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Building Safe and Inclusive Learning Communities

Two-Year Living On Campus Requirement

Please note: The residency requirement for first- and second-year students has been waived for academic year 2020-2021. There is no residency requirement for any student.


Starting in Fall 2019, all incoming first year students will be required to live on campus for two academic years.*

Benefits of Living On Campus:

» Convenient bill for room, meals, and all utilities except telephone
» Adjusted financial aid to accommodate on-campus rates
» Meals prepared for you! No grocery shopping, cooking or doing the dishes


» Feel more connected to the campus and Bobcat community
» Transition more easily from high school to college
» Stay enrolled and graduate at higher rates


» Better access to campus and community events
» Attend classes more frequently and consistently
» Have more opportunities for making lifelong friends


» Living learning communities - an enhanced living experience that integrates an academic field of study and living with similar-minded student scholars
» Have better access to academic resources


  • BBQ grills
  • Bicycle storage
  • Computer labs
  • Dance room
  • Game rooms
  • Internet access
  • Laundry rooms
  • Streaming movies
  • Study rooms
  • Joseph Edward Gallo Recreation and Wellness Center
  • Outdoor tennis court
  • Two new outdoor recreation fields
  • By fall 2020: Outdoor swimming pool



An enhanced living experience that integrates an academic field of study and living with similar-minded student scholars

  • Fiat Lux Scholars
  • Natural Sciences Learning Communities
  • Leadership and Service Learning Community
  • Social Justice Learning Community
  • Gender Inclusive Housing
  • Afro Hall
  • Sophomore Experience
  • Transfer Living Learning Community



The meal plan is mandatory because residence halls do not have kitchen facilities that allow all students to cook meals on a regular basis.

What meal plans are provided?

Each plan consists of meal swipes to be used for meal purchases at the Pavillion, as well as Cat Dollars to be used for meal purchases at retail locations.

Dining options:

Beyond our new, state-of-the-art, campus-operated food service dining facility, The Pavillion, UC Merced has retail locations operated by local third-party vendors throughout campus.

Learn more about meal plan options here.


First year students are not eligible to purchase on-campus parking permits; however, those who meet specific criteria can file a petition.

Ways to get around Merced:


What’s included in a housing contract?

  • Furnished room (extra-long twin bed, desk, chair, drawer and closet space)
  • High-speed Internet
  • TV streaming service
  • All utilities except telephone
  • Programs and activities

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).



Ensuring students’ safety and security and that of our community is the UC Merced Police Department’s top priority. Our highly trained officers, public safety dispatchers and Community Service Officers are here to serve students 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Emergency Blue Lights are direct lines to dispatch located around campus. In an emergency, anyone can use the blue lights to talk directly to dispatch to get assistance quickly or request a safety escort.

Online bike and electronics registration increases the chance that they will be recovered if stolen.

Some ways we distribute urgent emergency information:

  • Online: Alerts, bulletins and emails from the Police Department
  • Messages sent to your cell phone and/or email addresses using UCM Alert, UC Merced’s emergency notification system
  • Pop-up messages on your desktop computer or laptop via the Alertus notification system
  • Verbal announcements via the campus public announcement system

Students may request an exemption from the two-year residency requirement if they meet any of the following criteria. The Residency Exemption Form must be submitted (along with documentation) on the Housing Portal by June 1, 2020. Please note, if you make changes to your housing your financial aid award could be effected.

  • Student lives with parent(s) or legal guardian in the county of Merced, defined as a physical address within commutable distance (approx. 45 miles) of UC Merced’s campus.
  • Student has previously completed two (2) years of full-time college enrollment at an accredited institution of higher education (with at least 60 units, i.e., is an upper-division transfer).
  • Student turns 21 years of age on or before the first day of classes for the fall term of the academic year.
  • Student is an honorably discharged veteran.
  • Student is or becomes legally married (proof of legal marriage required); OR student is or becomes the biological parent or legal guardian of a dependent child.
  • Student participates in student teaching, academic internship, or a special University program that requires the student to be away from the UC Merced campus for the semester or major portion thereof.
  • Medical and disability circumstances (Exemption requests for this reason will be forwarded to the UC Merced Student Accessibility Services for review and approval).
  • Special circumstances that exist which would create a substantial personal hardship, that is exacerbated by living on campus and cannot be remedied. Documented verification of the special circumstance is required.

For questions or concerns please call 209-228-2293 or

How to submit a residency exemption: