Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.07
Liaison Mark Maxwell
Submission Date Feb. 25, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of California, Merced
PA-8: Affordability and Access

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.12 / 4.00 Heather Nardello
Associate Director of Financial Aid
Financial Aid
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have policies and programs in place to make it accessible and affordable to low-income students?:
Yes

A brief description of any policies and programs to minimize the cost of attendance for low-income students:

The UC Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan covers tuition and student services fees for California residents whose family earns less than $80,000 a year and who qualify for financial aid.

Golden Bobcat Grants and Scholarships are available for eligible undergraduate students with funding provided by the Regents of the University of California and the State of California. Award amounts are determined based on family income and financial need.

Middle Class Scholarship is a program for students with family incomes up to $100,000 and household assets of no more than $150,000: The MCS will cover 40 percent of system-wide tuition and fees or for students with family incomes up to $150,000 per year (based on a sliding scale) and household assets of no more than $150,000: The MCS will cover between 10 percent and 40 percent of system-wide tuition and fees.


A brief description of any programs to equip the institution’s faculty and staff to better serve students from low-income backgrounds:

UCM’s Center for Research on Teaching Excellence (CRTE) and Merritt Writing Program sponsor a working group called the Freshman Year Experience Faculty. We focus on developing and providing professional development support to instructors teaching lower-division courses. Our group focuses on the needs of our diverse demographic, including low-income factors. fyefaculty.ucmerced.edu


A brief description of any programs to prepare students from low-income backgrounds for higher education:

UC Merced participates in the UC Scholars EAOP Program which provides students with ongoing academic advising to ensure they successfully complete the required college preparatory courses. UC Scholars EAOP students and their families receive the necessary information and motivation to prepare for a post-secondary education, including assistance in the application and financial aid processes. The program serves 2,156 first-generation, low-income students throughout the Central Valley. These students are identified by school personnel at each UC Scholars EAOP partner school.


A brief description of the institution's scholarships for low-income students:

The UC Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan covers educational and student services fees for California residents whose family earns less than $80,000 a year and who qualify for financial aid.

Golden Bobcat Grants and Scholarships are available for eligible undergraduate students with funding provided by the Regents of the University of California and the State of California. Award amounts are determined based on family income and financial need.


A brief description of any programs to guide parents of low-income students through the higher education experience:

UCM’s Parent Empowerment Program (PEP) was established in 2004 through a grant from the California Student Aid Commission and EdFund. The program involves parental interventions based on an eight-session curriculum focusing on higher-education matters. Since 2004, the Parent Empowerment Program has served 7,016 parents at 57 schools. As part of this curriculum, 3,614 parents have also participated in campus visits to 23 unique colleges/universities. These interventions serve families who do not fully support their students’ desires to enroll at a post-secondary institution because of deeply rooted cultural values.


A brief description of any targeted outreach to recruit students from low-income backgrounds:

The Center for Educational Partnerships houses all Student Academic Preparation and Educational Partnerships (SAPEP) activities, including the UC Scholars EAOP Program, the Parent Empowerment Program (PEP), the Data Analysis and Evaluation Program, the Transfer Scholars Program (TSP), the UC/FUSD Partnership Program, the Talent Search Programs (TS), the Upward Bound Programs (UB), and the Equity and Access Partnership.

The Center for Educational Partnerships was established to effect long-range improvement in the education of Central San Joaquin Valley students and ultimately increase the number of area students eligible to attend institutions of higher education. Since inception the Center for Educational Partnerships has served 13,616 students and of those students served 8,927 are low income students from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds that have the potential to succeed in higher education. These programs provides academic, career and financial counseling to its participants and encourages them to graduate from high school and continue on to the post-secondary school of their choice.


A brief description of other admissions policies or programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students:

UCM’s Center for Educational Partnerships coordinates the Transfer Scholars Program which seeks to empower high school students who are community-college bound on aspects related to transferring from a community college to a four-year college/university. The program works with students while they are in high school by separating community college and four-year college/university bound students soon after the traditional Nov. 30 application deadline for most colleges and universities. Each student participant receives an electronic Individual Academic Plan (IAP) highlighting community college courses that must be completed in order to transfer to a four-year college/university. Activities such as campus visits and workshops are also offered through this program.


A brief description of other financial aid policies or programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students:

The University of California, Merced administers a large number of scholarship funds designed to benefit undergraduate students. These scholarships are provided through the generosity of UC alumni; friends of UC Merced; corporations, businesses, professional associations; and the University itself. All new students must have at least a 3.25 GPA and all continuing students must have at least a 3.0 GPA to be considered for scholarships.


A brief description of other policies and programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students not covered above:

The P-20 Regional Alliance Program was established in 2003. The program partners with intersegmental entities to address issues affecting student achievement on a regional, rather than school, level. This work encompasses the counties of Tulare, Kings, Fresno, Madera, Merced and Stanislaus (counties near UC Merced that have traditionally had lower than average college-going rates compared to the rest of the state of California. As one of the lead agencies bringing together P-20 partners to establish regional alliances, UC Merced was instrumental in receiving commitment from the newly formed Alliance for Regional Alliances to Heighten Educational Success (ARCHES) to hold the first Central Valley P-16 Conference.


Does the institution have policies and programs in place to support non-traditional students?:
Yes

A brief description of any scholarships provided specifically for part-time students:
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A brief description of any onsite child care facilities, partnerships with local facilities, and/or subsidies or financial support to help meet the child care needs of students:

UC Merced has an onsite licensed accredited child care facility serving children 6 weeks – 5 years. The Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC) has a capacity of 16 infants, 24 toddlers and 40 preschoolers. Priority for enrollment is for all UC Merced affiliations. Students (up to BA+24 units) who income qualify can apply for ACCESS (Merced County Child Care Subsidy), which will pay for their child care as long as meet their criteria. All students receive substantial discounted services, not income dependent. This discount is supported by the ECEC Student Fee that all UC Merced students pay during the fall and spring semesters.


A brief description of other policies and programs to support non-traditional students:

Degree Attainment for Returning and Transfer Students (DARTS) comprises four main activities, for populations among University of California-Merced that show low rates of campus engagement, retention, and degree completion in a timely manner:

· DARTS Institute, which includes year-round, intrusive interventions including personalized career coaching especially for non-traditional students, training to understand how to avoid plagiarism in the research university environment, leadership training, a free textbook lending library, skills workshops based on student-generated needs assessments.
· Exclusive DARTS sections of Undergraduate Studies 010 College Success Course, previously restricted to freshmen only. This creates an experience of being a majority population, for individuals who are of an extreme minority campus-wide.
· On-demand tutoring, to facilitate scheduling for non-traditional students with complicated schedules.
· Community-building opportunities toward benefiting from a network of peer support.

Use of software for the tracking of student activity within the program, and for dissemination of student issues or needs to the proper constituencies, also is central to this program.

The key outcomes of the DARTS program include incrementally increased rates of three-year degree completion for returning and transfer students, increased rates of three-year retention for the target populations, improved rates of returning (formerly dismissed) students completing their first term back in Good Academic Standing, heightened campus engagement compared to historical rates of transfer student involvement on campus, particularly with support services. This program is founded upon theories of student engagement, that correlate level of involvement with level of success


Does the institution wish to pursue Part 2 of this credit (accessibility and affordability indicators)?:
Yes

Indicators that the institution is accessible and affordable to low-income students::
Percentage (0-100)
The percentage of entering students that are low-income 77
The graduation/success rate for low-income students 55.70
The percentage of student financial need met, on average 49
The percentage of students graduating with no interest-bearing student loan debt 30

The percentage of students that participate in or directly benefit from the institution’s policies and programs to support low-income and non-traditional students:
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The website URL where information about the institution's affordability and access programs is available:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.