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California Veterans Fee Waiver

Rufus planting a flagGeneral Overview

The California College Fee Waiver for Veteran Dependent waives mandatory system-wide tuition and fees at any California Community College, a California State University, or a University of California campus.  

Basic Eligibility


  • Have a parent who is a disabled veteran (zero percent or more disabled); or
  • Have a spouse or domestic partner who is service-connected (S/C) deceased or rated 100 percent S/C disabled.
  • Be a child earning less than $14,097 per year (student’s income, not parents’). Note: There is no income limit for a spouse, domestic partner or children of S/C deceased or 100 percent S/C veterans.
  • Attend a California Community College, California State University, or a University of California school.
  • Must meet California residency requirements as per the schools requirements.
  • Provide proof of the student's relationship to the veteran, such as a copy of a birth, marriage or domestic partnership certificate.

How to Apply

  • California veterans and dependents should contact their local County Veteran Affairs office to ascertain information regarding application procedures (pdf) and other related services. Once approved, the local county Veteran Affairs office will send an award code letter to the student. 
  • Submit award code letter you receive from the County VA Office to UC Merced's Veteran Certifying Official at  It is recommended that you apply for benefits and submit your award letter in a timely manner to have your fees waived before the initial fee payment deadline.


The California Veterans Fee Waiver ONLY covers tuition and student service fee.  This program does not cover:

  • Campus-based fees
  • Housing, books, parking or food
  • Health insurance costs
  • Non-resident supplemental tuition

The California Veteran Fee Waiver is only valid for the academic year stated on the approval letter. An academic year goes from Fall semester through the following Summer semester. For example, an approved letter for the 2023-2024 academic year will cover Fall 2023, Spring 2024 and Summer 2024. The student needs to re-apply each academic year through their local county Veterans Affairs office in order to maintain entitement and it is the responsibility of the student to provide evidence of eligibility for benefits each academic year.

 *Students whose parents are rated less than 100 percent by the Department of Veteran Affairs or who are also receiving Chapter 35 educational benefits, must turn in their previous years tax return or a letter from the Internal Revenue Service stating they were not required to file federal income taxes.

**Please be aware that the Financial Aid Office will coordinate your Cal Vet Fee Waiver with any other financial aid offered to ensure there are no conflicts with aid specifically designated to cover tuition and fees (e.g., Cal Grant) or impacts other need-based aid (e.g., Bobcat Grant). If you have already been awarded another tuition and fee-paying award your Cal Vet Fee Waiver will not be applied to your billing account. If you have questions, please contact our Students First Center by calling (209) 228-7178 or online at