University of California extends commitment deadline for first-year students

Today (Feb. 7) the University of California announced that all nine of its undergraduate campuses will extend their Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) deadline for first-year undergraduate students to May 15. UC campuses have made this decision for students and their families impacted by the current delays to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In the case of UC Berkeley only, the new deadline does not yet apply to out-of-state and international first-year undergraduate students, as that campus needs more time to evaluate the situation.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education announced that higher education institutions will not begin receiving students’ financial aid information from the FAFSA until mid-March. The delay follows major changes by the U.S. Department of Education to simplify the FAFSA.

“As a public university, our mission is to keep a world-class education within reach of talented students from a broad range of backgrounds and lived experiences,” said Han Mi Yoon-Wu, associate vice provost for Undergraduate Admissions at the UC Office of the President. “By extending the decision window, we aim to ensure California students, particularly those from low-income and first-generation backgrounds, have the time and space to fully assess their options and, ultimately, unlock college opportunities they might not have thought possible.”

The May 15 extension is predicated on the current FAFSA schedule announced Tuesday, January 30, by the U.S. Department of Education. If there are new developments or additional delays, the University will reassess its plans, make changes as necessary based on the circumstances, and communicate changes to prospective students and families.

To ensure students and families have the information they need to make informed decisions about their higher education plans, UC campuses plan to provide financial aid offers to admitted first-year students starting in mid-April. This extension will provide students time to review a complete financial aid package and make a confident decision on or before May 15.

A May 15 commitment deadline for first-year students will allow UC campuses to admit additional students promptly through the waitlist process if needed and not prolong the uncertainty of waitlisted students any longer than necessary. This date will also ensure that students have ample time to secure housing, visit campuses, and prepare for a successful college transition in the fall.

“The University wants to reassure students and their families that despite any FAFSA delays, we remain committed to helping them successfully navigate the financial aid process and access the state, federal and University resources they are entitled to,” said Shawn Brick, executive director of Student Financial Support at the UC Office of the President. UC has a strong track record of making higher education affordable for students, whatever their circumstances, through the State’s Cal Grant and Middle Class Scholarship programs, as well as the University's own need-based grant program. Together, these funding sources mean that more than half of UC’s California undergraduates pay no tuition, and 70 percent qualify for grants or scholarships, totaling an average of $18,000 per year.

Additional details about applying to the University of California and accessing financial aid can be found on our admissions website.