FAQ About On-Campus Housing

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS About On-Campus Housing

Housing Overview

Who is eligible for on-campus housing?
Who is eligible for the housing guarantee? (Fall applications only)
What’s included in the contract price?
How much does it cost to live on campus?
Do I need to pay the whole contract amount at once?
May I move out in the middle of the year?
Can I park on campus?

The Application Process

How do I apply for Housing?
How are roommates assigned?
When will I find out about my room/roommate assignment?

The On-Campus Experience

Where will students live?
How does living on campus help me academically?
What will I gain from living on campus?
How safe is it to live on campus?
What should I bring with me?
Should I bring a computer?
What is the alcohol policy?
What if my roommate and I cannot get along?

Amenities and Services

How many people share a bathroom?
Where can I do laundry?
What kinds of housekeeping services are provided?
What appliances are permitted?
Is phone service provided by the university?
What meal plans are provided?
Are vegetarian/vegan dishes offered?


Who is eligible for on-campus housing? 

On campus housing is available to undergraduates who are fully matriculated.

Who is eligible for the housing guarantee? (Fall applications only)  

  • First-year and new transfer students who meet all SIR and housing application and payment deadlines. Housing is not guaranteed until a student receives a written “contract acceptance” notice from the Housing and Residence Life Office. Keep your notice as a record.
  • Regent Scholars are guaranteed four years of on-campus housing.

Housing guarantees apply for full academic year contracts only, student starting in the spring semester are not guaranteed for future years. 

All students who apply for on-campus housing MUST pay the $300 reservation fee and complete their housing application by their respective deadline before they can be guaranteed on-campus housing for the academic year.  All other students, including those applying after the deadline, will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis.

What’s included in the contract price?  

The contract price includes a furnished room (extra long twin bed, desk, chair, drawer and closet space), high speed internet, cable TV, all utilities except telephone, 24-hour staff (on-call for after hour emergencies), programs and activities.

How much does it cost to live on campus?  

The cost of living in the residence halls varies with the number of residents per room. Most students live in double and triple occupancy rooms, although a limited number of quadruple and single occupancy rooms are available. Rates can be found online in early March for the following summer and academic-year and in November for spring.

Rates and Room Types

The cost of a meal plan is not included in the rate. See question 21 for information to help you select your meal plan.

Do I need to pay the whole contract amount at once?  

No. Although the contract commitment is for a full academic year, you are billed by the semester. You have the option to pay the semester in full (about half the total contract amount) or you can apply for the Deferred Payment Plan (DPP).

How does living on campus help me academically?  

Not only are you steps away from the library and classrooms, but living among your peers provides you easy access to study buddies. There are many academic success workshops, such as note taking, study skills, test anxiety, time management and tutoring sessions hosted in housing. Residents are also encouraged to take advantage of the services offered through the Resident Learning Center, conveniently located on the first floor of Tenaya Hall. Residents seeking a more academically focused environment should apply to be a part of the Academic Excellence Community. All you need to do is participate and experience the benefits.

What will I gain from living on campus?  

Residents who become engaged in their community gain the most from living on campus. Besides the academic benefits, it is the easiest way to meet new people and make friends. Studies have proven that students who feel connected are the most successful. Living on campus makes that easy. Live on campus and get connected!

How safe is it to live on campus?  

Safety is enhanced when the residents utilize common sense and the features available throughout the housing complex. Each resident is issued a key to their room and access to enter the exterior door of their hall/suite. Residents are expected to lock their doors at all times and not loan their keys out to others. All housing facilities are also equipped with fire safety equipment such as sprinklers, alarms and extinguishers. Resident Assistants are on call when the office closes and work closely with the Residence Life Coordinator and UC Merced Department of Public Safety to respond to incidents.

How do I apply for Housing?  

The link to the Housing application will be available in early March for the full academic year, spring housing in November and summer housing applications are available in April. To apply for housing, go to the navigation bar on the left and select the housing you want to apply for. Newly admitted students must wait 24 hours after they submit and pay their Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) before applying for housing. A Housing Application/Contract is not considered complete until we receive your $300 reservation fee.

The quickest way to secure your place in housing is to pay your $300 reservation fee electronically using e-check or an acceptable debit or credit card. Housing will use the postmark on payments submitted through regular mail. Housing is not guaranteed until you receive a “Contract Acceptance” email from the Housing and Residence Life Office.

Reservation Fee

The Reservation Fee is applied to the total cost of Contract (room and board fees) and is due with the Contract submission.  The Reservation Fee is not a deposit.  If the University is unable to accept the Contract and provide a room due to space limitations, the Reservation Fee will be fully refunded.  Whether you decide to live off campus or will no longer be attending UC Merced, once you have submitted an on-line application, you will need to submit a written request to officially cancel your contract, read important information pertaining to cancellation of contract here.

How are roommates assigned?  

Students who received the “Contract Acceptance” notice from housing will be given a specified amount of time to first select their room/suitemate(s), and later select a room.

When will I find out about my room/roommate assignment?  

Information about room assignment and move-in instructions will be emailed to your UC Merced account and mailed to your permanent address about two weeks before move-in day. Summer assignments are available at summer move in.

What should I bring with me?  

A list of suggestions for What to Bring is available online and will also be sent with your room assignment prior to move in. Some of the more important things include bed linens (twin extra-long), blankets, pillow, desk clock, desk lamp, toiletries, waste basket, TV and internet cords, and clock.

Should I bring a computer?  

Most students do bring a computer to campus with them, although there are computers available for use in each housing community as well as other campus locations. A printer is also available in the Terrace Center and The Summits computer centers for a nominal fee. Just remember that as with all personal property, you are responsible for the security of your computer.

16. How many people share a bathroom?  

Private bathrooms in the Valley and Sierra Terraces suites are shared by four to six people and must be cleaned by the residents of the suite. Community restrooms in The Summits are shared by ten to fifteen students and are maintained in partnership with the custodial staff and assigned residents.

Where can I do laundry?  

Washers and dryers are located in the Terrace Center laundry room for use by residents in the Valley and Sierra Terraces. Building laundry rooms are available in both Tenaya and Cathedral Halls in The Summits. You have the option to add money onto your Cat Card Resident Laundry Account or a few coin operated machines are available. It is $1.25 to wash ($1.50 super cycle) and $1 to dry. The laundry room is open from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily. Residents in The Summits have access to their laundry rooms 24-hours a day.

What kinds of housekeeping services are provided?  

Housekeeping services are provided in the public areas of housing (Terrace Center, laundry facilities, hallways, lounges, etc). Residents are responsible for cleaning their private spaces including their bathrooms in the Valley and Sierra Terraces. Cleaning supplies and vacuums are provided by Housing Office and cleaning refills are available at any time.

What appliances are permitted?  

One Energy Star rated microfridge no larger than 4.2 cu. ft., or one Energy Star rated microwave oven and one Energy Star rated compact refrigerator not to exceed 4.2 cu. ft. Larger sizes will be rejected. For safety and sanitation reasons, the use of electrical cooking appliances is not permitted in Housing and Residence Life.

Is phone service provided by the university?  

No. Phone service is the responsibility of the resident, although most students use cell phones. One phone jack is provided in every bedroom and roommates are expected to share the line. Information regarding how to sign up for phone service will be available at move in.

What meal plans are provided?  

Housing residents must select one of three Dining Services meal plans. Each plan consists of Residential Dollars and Cat Dollars. Residential Dollars can be used for tax-exempt meal purchases at the Yablokoff-Wallace Dining Center. CAT Dollars can be used for purchases at Dining Service& 39;s other food service and retail units and can also be used at the Dining Center once Residential Dollars are exhausted. Residential Dollars and CAT Dollars operate on a declining balance system. Any remaining CAT Dollar balance rolls over from year to year and is refundable upon disassociation from the University. Check out our meal plan options.

Are vegetarian/vegan dishes offered?  

Yes, vegetarian and vegan options will be available at each meal. The chef also welcomes your favorite recipes. If it is well received, it may become a regular item on the menu.

What is the alcohol policy?  

The possession and use of alcohol is only permitted by those 21 or older in the privacy of their room/suite with no minors present. Minors may not be present when alcohol is open in the residence halls.

What if my roommate and I cannot get along?  

Most roommate pairings work out fine and roommate assignments are rarely changed. If disagreements do arise with your roommate, every effort should be made to resolve them constructively. If you are unable to resolve your conflict directly with your roommate, please seek the help of your Resident Assistant or the Housing and Residence Life Staff.

During the third week of each semester, students are welcome to change rooms. Keep an eye out for announcements about the room change process or stop by the Housing Office to inquire.

May I move out in the middle of the year?  

When a contract is signed, it is for the full-term of the contract academic-year or the summer term. Mid- term contract cancellations are extremely rare and are guaranteed only if a resident marries during the contract term (marriage license required) or disassociates from the University (withdraw). A resident must complete a Contract Cancellation Request supported by written documentation. Contracts & Policy details can be found in section 13 of the Student Housing and Residence Life Contract. Student Housing and Residence Life will consider written requests for cancellation if a resident can demonstrate compelling and/or unanticipated medical or financial hardship arising after the contract was submitted (documentation required). Examples of this level hardship may include a severe automobile accident, proven bankruptcy, or Chapter 11. Signing another lease is not grounds for contract cancellation. A liquidated damages/cancellation fee applies.

Can I park on campus?  

On-campus parking is managed by Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS).

Incoming first-year resident parking permits are available by exception ONLY. A limited amount of space is also available to continuing and new transfer students Resident Parking Applications and Information:
Please contact TAPS directly for all parking related questions: 209-228-8277, or by email: taps@ucmerced.edu