Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE)


Applying for WUE at UC Merced 

It takes three steps to apply for the WUE program at UC Merced:

  1. Check to see if you qualify for the WUE program.
  2. Submit a University of California application by November 30.
  3. Check your email. WUE notifications will be sent to qualified admitted applicants in late March. 
  4. Submit your WUE application by April 22, 2018 (First Year) May 22, 2018 (Transfers).

What is WUE?

WUE is the Western Undergraduate Exchange program with the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). Through WUE, students in western states can enroll in participating two-year and four-year college institutions at a reduced tuition level: 150 percent of UC Merced's regular resident tuition. Students from all WICHE member states are eligible to request the WUE tuition discount. WICHE member states are Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. WUE students pay substantially less than a traditional non-resident student and can save approximately almost $17,000 over the first year.

1. Am I eligible to participate in WUE?

You must meet the following criteria to be considered for the WUE tuition savings program:

  • Be a new incoming freshman or transfer student enrolling in the university for the first time.
  • Be a legal resident of one of the following WICHE states: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, Guam or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
  • Submit your University of California application and be admitted for the fall 2017 semester.
  • Maintain full-time enrollment (at least 12 units) each semester and remain in good academic standing at UC Merced.
  • Meet the academic eligibility requirements for your intended major.
  • Declare your intent to maintain your legal domicile in your home WICHE state at the time of your application.
  • Request the WUE tuition rate before you enroll in courses and pay tuition fees at UC Merced.
  • Complete and submit the fall 2017 WUE application (after offer of admission).

Please note:

  • Students cannot apply time accrued while participating in the WUE program to establish California residency.
  • Students pursuing a second bachelor's degree or graduate degree are not eligible to participate in the WUE program.


2. What are the academic requirements for my major?

You are required to be in good academic standing at your current institution, and meet and maintain the WUE GPA required for your major at the time you submit your WUE application until enrollment.

2017-2018 UC Merced WUE Academic Criteria

Anthropology, B.A.
Applied Mathematical Sciences, B.S.
Bioengineering, B.S.
Biological Sciences, B.S.
Chemical Sciences, B.S.
Cognitive Sciences, B.A./B.S.
Computer Science and Engineering, B.S.
Earth System Sciences, B.S.
Economics, B.A.
English, B.A.
Environmental Engineering, B.S.
History, B.A.
Management, B.S.
Material Science and Engineering, B.S.
Mechanical Engineering, B.S.
Physics, B.S.
Political Science, B.A.
Psychology, B.A.
Public Health, B.A.
Sociology, B.A.
Spanish, B.A.


3. How can I apply?

Step 1: Submit the University of California application by November 30.

Step 2: Complete and submit the WUE fall 2017 application.

4. When will I be notified if I'm selected for the WUE program?

Fall 2018 applicants will be notified by email no later than April 30, 2018.

5. WUE Savings

Listed below is the 2017-2018 estimated annual cost of attendance for undergraduate non-residents and WUE tuition savings recipients living on-campus.


Undergraduate non-resident

Undergraduate WUE tuition savings recipient


$ 12,630

$ 18,945 (150% of resident Tuition)

Campus Fees**

$ 968

$ 968

Non-Resident Tuition

$ 28,014

$ 0

Health Insurance

$ 2,177

$ 2,177

Living Expenses (On-campus housing & food)

$ 16,790

$ 16,790

Books & Supplies

$ 1,109

$ 1,109

Personal Expenses

$ 1,616

$ 1,616


$ 441

$ 441


$ 63,745

$ 42,046

** The tuition and fees posted here are estimates based on currently approved amounts. These figures may not be final. Actual tuition, fees, and charges are subject to change by the Regents of the University of California and could be affected by increases or reductions in State funding, or other developments. Accordingly, final approved levels (and thus a student's final balance due) may differ from the amounts shown. The tuition and fees amount listed above includes $11,502 tuition, $1128 student services fee, and $968 campus-based fees. 


6. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

Q. Are out-of-state student held to a higher academic standard than California residents?

Yes, the minimum GPA to the considered for admission for a California resident is 3.0, and the minimum non-resident GPA is 3.4.

Q. Do I need to reapply to participate in the WUE program each year?

No, the WUE tuition discount is good for four years for incoming freshman and two years for incoming transfers, or until you graduate, whichever comes first. You must maintain full-time enrollment (at least 12 units) each semester and remain in good standing with the institution.

Q: If I change my major, will I still be eligible to participate in the WUE program?

No. We have a limited number of spaces available for the WUE program, and each major has its own academic requirements. If you change your major you will no longer be eligible to participate in WUE and will be charged the full non-resident tuition.

Q: Are transfer students eligible to apply for the WUE program?

Yes, transfer students are eligible to apply for WUE.

Q: What if it takes me longer than four years to graduate from college?

Incoming freshman are only able to participate in the WUE tuition discount program for four years, and incoming transfer students for two years.

Q: What if I want to study abroad?

We encourage you to speak with our EAP coordinator to find out how studying abroad might affect your participation in WUE.

Q: Can a WUE student attend summer session prior to admission?

Yes. Summer fees are the same for all students; there is non-resident tuition fee in the summer. WUE students do not receive special pricing or grants during the summer.

Q: Does attending prior to their fall admission cut into a WUE student's “four years of eligibility” to receive the discounted rate?

No, the four years applies to the time of the scholarship, and since there is no scholarship in the summer, no time would elapse from a student's four years of WUE eligibility.