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Building Safe and Inclusive Learning Communities

Fall 2021 Housing


UC Merced housing applications open to all students Monday, March 1, 2021. We encourage all students to apply for housing as we hope to offer housing to as many students as possible as soon as we are allowed to do so. 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 by June 1, 2021. Please click here for more information on housing exemptions.

Application Process

Please check out floor plan and building info here.

Students apply through the Housing Portal. The Housing Portal is also where students can cancel their housing contract and change their meal plan. 

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

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.

Students will receive emails about possible housing offers on their UC Merced email. Students wishing to live on campus will need to sign their housing contracts  by Tuesday, June 1, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. Students who applied late should check their UC Merced email to review their housing offer status and sign a housing contract.

The deadline to sign a housing contract is Tuesday, June 1, 2021 by 11:59 p.m.

The deadline to submit a housing exemption is Tuesday, June 1, 2021 by 11:59 p.m.

The priority deadline for housing accommodation is Tuesday, June 1, 2021 by 11:59 p.m.

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.

If you would like to request a housing accommodation, please click here for more information.

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 June. Housing assignments will be sent out to students by the first week of August. 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 Pavilion Dining Center, 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.


CatCards are used to access residence halls and to get food and services on campus. Each student living on campus must have a CatCard.  

New students must submit a photo online. Photos can be submitted here. If you have any problems with this service, please email   

At move in, new students will pick up their CatCard at the check-in station. You’ll need to provide a form of picture ID to claim your CatCard.  

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

Before Moving In

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 is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021 and Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021. Move-in details will be posted soon. 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.

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.

Move-in dining hours:   

Saturday, Aug. 21 – Hours TBD

Sunday, Aug.22 – Hours TBD

Monday, Aug. 23 onward – Hours TBD

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

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.

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. 

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 will be open the following dates and times to assist students with questions related to admissions, financial aid, registration and billing:

In person: This service is currently not available. Please continue to check the website for updates.

Phone: 209-228-7178

Hours: Monday through Thursday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Chat Hours: Monday through Thursday: 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1-4:30 p.m.

Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1-3 p.m.

Virtual Zoom Appointments

Hours: Monday through Thursday: 4-5 p.m.

Weekends and holidays: Closed.

Please visit for updates, contact information and potential changes related to COVID-19 health and safety needs.

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

IT Help Desk

For questions related to technology/online courses, game console set up and VPN, please contact

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.