Skip to content Skip to navigation

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE)

Map of Western United StatesWhat 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 Savings

WUE students pay substantially less than traditional nonresident students and can save approximately almost $21,000 over the first year.

Please refer to the UC Merced Campus Catalog for the most recent estimated cost of attendance. WUE participants will avoid the additional Nonresident Supplemental Tuition and instead pay 150% of tuition.**

** 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. 

Applying for WUE at UC Merced 

It takes four steps to apply for the WUE program at UC Merced:Beginnings Sculpture

  1. Check to see if you qualify for the WUE program.
  2. Submit a University of California application by November 30.
  3. Check your portal. You will be notified in your my.ucmerced.edu portal if you are selected for WUE. Admissions decisions are usually posted in early March. 
  4. Submit your Statement of Intent to Register (SIR). By submitting your SIR you have agreed that you are eligible to participate and will meet the conditions of the WUE program listed on your student portal.

Frequently Asked Questions About WUE

On this page:

  1. Do I qualify to participate in the WUE program?
  2. What are the academic requirements for my major?
  3. Are out-of-state student held to a higher academic standard than California residents?
  4. Do I need to reapply to participate in the WUE program each year?
  5. If I change my major, will I still be eligible to participate in the WUE program?
  6. Are transfer students eligible to apply for the WUE program?
  7. What if it takes me longer than four years to graduate from college?
  8. What if I want to study abroad?
  9. Can a WUE student attend summer session prior to admission?
  10. Does attending prior to their fall admission cut into a WUE student's “four years of eligibility” to receive the discounted rate?
  11. Can I apply for or begin in the spring term under WUE?

1. Do I qualify to participate in WUE?

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

  • Be a new incoming first year or junior transfer student enrolling in the university for the fall term.
    • At this time WUE is not available for spring applicants.
    • Sophomore and Senior level transfer students are not eligible for WUE.
  • 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.
  • Be admitted for the fall semester.
  • Submit your Statement of Intent to Register by your posted deadline.
  • 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.
  • Maintain your legal domicile in your home WICHE state.

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.
  • The WUE tuition discount is good for four years for incoming first year students and two years for incoming transfers, or until you graduate, whichever comes first.

(back to top)

2. What are the academic requirements for my major?Student

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.

UC Merced WUE Academic Criteria:

  • First Year Applicants: 3.5*^
  • Transfer Applicants: 3.25*^

*Based on the UC calculated weighted and capped GPA. Although not expected, academic criteria may change depending on the demand of the applicant pool.
^Applicants that meet the University of California minimum admissions requirements may be offered admission even if they do not qualify for the WUE tuition savings program.

(back to top)

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

Yes, the minimum GPA to the considered for first year admissions for a California resident is 3.0, and the minimum non-resident GPA is 3.4. Similary, the minimum GPA to be considered for transfer admission for a California resident is a 2.4, and the minimum non-resident GPA is a 2.8.

(back to top)

4. 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.

(back to top)

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

Students must maintain enrollment in a UC Merced declared WUE-eligible major/program. Students who change majors to a non-WUE major/program will be charged out-of-state tuition. Currently all majors are WUE elgible but, that could change in future terms.

(back to top)

6. Are transfer students eligible to apply for the WUE program?

Yes, junior level transfer students are eligible to apply for WUE.

(back to top)

7. What if it takes me longer than four years to graduate from college?

Incoming first year students (freshmen) are only able to participate in the WUE tuition discount program for four years, and incoming transfer students for two years. You would need to complete your degree at normal tuition costs depending on your residency if you exceed this time period.

(back to top)

8. 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.

(back to top)

9. Can a WUE student attend summer session prior to admission?

Yes. Summer fees are the same for all students; pricing is the same regardless of residency. Therefore, WUE students do not receive the WUE tuition discount for summer session.

(back to top)

10. 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 tuition discount, and since there is no tuition discount in the summer, no time would elapse from a student's four years of WUE eligibility.

(back to top)

11. Can I apply for or begin in the spring term under WUE?

Students are currently only considered for the WUE program that apply and enroll for a fall term. 

(back to top)