 2021 taxes/income.

If you are attending:

  • Fall 2024
  • Spring 2025
  • Summer 2025

You will need to complete the 2024-2025 FAFSA or Dream Act Application and use your 2022 taxes/income.