Guidance Counselors

Applying for Financial Aid

This section of our website contains key information to help clarify and explain the financial aid application process for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Students should apply as soon as possible to ensure they receive notification of financial aid eligibility before the May 1 National Candidates Reply Date. Students should respond to any additional requests from USC within 10 days. To monitor financial aid status, they should log in to .

Eligibility for Funding:
To receive financial aid, students must be: a U.S. citizen; an eligible non-citizen (such as a permanent resident, refugee, or asylee); or be an undocumented person meeting certain criteria. Students must also be admitted to USC, maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress, and not be in default on prior loans. Undergraduates who have been awarded a California Dream Grant and who meet all other eligibility requirements may be considered for limited university funding.

Prospective First-Year Students

Step 1: FAFSA and CSS Profile

February 10, 2023

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
Complete the 2023-2024 FAFSA Application online. The FAFSA determines your eligibility for the low-interest Direct Loan as well as federal and state grants.

Submit as early as October 1, but no later than February 10, 2023.

Use 2021 parent and student income.

For the most efficient processing, use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

USC’s Federal School Code is 001328.

CSS Profile Application
Complete the 2023-2024 CSS Profile online. The CSS Profile information, along with your FAFSA information, will help determine your eligibility for USC student aid funds.

Use 2021 parent and student income.

Be sure to include your Social Security number.

Submit as early as October 1, but no later than February 10, 2023. USC’s CSS School Code is 4852.

USC does not participate in the CSS IDOC program.


Step 2: Cal Grant

March 2, 2023

California Residents only: Apply for a Cal Grant

Submit the FAFSA and have the school you currently attend or most recently attended submit your certified GPA to the Cal Grant Program.

For the fastest, most secure processing, your school may upload GPA information directly to the California Student Aid Commission's system.

If electronic submission is unavailable, request that your school certify a paper Cal Grant GPA Verification form (available at

AB540-Eligible Students: You must complete the online California Dream Act Application by March 2. Visit for the application. You must also submit your GPA Verification Form to CSAC by March 2.


Step 3: Additional Information

As Soon As Possible, If Applicable:

Tax Return Information
Submit student's and parent's federal tax information as soon as possible, if requested. Please log in to access your page and follow the instructions provided. You will need your completed, signed federal tax return, along with all schedules and W-2 forms, when submitting this information.

USC does not require state tax returns.

For the fastest processing, submit tax information online. After you submit your tax information, we will update your status and let you know if we need any additional information, including a copy of your tax return for verification purposes.

If you are not legally required to file a federal income tax return for 2021, submit a completed Student and/or Parent Non-Filing Statement Form.

If your parents . . .

Are married and filed separately: Submit information for both tax returns.

Are divorced or separated: Provide information from your custodial parent's 2021 federal tax return. If your parents filed jointly for 2021, submit information from that return. If your custodial parent has remarried, submit information for him/her and your stepparent. You will be advised if tax information from your non-custodial parent is required.

Are not legally required to file a federal income tax return for 2021: Submit a completed Parent Non-Filing Statement form.

File a tax return in another country: Submit a Parent Non-Filing Statement form indicating that they are filing a foreign return and attach translated documentation of their income, such as a foreign tax return, employer statement, etc. Convert all amounts to U.S. dollars. Please also submit a completed Parent Income and Expense form.

CSS Profile Form for Noncustodial Parents

If your CSS Profile information indicates that your parents are separated, divorced or never married, your noncustodial parent is required to complete the CSS Profile form.

USC will determine an expected contribution for the custodial parent, the noncustodial parent, and the stepparent, as appropriate.

Business Owners
Parents who are business owners must also submit a copy of their business tax documents for each business to the Financial Aid Office. For each business, submit a copy of your federal K-1 statement, if applicable, and a copy of the first five pages of the corporate tax return or partnership tax return.

Additional Documentation
Provide copies of tax returns or any other additional documents or information requested by the Financial Aid Office within 10 business days of the request.

Submit any additional documents requested by the Financial Aid Office within 10 days.

Documents submitted to the USC Financial Aid Office become the property of the university and cannot be returned to the student or duplicated for any purpose.


Step 4: Special Circumstances

Families occasionally experience unforeseen changes during the application period and/or academic year (such as a job loss, illness, etc.). If this applies to you, notify the Financial Aid Office in writing, outlining the circumstances. Include copies of appropriate supporting documentation, and write your USC ID number on the first page of each document. You will be contacted if additional documentation is required. For more information, visit Special Circumstances and Appeals.


Prospective First-Year Checklist

FAFSA by February 10, 2023
CSS Profile by February 10, 2023
Cal Grant (California residents only) by March 2, 2023
Tax returns or Non-Filing Statement forms If requested, within 10 days
Monitor your status