Current Students Applying for or Renewing Aid

If you are a current or returning student, the Financial Application period opens every October 1st , and goes through June 30th of the following year.

Priority processing and additional financial may be considered for students who apply by March 2nd.

For the 2024-2025 year, please see below for additional information.

The application period opened December 2023, with a priority deadline of May 2nd, 2024!

Steps to Renew your Financial Aid Application

Submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to the Department of Education online at Be sure to list the Merced College school code, 001237, on your FAFSA.  

Information for the DreamAct can be found here. Applications become available October 1st and apply by March 2nd. Merced College school code, 001237.

The Department of Education analyzes and summarizes the information you will provide on the FAFSA and creates your Student Aid Report (SAR). You will receive an email once your FAFSA has been successfully processed. 

Check your Merced College student email often. You will receive an email regarding your next steps to your Merced College student email account from the Financial Aid Office once your FAFSA information has been received 

Submit all required documents and keep checking your student email. You will receive a link to the verification system via email where additional documents need to be submitted. Login with your Merced College portal username and password.

Create Your Account
This is a one-time account creation. You will be asked for some basic information when creating your account. This information is used to validate your identity so that your electronic signature can be used on future forms.

Four Easy Steps:

  1. Go to
  2. Login with your Merced College Portal Username and Password
  3. Enter/confirm your student information
  4. Click ‘Register Account’ button

Once your account is created, any required tasks you need to complete will become available.

Once you submit all documentation, the Financial Aid Office will review your file and e-mail you upon completion.

2024-2025 Financial Aid

Big changes are coming to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application for the 2024-2025 aid year!

The FAFSA Simplification Act was passed by Congress in 2020 and represents a significant overhaul of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid. This includes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, the need analysis that determines federal aid eligibility, changes in terminology, and many policies and procedures for schools that participate in federal student aid programs.

2024-2025 Fafsa Faqs

2024-2025 FAFSA/CADAA is now Available!

Historically, the FAFSA has been available beginning October 1st each year. However, because of significant changes to the application and the rebuild of the FAFSA processing system, the 2024-25 FAFSA became available in December 2023 with a priority deadline of May 2nd, 2024.

There are a number of benefits of the FAFSA simplification act, including a more streamlined application process and a better user experience for the FAFSA, expanded eligibility for federal student aid, and reduced barriers for certain student populations (e.g., homeless and unaccompanied youth, incarcerated students, English language learners, and students from low-income backgrounds).

Some fundamental changes include, but are not limited to:

  • The FAFSA will be shorter and more user-friendly.

    The FAFSA will reduce the maximum number of questions from 108 to 46. And because the FAFSA on the Web is dynamic, some students won’t even be presented with all 46 questions. This streamlined format will simplify the application process and make it less daunting for students and their families.

  • Students may list up to 20 colleges.

    Previously, the FAFSA only allowed students to list up to 10 colleges and universities.

  • The FAFSA will be available in more languages.

    Currently, the FAFSA is only available in English and Spanish. The 2024-25 application will be expanded to include the 11 most common languages spoken by English learner students and their parents.

  • Applicants will be required to use the IRS Direct Data Exchange.

    Previously, users had the option to enter their tax information manually or use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Beginning with 2024-25, all persons on the FAFSA must provide consent for the Department of Education to receive tax information or confirmation of non-filing status directly from the IRS. In a very small number of cases, students and families will have to enter their tax data manually, but for most, that data will be automatically transferred into the application. This change makes it easier to complete the FAFSA and reduces the number of questions to be answered.

  • All “contributors” must provide financial information.

    A contributor—a new term being introduced on the 2024-25 FAFSA—refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student’s form (such as a parent/stepparent or spouse). A student’s or parent’s answers on the FAFSA will determine which contributors (if any) will be required to provide information.

    Contributors will receive an email informing them that they’ve been identified as such, and will need to log in using their own FSA ID (if they don’t already have one) to provide the required information on the student’s FAFSA.

    Being a contributor does not mean they are financially responsible for the student’s education costs, but it does mean the contributor must provide information on the FAFSA or the application will be incomplete and the student will not be eligible for federal student aid.

  • The Student Aid Index (SAI) is replacing Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

    A notable terminology update within the new FAFSA is the replacement of the term Expected Family Contribution (EFC) with the Student Aid Index (SAI). This name more accurately describes the number used to determine aid eligibility and, unlike the EFC, the SAI may be a negative number down to -1500.

  • The number in college will not be used to calculate SAI.

    Previously, the FAFSA calculated the number of household members attending college into the EFC, dividing it proportionately to determine federal aid eligibility. Beginning with the 2024-25 FAFSA, the application will still ask how many household members are in college, but your answer will not be calculated into the SAI. As such, undergraduate students with siblings in college may see a change in their federal aid eligibility.

  • Some students will automatically be awarded a Pell Grant.

    Families making less than 175% and single parents making less than 225% of the federal poverty level will see their students receive a maximum Federal Pell Grant award. Minimum Pell Grants will be guaranteed to students from households below 275%, 325%, 350%, or 400% of the poverty level, depending on household structure. Pell awards between the maximum and minimum amounts will be determined by SAI.

  • The parent responsible for submitting the FAFSA in cases of divorce or separation has changed.

    For dependent students, financial information was previously needed from the parent(s) the student had lived with the most in the last 12 months. With the new FAFSA, financial information will be required from the parent(s) who provided the most financial support to the student.

  • Family farms and small businesses must be reported as assets.

    When required, families must now report the value of their small business or family farm. If the family farm includes the principal place of residence, applicants should determine the total net value of all farm assets and subtract the net value of their principal residence to determine the final value of their farm assets.

When should I submit the 2024-25 FAFSA?

New students who plan to begin classes at Merced College in the fall of 2024 should complete the FAFSA or DreamAct as soon as possible. Students should complete the FAFSA or DreamAct by the May 2nd priority deadline.

These dates are subject to change.