University of Southern California

Undergraduate Education

Financial Aid for Undergraduate Students

Financial Aid Policy Regarding Falsification of Financial Aid Information

The types of information covered by this policy include all documents and information submitted to apply for and/or receive need-based financial aid, scholarships and private financing funds. These documents and information include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Student Aid Report (SAR)
  • CSS Financial Aid/PROFILE Application and CSS Noncustodial Parent PROFILE Application
  • Need Access Application
  • Enrollment and Housing Form
  • Student and parent federal income tax forms and other income documentation
  • Documentation of U.S. citizenship or eligible non-citizen status
  • Documentation of housing/living arrangements
  • Academic documents relating to high school diploma or college course work
  • Loan applications, promissory notes and related documentation
  • Specific program applications
  • Federal Work-Study time sheets
  • Any university financial aid forms and related documentation
  • Any written, electronic or verbal statements sent to or made to a university employee regarding the student’s financial aid application or other financially related documents

The integrity of the documents and the honesty of the information presented through them are critical to the financial aid process. Students should be aware that they will be held responsible for the integrity of any financial aid information submitted either by them or on their behalf.

If the university determines that a student or parent has provided falsified information, or has submitted forged documents or signatures, the following steps may be taken without prior notification to the student or parent:

(1) An incident report will be filed with USC’s Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards, following procedures outlined in the University Student Conduct Code. See here. Pending resolution of the complaint, the Financial Aid Office may restrict the distribution of any further aid to the accused student.

(2) If the Financial Aid Office or the student conduct review process finds that a violation has occurred, the consequences may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The student will be required to make full restitution of any and all federal, state, private and/or university scholarship, grant, loan or work funds to which he or she was not entitled.
  • Until full restitution is made, all federal, state and university funds will be withheld from the student, including all funds disbursed in past or in current terms.
  • No arrangements will be made with the Cashier’s Office or Collections Office on the student’s behalf to settle their account. The student will be responsible for all charges incurred on the student’s account because of the loss of federal, state or institutional financial aid funds.
  • If the student is determined to be ineligible for financial aid because of a basic eligibility criterion, no further federal, state or university funds will be awarded to the student in any future terms of enrollment at the university.
  • The student may be ineligible for future participation in some or all financial aid programs for a minimum of one year or longer. In some cases, the student will not be eligible to receive funds from that program in any future terms of enrollment at the university.
  • The student will not be awarded funds to replace those lost because a student is considered ineligible due to dishonesty.

(3) In addition to any consequences directly related to the student’s financial aid, the student may be assigned disciplinary sanctions as described in the Student Conduct Code (11.80).

(4) As required by federal and state law, the USC Financial Aid Office will report any infraction to the appropriate office or agency. These include, but are not limited to, the U.S. Department of Education Office of the Inspector General, state agencies or other entities that may take whatever action is required by federal and state law. In this report, the Financial Aid Office will describe in detail the incident, the response from the Financial Aid Office and any additional actions taken by or pending with the university.