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 private educational loans.
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.
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.
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 with demonstrated need 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. Unlike 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. 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 governing 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 university need-based grant to students who have not yet earned 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 Federal 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 Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Work-Study and Federal 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 who are taking solely graduate-level course work will be treated as graduate students for federal financial aid purposes, but may be eligible for university undergraduate aid, provided they are within their first eight semesters of enrollment and their undergraduate degree has not been conferred. Once the undergraduate degree is conferred, students are immediately classified as graduate students and are ineligible for undergraduate financial aid, 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. The availability of undergraduate aid may also be exhausted sooner than eight semesters, depending on the amount of transfer course work accepted for credit.
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. Students who have completed their degree or certificate programs, but continue to enroll, will be considered limited-status students and are thereby ineligible for financial aid.
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.
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. For more information, contact the Financial Aid Office.