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UC Merced International


Do I need a student visa (F1) to enroll in classes at UC Merced?

Yes. If a student is admitted to a full time degree program at UC Merced they must obtain an F-1 student visa. To apply for an F-1 visa, the student must be admitted to the campus and receive an I-20 document to present to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to apply for their visa.

Do I have to take the TOEFL and SAT tests?

Yes. UC Merced does require proof of proficiency in English for applicants whose native language is not English, and whose high school or college/university education was in a country where the language of instruction was not English.

We require a TOEFL score 550 or higher for the paper-based test or 220 or higher for the computer-based test, 83 or higher for the internet-based test and a minimum score of 7 for IELTS.

Can I work in the United States during my studies?

Yes. You may work up to 20 hours a week on-campus during the semester. Full-time employment (anything more than 20 hours per week) is permitted during semester breaks. No special authorization is required for students in valid F-1 status to work on campus.

However, off-campus employment requires special authorization and is not easy to obtain. Speak with an International Affairs advisor about your options.

Is there any financial aid available to International Students?

Unfortunately, international students do not qualify for U.S. federal/state financial aid. There are few links to outside agencies that provide financial aid to International Students in the UC Merced Financial Aid website. The Global Grant is available for undergraduate students. As noted in the FINANCES section above, students are required to have funding secured for at least their first year of study in the U.S. at the time of visa interview.

I am currently in the United States on an F-1 visa. What must I do to transfer to UC Merced?

If you are currently maintaining a valid F-1 status, you may transfer that status from your current institution to UC Merced. Complete the Transfer Verification Form available on the Office of International Affairs website so that your current school can transfer your SEVIS record to UC Merced. You may enroll in classes at UC Merced with visa issued under your previous institution's name, however, if you leave the United States you will have to apply for a new F-1 visa using your UC Merced issued I-20.

I am currently in the United States on another visa type, can I attend your institution?

Your visa type determines if you can register for classes without being in violation of your visa. It also determines the tuition rate you will be charged. If you require more information, contact the Office of International Affairs.

How much will it cost to attend UC Merced?

As an International Student, you will be required to register as a full-time student (minimum 12 credits for undegraduate students and 8 for grad students without TA or GSR credits). You will be charged out-of-state tuition, which is higher than the amount paid by California residents, and you cannot declare residency. Check the UC Merced Registrar's website or the Office of International Affairs website for a cost break down.

Can I leave the United States during school breaks?

Yes. If you plan to travel, contact the International Student & Scholar advisor to have your I-20 signed prior to leaving. Failure to have a recent signature might prevent you from re-entering the United States.