Financial Aid for Undergraduate Students
Students at USC benefit from federal, state and university financial aid programs administered by the Financial Aid Office and from scholarships administered by the Office of Admission and various academic departments. USC also offers an interest-free monthly payment plan, a tuition pre-payment plan, and participates in long-term student and parent educational loan programs.
Although international students are not eligible for need-based financial aid, they may be eligible for scholarships offered by their schools or departments. International students should contact their departments directly for information about existing opportunities. International students may also be eligible for some private educational loans.
Application Procedures and Eligibility Requirements for Financial Aid
Detailed information, application procedures and deadlines for financial aid are available online at usc.edu/financialaid. To be eligible for federal, state and university financial aid programs, students must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents or other eligible non-citizens; have a valid Social Security number; meet Selective Service registration requirements; have a high school diploma, GED or equivalent; meet Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements; and meet all other eligibility requirements. Students must also complete all application requirements by the relevant deadline(s). For most federal and state awards, a minimum of half-time enrollment is required. Full-time enrollment is required for most university awards. Enrollment status will be calculated based only on those courses that are required for, or that can be applied as an eligible elective credit toward, a student’s degree or certificate program. Students awarded a California Dream Grant are considered for limited university financial aid.
The Financial Aid Office may change these policies at any time to ensure continued compliance with changes in federal and state regulations governing student financial aid. As a result, students must refer to the current catalogue regulations. Unlike degree requirements, changes in regulations, policies and procedures are immediate and supersede those in any prior catalogue.
Scholarships awarded on the basis of academic achievement, leadership, service and talent are available through the Office of Admission, most academic departments at USC, alumni groups, and outside agencies and foundations. Some of these awards require a separate application. In some cases, financial need is also considered. For more information, visit usc.edu/scholarships.
The Financial Aid Office may award need-based University Grants to eligible students who meet all financial aid application deadlines.
Federal Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG) are available for students with exceptional financial need. The SEOG is awarded only to eligible students who meet all application deadlines.
Cal Grants A and B are administered by the California Student Aid Commission. All undergraduate aid applicants who are residents of California are required to apply. Cal Grant A provides funds for partial tuition and fees. Cal Grant B recipients receive a subsistence award the first year and receive a subsistence award and tuition award in subsequent years.
The Federal Work-Study program enables eligible students to earn funds through employment either on campus or with an approved off-campus employer. Only students who meet all application deadlines and federal eligibility requirements are considered for this program.
Federal Student and Parent Loans
Federal Perkins Loans may be awarded to eligible students who meet all application deadlines. Repayment begins nine months after the borrower ceases to be enrolled at least half time.*
Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are also available to eligible students. Repayment begins six months after the borrower ceases to be enrolled at least half time.*
Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans are available to parents of dependent** undergraduate students who meet the credit criteria established by the U.S. Department of Education. Payments may be deferred while the student is enrolled at least half time.*
Private Financing Programs
Private financing programs are available to help students and parents meet the costs of education by providing long-term financing options. Students should exhaust all federal Title IV assistance available, including Federal Pell Grants, the Federal Direct Stafford Loan and the Federal Direct Parent PLUS loan before considering a private student loan program. The repayment terms of federal programs may be more favorable than the terms of private loan programs. Federal student loans are required by law to provide a range of flexible repayment options, including but not limited to, income-based repayment and income-contingent repayment plans, and loan forgiveness benefits, which other student loans are not required to provide. Federal Direct Loans are available to students regardless of income.
For more information about student loan programs, visit usc.edu/financialaid/loans.
Financial Aid for Double Majors or Dual Degrees
Federal and state regulations over the Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG Grants and the Cal Grant limit these awards to students who have not yet earned a baccalaureate or professional degree. Similarly, the university limits awards of the university need-based grant to students who have yet to earn their first bachelor’s degree.
Students who are planning to double major or pursue a dual degree should carefully plan their academic course work with their academic adviser to ensure that they remain eligible for federal, state and university financial aid. The best approach is to make sure you complete the requirements for both degrees or majors simultaneously in the same semester. Once the requirements for one major/degree have been satisfied, a student will only be eligible for limited financial aid (Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Work-Study and Direct Loans).
Financial Aid for a Second Bachelor’s Degree
Students who are pursuing their second bachelor’s degree are eligible for a limited number of financial aid programs, specifically the Perkins Loan, Federal Work-Study and Direct Stafford Loan programs. Parents of dependent* students may also borrow Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans.
Financial Aid for Enrollment in a Progressive Degree Program
In most cases, students admitted to a progressive degree program will be classified as undergraduate students for financial aid and registration purposes during the first eight semesters of enrollment. Students enrolled in a progressive degree program will continue to receive undergraduate student aid as long as they have not completed the requirements for their undergraduate program of study. In some cases the undergraduate requirements may be completed sooner than eight semesters due to the amount of AP or transfer course work that has been accepted for credit. Beginning no later than the ninth semester, students will be considered graduate students for financial aid and registration purposes and ineligible for undergraduate financial aid. Students are immediately classified as graduate students and are ineligible for undergraduate financial aid once all undergraduate degree requirements have been completed or the undergraduate degree is conferred, even if they have completed fewer than eight semesters. Students who receive a research assistant or teaching assistant award before completing eight semesters are classified as graduate students and are ineligible to receive undergraduate financial aid.
Financial Aid for Limited Status Enrollment
Students not admitted to a degree-seeking program who enroll as limited-status students are not eligible for federal, state or university financial aid. Refer to the Financial Aid for Graduate Students section.
Financial Aid Consortium Agreements
Students admitted to a degree-seeking program at USC who enroll at least half-time at another eligible institution and whose courses are applicable to their USC degree may be eligible for limited federal financial aid if a Financial Aid Consortium Agreement is completed. Financial Aid Consortium agreements are contingent upon the host school agreeing to participate. Financial Aid Consortium Agreements are not available for students participating in the Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program. Contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.
Visiting students enrolled at USC as limited-status students may be eligible for limited federal financial aid through a Financial Aid Consortium Agreement if: 1) they attend USC at least half-time while admitted to a degree-seeking program at their home school; and 2) their USC courses apply to their degree. Financial Aid Consortium agreements are contingent upon the home school agreeing to participate. Contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.
Financial Aid for Students Enrolled in Preparatory Course Work
Students enrolled at least half-time in undergraduate courses required for admission to a degree program may be eligible for limited Federal Direct Stafford Loan program funds. Financial Aid Consortium Agreements are not available for students receiving financial aid for preparatory course work. For more information, contact the Financial Aid Office.