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Graduate Application Fee Waivers

The Graduate Division is happy to provide application fee waivers to eligible U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Application fee waivers are awarded based on financial need or eligible program participation.

How to Claim Your Fee Waiver

If you have received a fee waiver, it must be claimed within the graduate application. Follow these steps:

  1. Once your application is complete and ready to be submitted, access the Fee Waiver section using the application sidebar menu.
  2. Select the option relevant to you and upload your supporting documents.
  3. The final step is to SUBMIT your application. Your application fee waiver will not be processed until your application has been submitted. You will not be charged an application fee upon submission
  4. After submission, your fee waiver request is sent to our team for verification. If waiver eligibility cannot be verified, you will be contacted and asked to submit payment.

Additional processing instructions can be found here.

Eligibility Details

Special Programs or Conference Participation: If you have participated in any of the eligible programs or conferences listed here you may qualify for an application fee waiver. Proof of program participation will be required upon application submission.

Demonstrated Financial Need: Eligible U.S. citizens or permanent residents may qualify for a financial need-based fee waiver. Click here to submit a financial need-based waiver request. You must submit your request at least two business days prior to your program's application deadline. You will be required to upload one of the following income verification documents: 

1. University Financial Aid Verification: Students who have received financial aid from their current university should upload one of the following: 

  •  A statement of need from a financial aid officer at the college or university that you are currently attending. This statement must include your Estimated Student or Family Contribution* (EFC). *Must not exceed $3,096 (Updated each November). Your financial aid officer must sign and date the statement before you submit it to us. A photocopy or facsimile of signatures is not acceptable.
  • OR An official award letter for the current year. A university Student Aid Report (SAR) copy will NOT be accepted.


2. Household Income Verification: Household size is determined by the number of people you report or claim on your income tax forms for the previous year. If you are claimed as a dependent, your household size is determined by the total number of people claimed on that tax form. If you are independent and have no earned income, you must document how you supported yourself for the past year and why you do not have sufficient funds to pay the application fee. Upload:

  • Tax documents - A copy of your parent’s or guardian’s most recent federal income tax return, if you are listed as a dependent. If you are independent, please submit a copy of your most recent federal income tax return.

Applicant Family Size

Gross Income
1 $25,142
2 $33,874
3 $42,606
4 $51,338
5 or more $60,070
  • If your circumstances are unusual and you think that the information provided by the documents listed above will not accurately reflect your financial situation, you may also submit a detailed letter describing how the information provided in the supporting documents does not reflect your current economic, social, or educational situation.

International Applicants: Unfortunately, the Graduate Division is unable to provide fee waivers to international applicants. International applicants are encouraged to reach out to their program of application to determine if a fee waiver might be possible. Interested individuals are also encouraged to join our mailing list as many programs often host virtual information sessions that may provide a waiver to attendees.

Important Information

  • The application fee is non-refundable under any circumstances. Do not submit payment if you are requesting a fee waiver.
  • Applications will NOT be processed or reviewed until an application fee has been received or a fee waiver has been approved.
  • The UC Merced graduate application fee is $135 for domestic applicants and $155 for international applicants. 

Contact our team with questions: