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Fall 2021 Housing

Click Here for Move-In Information

Updated Aug. 18, 2021

UC Merced housing applications opened to all students Monday, March 1, 2021. After working with state officials and others, we are now permitted to open substantially more campus residency opportunities for undergraduate students. We believe we can accommodate on campus the great majority of students who have been affected by recent disruptions to their housing plans.

Martin Reed, the assistant vice chancellor for residence education and campus life, and his staff will begin contacting students to offer campus residency, starting with those who had earlier applied to reside on campus. If you have questions, please contact and we will respond as quickly as we can.

We continue to pursue opportunities for temporary local housing for those students waiting for their rental spaces in the Merced area to become available. We are asking all students who have housing concerns to fill out this request form. Through this information, our campus will be able to determine the temporary housing accommodations or permanent accommodations for on-campus housing.

For off-campus housing resources please visit Questions may be sent to

UC Merced will delay the start of in-person instruction until Aug. 30. This delay in physical course attendance will allow time to situate our students into late housing assignments. Students living on campus will hear from housing related to their move in schedule. Students should check all their CatCourses course sites by Aug. 25 and take note of course activities and assignments.

The University issued an executive directive on COVID-19 mitigation measures in July 2021. To read the latest updates, including the full directive, please click here.

Incoming first-year students are required to live on campus for two years. More information on the two-year requirement is available here. Incoming first-year students who live within 45 miles of the UC Merced campus and choose to live with a parent/guardian must apply for a housing exemption request. Please click here for more information on housing exemptions.

First-year students must submit their application or submit a residency exemption through the Housing Portal as soon as possible. Please note: If students make changes to their housing, their financial aid award could be affected. Students who do not complete the residency exemption request will be given a housing placement/assignment, and the housing and meal plan cost for fall 2021 will be posted on their student account by July 28, 2021. Additional billing dates are Dec. 29, 2021 and April 27, 2022.

Students who would like to participate in roommate selection and did not submit the housing preference form/application by June 25 are encouraged to submit the form as soon as possible. The roommate selection process is scheduled to begin in mid July, with housing assignments and move-in details being sent to students by the first week of August.

Have questions about your housing application? Please contact

Application Process

Step 1: Gathering infomation

A. Learn more about housing options and check out floor plan and building info here. 

B. If you would like to request a housing accommodation, please click here for more information. The priority deadline for housing accommodation is Tuesday, June 1, 2021 by 11:59 p.m.

C. Please click here to see housing/room and meal plan rates for fall 2021.

Step 2: How to Apply for Housing and Request for Housing Exemption (for first year and second year students)

Students apply through the Housing Portal.

The Housing Portal is also where students can -

* request for housing exemption (first and second year students) by June 1,

* cancel housing contract,

* sign up for meal plan. 

Please click here for a step-by-step tutorial for an academic-year housing application.

For a step-by-step tutorial on applying for a year-round housing contract, please click here.

Housing cancellation fees apply according to the following timeline. The cancellation/liquidated damages charge is not subject for appeal.

  • $0 if the cancellation is received before June 1, 2021
  • $200 if the cancellation is eceived between June 2 (June 4 for non first year students) and Aug. 1, 2021
  • $300 if a housing cancellation is not received  or is received after Aug. 1, 2021.

Once housing application is submitted, student gets an email in their UC Merced email that housing application is submitted.

Step 3: Housing Offers and How to sign Housing Contract

Please check your UC Merced email regularly, you will receive an email to sign your housing contract, generally with 5 business days. The email will have direction on how to sign contract, including meal plan selection. You must sign your housing contract by the dealine.

Step 4: Housing contract signed confirmation and Housing Assignment

A. Once you signed your contract, you will received an email that your contract is signed. Please read UC Merced email regularly for updates on roommate selection, room assignment, and move in details.

Housing Assignment

Students will be housed in:

  • North campus residence halls - Cathedral and Tenaya, Half Dome, Mariposa and Tuolumne, Kern and Tulare in Valley Terraces.
  • South campus residence halls - El Portal, Glacier Point, Granite Pass and Sentinel Rock.

Please learn more about these residence halls here.

Students will not be able to choose specific rooms or buildings. At this time, we do not know if we can assign students to triples and quads. Assignments of triples and quads it will depend on COVID-19 mitigation requirements.

Roommate selection process is expected to take place in July, with housing assignments and move-in details being sent to students by July 28. All room assignments are final.

Meal Plans

UC Merced requires all residents to purchase a meal plan to ensure they have access to proper nutrition. All UC Merced meal plans provide unlimited access to the on-campus dining centers, as well as additional benefits. Please learn more about UC Merced meal plans by visiting the UC Merced Dining Services website.

Students can sign up for and make changes to a meal plan through the Housing Portal.

Students can change their meal plan by 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. Changes to a meal plan will result in changes in total meal plan billing to your student account.  Please contact with questions. Meal plans begin Saturday, Aug. 21.


Your CatCard is your key to UC Merced campus services. It provides access to your residence hall, dining hall, library, gym, and other services. Each student living on campus must have a CatCard.  

Please visit the CatCard's webpage to submit your photo as soon as possible to make sure your CatCard is ready in time for move in. If you have any problems with this service, please email  

New and replacement CatCards ordered online can be picked up on campus at housing move in. For more information, please visit

Continuing students who have lost their CatCard and need a replacement should visit and follow the instructions to replace their card.  

Before Moving In

COVID-19 Mitigation Measures

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for anyone who learns, lives or works on campus. Please click here for more information. To read the full Executive Directive on UC Merced COVID-19 Mitigation Measures, please click here.

People are generally considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine. Students can use this 1-question survey to receive an email with specific next steps based on their vaccination status.

Aug. 4 is the last day for most students to get a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or a first dose of J&J vaccine and be able to move in on Aug. 18. Athletes or other students moving in prior to Aug. 18 should make plans that allow them to be fully vaccinated by their move-in date. Eligible exemptions and accommodations include medical or sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance and require submission for validation. More information on exemptions may be found here.

All  students who have provided proof of full vaccination are not required to wear face coverings on UC Merced controlled property except on public transit, indoors in childcare settings, in health office settings, indoors for gatherings of 50 or more people, indoors for instructional activities or otherwise specifically indicated.

All students who are not fully vaccinated on UC Merced controlled property must wear a face covering when indoors and not in an enclosed private space; showering, washing their face or brushing their teeth in a residence hall or other common bathroom or eating or drinking and more than six feet from other individuals. All those who are not fully vaccinated on UC Merced controlled property are recommended to wear a face covering when outdoors if six feet of physical distance between people cannot be maintained. Unvaccinated individuals will also be required to participate in additional routine COVID-19 testing.

All students are required to respond to the Daily Health Monitoring email daily to either attest no symptoms or to report that they are experiencing symptoms, have a close COVID-19 contact or are COVID-19 positive. Any individual that is experiencing symptoms, has a close COVID-19 contact or is COVID-19 positive is prohibited from accessing UC Merced controlled property.  Students may visit Student Health Services as an exemption to the above prohibition of campus access. All  students are required to report COVID symptoms, COVID positive test results or possible COVID exposures to UC Merced’s COVID Response Center (CRC).

Check out UC Newsroom's The COVID-19 Vaccine was Developed Super Quickly. Here's Why It's Safe.To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines, hear from our campus medical experts.

The details below related to COVID-19 symptom monitoring, COVID-19 testing and sequestration may change. As as we learn additional details, we will update students here.

Symptom Monitoring  

In preparation for your arrival to campus, all residents are expected to participate in the daily health check in for 14 days prior to your assigned move-in date. Your assigned move in date and time will be sent to you by the first week of August 2021.

If you signed the housing contract late, or have circumstances that would prevent you from submitting the daily health check in for 14 days prior to arrival, please complete an attestation form.

In addition, you must continue to respond to the daily health check in sent to your UC Merced email address while living on campus. This can also be completed using an app. More information on daily health check in can be found here. Another reminder is about your CatCard, if you do not have a CatCard, please email or visit to make sure they have a CatCard ready for you when you check in. 

If you were exposed to someone (meaning being within 6 feet of them for more than 15 minutes or sharing a bathroom and/or kitchen with them) who tested COVID-19 positive within the last 14 days or you have been diagnosed as COVID-19 positive within the last 10 days, stay home and contact the COVID Response Center at or 209-228-0000.  

You will receive more detailed emails with instructions about daily health check in. These emails will include information about how to use the UC Merced daily mail check in. To be approved to return to campus, you must enter one response each calendar day for 14 days prior to your assigned move-in date. Please read and follow the instructions in the emails about symptom monitoring.   

COVID Testing  

All residents are required to attend COVID testing in the California Room upon their arrival to campus. Testing is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the California Room and students need to make an appointment online. If your exact arrival time isn’t available for an appointment, make an appointment for date and time closest to your arrival date and time.  

The testing administered will be saliva testing. Students should not vape, smoke, chew, eat, drink or put things into their mouth for 30 minutes prior to their test.  


Sequestering means minimizing in-person interactions among students, faculty and staff, whether in the dorms, dining facilities, classrooms or other campus locations where students congregate. It also includes off-campus spaces for those students who live at home or in off-campus housing.  

Students should leave their on- or off-campus residences only to participate in essential activities. For UC Merced, essential activities are defined as getting food from the dining hall, participating in low-risk outdoor recreational activities, obtaining health care services, picking up mail and picking up books. Students should plan to stay on campus during sequestration and should move in prepared with all items needed for the first 14 days on campus.  

The daily health screening must take place each day for 14 days prior to your arrival. Please set a reminder on your phone or write yourself a note. If you have questions or concerns, or if something is not working, please contact or call 209-228-0000. 

Moving In

Move-in for new students who are living in on-campus residence halls will take place between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 18 and Sunday, Aug. 29. Students will be assigned a specific move-in day and time via their UC Merced email by the first week of August.

Please move in at this assigned date and time or contact if the assigned move-in date or time not possible for you. Please understand that a change may take some time to figure out based on other students’ move-in dates and times.

Move in for residents of El Portal, Sentinel Rock, Glacier Point and Granite Pass has been delayed by one week. Additional time is needed to add beds into these rooms, and it’s more efficient for all involved to have the fewest number of residents in the buildings while the installation takes place. Those students assigned to those residence halls should should not move in on their previously assigned date between Aug.19 and 22. A new move-in date has been assigned. Exceptions for those students to arrive Aug. 19-22 will be made for move-in volunteers and student employees with approved early arrival requests confirmed in writing from

Students assigned to south campus with an approved exception, not have to move in Aug. 19-22. All residents of south campus should expect a new move-in date between Thursday, Aug. 26 and Sunday, Aug. 29.

Everyone on campus is required to wear face coverings. For the latest information on COVID-19 mitigation measures, please click here. Families can accompany students to campus to help with unloading.

During fall move-in Merced tends to have temperature from 80 to 100 degrees. We want to make sure that families are aware of the hot temperature when making move-in plans.

More details on unloading and moving in will be posted here soon.

Move-in dining hours will also be available by clicking here.

Students interested in residential overnight parking may visit the UC Merced Transportation and Parking Services site to learn more. Overnight parking is available for permit holders in Bellevue Lot and in Scholar Lot - designated H Zone.

What to Bring

UC Merced Housing and Residence Education wants to help make your transition to college as smooth and comfortable as possible. To help ensure students have what they need in their residence hall and make it feel like home, we have put together a list of what to bring and what to leave at home.

Furniture for each student in an undergraduate room includes a desk (30” tall x 45” wide x 24” deep), three-position chair (32.5” tall x 20” wide x 22.5” deep), solid maple bed (36” tall x 83” long x 40” wide) and two solid maple stackable underbed storage units (16” tall x 31” wide x 24” deep). More information on the bed frame provided to residents is available here. The mattress provided to students measures 38 inches wide by 80 inches long by 8 inches deep. Triple and quad units have combinations of bunked and lofted beds.Tag boards are also included in each room.

Campus Policies

The housing handbook covers all the policies, rules and amenities for students living on campus. Please review this handbook and pay attention to interim policies related to COVID-19.

Additional Information

University Store

The University Store is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 21-22. Please check for updates. Online order pick up will be available at the Univeristy Store Annex Aug. 21 through Sept. 4.

If you have questions about textbooks and course materials, please contact store manager Jon Neeper at

Valley Terrace Center Residence Service Desk Hours

More details to be updated here soon.

Please direct question to the office at 209-228-4663 or the Housing Contact Form.

Students First Center – Admissions, Financial Aid and Registrar

The Students First Center is your one-stop shop for questions about admissions, financial aid, registration and billing. If you need help, please check our “Contact Us” page for current hours of operation and service options.

We are here to help!

Student Business Office

Emails and phone calls only. No in-person services. Closed on weekends. Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. General inquiries of the department can be made to

Academic Advising

The Bobcat Advising Center (BAC) is the academic advising home for all first-year students in every major.

Recreation Center

The recreation center will be closed until further notice. Recreation center operation is linked to Merced County’s health orders, as well as the orders from the state of California.

Please visit for most current information and updates.

UC Merced Police Department

For information about campus safety escorts or bike and electronics registration, please contact UC Merced Police Department at

OIT Service Desk

For questions related to technology/online courses, game console set up and VPN, please visit Also, please check out the Service Hub for all IT campus services and additional support offerings.

Mailing Address

Use the following format as your mailing address:

[Your Name]
[Building] [Room]
5400 N. Lake Rd.
Merced, CA 95340

You can pick up your mail at the Valley Residence Education Office.

Download the complete instructions for using smart lockers via Smiota PoDS.


For updates and services, please go to the library FAQ at

No Longer Living on Campus?

If you no longer need on-campus housing, please cancel your housing contract. You may submit your cancellation on the Housing Portal under "Housing Cancellation."

Housing cancellation fees apply according to the following timeline. The cancellation/liquidated damages charge is not subject for appeal.

  • $0 if the cancellation is received before June 1, 2021
  • $200 if the cancellation is eceived between June 1 (Jun 4 for non incoming first year) and Aug. 1, 2021 
  • $300 if a housing cancellation is not received or is received after Aug. 1, 2021.