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Financial Aid Eligibility

UC Education Abroad Program, UC Summer Abroad, and International Opportunities Programs study abroad options have different concerns that affect financial aid eligibility.

UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP)

For summer options students must submit an application for summer financial aid online.

The Office of International Affairs will automatically notify the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships of your UCEAP participation.

UC Merced students are eligible for financial aid while on EAP for the semester or year, but must choose a semester option (not quarter) during the school year. For summer programs students are required to enrolled in at least 9.0 quarter units (equivalent to 6.0 semester units).

UC Summer Abroad (UCSA)

Students must submit an application for summer financial aid online.

Students must enroll in a minimum of 6.0 semester units or 9.0 quarter units to be eligible for financial aid. Most UC campuses are on the quarter system and many programs offer only 8.0 quarter units by default. If the program offers fewer than 6.0 semester units or 9.0 quarter units, these are the most common solutions to make students eligible for summer aid in order or how frequently the option is used:

  1. Most programs tend to offer an option to add additional units in independent study with a professor(s) teaching the main course(s). Students would need to contact either the UC Summer Abroad office on the campus administering the program or the professor(s) teaching the main course(s). This may increase the program cost.
  2. Students may take additional courses at UC Merced prior to the program abroad or after its conclusion to bring their summer unit total to the equivalent of 6.0 semester units or 9.0 quarter units. In this case, students may have to wait until the second program or set of courses begins before their aid is disbursed. The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship as well as the Office of International Affairs can answer detailed questions on combining programs at UC Merced and abroad to reach financial aid eligibility.
  3. Students may take additional courses at another campus such as another University of California campus or potentially outside of the UC system to bring their summer unit total to full time as is described in option two above.

International Opportunities Programs (IOP)

Students must complete and submit the IOP Financial Aid Form along with the required IOP Leave paperwork for a program through the MyStudyAbroad Portal. Students must be enrolled full-time and receive transcripts from a recognized (accredited) institution for coursework taken. Students and the IOP provider must file an individual Consortium Agreement with the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. In order for students to be able to receive financial aid, they must receive official transcripts from a U.S. or foreign university that is permitted to issue federal student aid.

For summer options students must submit an application for summer financial aid online.

Students who meet requirements to receive financial aid for IOP are eligible to receive federal and state financial aid; they may not receive Bobcat Grant or Regents Scholarship funds.

Study Abroad Programs Ineligible for Financial Aid

Study abroad programs may be ineligible for financial aid for a few reasons. Often these can be mitigated, but students should be prepared to make alternative arrangements, choose alternative options, or participate without financial aid.

Program Length

Some study abroad programs, particularly quarter-length programs, are not long enough to qualify for federal, state, and some institutional financial aid transferability for students coming from semester campuses like UC Merced. Programs typically need to last a minimum of 15 weeks to be eligible for financial aid. Quarter-length programs often fall in an 8- to 12-week range and are, therefore, ineligible. Students would not be barred from participation, but they would do so without full financial aid eligibility.

Program Units

Some study abroad programs do not offer sufficient units to be considered a full-time student for financial aid purposes. Programs need to offer 12.0 semester units or 18.0 quarter units of non-duplicative, UC-eligible coursework for semester-length programs, 6.0 semester units or 9.0 quarter units for summer-length programs, and 24.0 semester units or 36.0 quarter units for yearlong programs. Here are examples of when students may run into eligibility concerns based on units:

  1. The program is actually a quarter-length program during the fall or spring and does not offer sufficient units. Resolution: case-by-case.
  2. The program is a UC Summer Abroad program offered by one of UC Merced's sister UC campuses on the quarter system and only offers 8.0 quarter units for the summer. Resolution: inquire with the administering campus (e.g. UC Davis) to ask for an extra 1.0-quarter unit course to reach 9.0 quarter units for eligibility.
  3. The program is an International Opportunities Program with set coursework that duplicates coursework students have already completed either at UC Merced or another institution, and, because students cannot get duplicate credit, when those units are deducted from the term, the student's courseload of transferable work falls below 12.0 semester units of transferable coursework. Resolution: seek alternative coursework to duplicative course(s).
  4. The program is an International Opportunities Program with an academic internship, volunteer-for-credit, or research-for-credit, and without the experiential learning course the courseload would fall below 8.0 or 12.0 semester units of transferable coursework. Resolution: because UC Merced will typically only allow for 4.0 units of transfer experiential learning credit, inquire about taking a minimum of 8.0 semester units of traditional academic coursework.

Program Content

UC Merced has limits on the number of units it will allow to transfer from experiential learning such as internships for credit, research for credit, volunteering for credit, etc. Some programs are exclusively an academic internship. While UC coursework from UCEAP and UC Summer Abroad opportunities will not have this transferability requirement, International Opoprtunities Programs will typically be limited to 4.0 semester units for transfer.