Guidance Counselors

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Undergraduate financial aid includes grants, merit scholarships, loans and Federal Work-Study. It can be awarded according to a student’s and family’s financial need (need-based) or according to the cost of attendance (non–need-based).



Grants and scholarships are types of financial aid that do not have to be repaid. Sources for grants and scholarships include federal and state governments, the university, the student’s academic department or professional school, community and civic groups, and private industry.

The following grants are awarded based on financial need:

University Grant
Grant funds may be used for tuition, fees, books, housing, meals or other educational expenses.

Students must be pursuing their first bachelor’s degree and meet all annual application deadlines and eligibility requirements. Only full-time students may receive the full University Grant. Three-quarter and half-time students who demonstrate sufficient USC-determined financial need and meet all application deadlines may be eligible for limited University Grant funds. Students must re-apply every year.

Renewing the University Grant
Students must reapply every year by the deadline and meet the eligibility requirements to be considered for a University Grant in future years. The award amount may change, based on the USC-determined financial need, housing plans, enrollment and the timeliness of the financial aid application.

Cal Grants (for California residents only)

Grant funds may be used for payment of tuition and mandatory fees only.

Provides a first-year stipend for living expenses only (including supplies and books). In subsequent years, the grant also helps pay for tuition and fees.

Students must be enrolled full-time at USC and meet all general eligibility requirements to receive the full Cal Grant A or B amount. Selection of recipients is based on a composite score that takes into consideration family income, parents' educational level, the student’s GPA, and other factors such as single-parent households. For the Cal Grant A, students need a minimum 3.0 GPA. For the Cal Grant B, the minimum GPA is 2.0. Please visit for more information.

Cal Grants are pro-rated for half-time and three-quarter-time enrollment. Grant amounts vary, depending on your financial need and whether you have other awards designated to cover your tuition and fees. The maximum eligibility for a Cal Grant is four years (five years for architecture majors). Your eligibility for a Cal Grant will be determined each year based on your family income and assets. It is possible to lose your eligibility for a Cal Grant if your family income or assets increase in future years. Please visit the California Student Aid Commission website for more information on how to renew your Cal Grant.

California Dream Act Cal Grant
This California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) state grant program now provides AB540-eligible students the opportunity to apply for Cal Grant A and Cal Grant B via the California Dream Act application. To be eligible, students must:

Have attended a (public or private) high school in California for three or more years;

Have graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent of a high school diploma; and

Be registered as an entering student, or be currently enrolled, at an accredited institution of higher education in California.

In addition:
A student without lawful immigration status must file an AB540 Affidavit (California Non-Resident Tuition Exemption Request form) with the institution of higher education they will be attending, stating that the student has filed or will file an application to legalize his or her immigration status as soon as he or she is eligible to do so. Males age 18 and over must also register with the Selective Service System before receiving the grant.

California Dream Act Cal Grant recipients are selected based on the eligibility criteria outlined in the California Dream Act Application and on the timeliness of their application. California Dream Act Applications must be received by March 4. Late applications will not be considered for financial aid. Please visit for more information and an application. Undergraduates awarded a California Dream Grant, and who meet all other eligibility requirements, are considered for limited university funding.

Pell Grant
Funds may be used for tuition, fees, books, room, board or other educational expenses. This grant is provided by the federal government. More information.

Student must be pursuing his or her first bachelor’s degree and meet all annual application deadlines and eligibility requirements. Only full-time students may receive the full Pell Grant amount. The grant is prorated for three-quarter, half-time or less-than-half-time enrollment. The actual award amount is based on financial need. Students must reapply each year.





USC administers more than a dozen prestigious scholarship programs, ranging in value from a few thousand dollars up to full tuition. Unlike loans, scholarships do not have to be repaid. They are awarded based on academic excellence, leadership, service, and talent.

For more information about the various scholarship programs available, click here.

Departmental Awards

Many academic departments offer merit-based scholarships. Specific information about eligibility requirements and awarding procedures is available from the individual academic units.

Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences
Leventhal School of Accounting
Marshall School of Business
Cinematic Arts
Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry
Dramatic Arts
Rossier School of Education
Viterbi School of Engineering
Viterbi School of Engineering: Scholarship Board
Viterbi School of Engineering: Women in Engineering
Roski School of Art and Design
Davis School of Gerontology
Gould School of Law
Keck School of Medicine
Thornton School of Music
Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy
Sol Price School of Public Policy
Social Work
Social Work: MAT @ USC


Some departments provide their scholarships in the form of a monthly stipend that is paid directly to the student receiving the award. Stipend payments are made monthly according to the stipend schedule.



Athletic Awards

The University of Southern California offers scholarships in 21 sports. For more information about USC’s athletics programs, please visit the USC Trojans website.

Estimated Full Cost of Attendance

The estimated cost of attendance for the academic year is published here.

Athletic scholarships can be awarded as a fixed dollar amount or as a percentage of the value of the Cost of Attendance. The full Cost of Attendance is calculated annually based on the following costs determined by the Financial Aid Office:


Mandatory Fees

Required Textbooks

Housing and Dining/Meals


Miscellaneous Expenses

Students on athletic scholarships receive all required and recommended textbooks for their enrolled classes. The actual value of books received by students is dependent on students’ course schedules.

Full-time students receiving an athletic scholarship equivalent to 1 percent of the full Cost of Attendance receive the required and recommended textbooks for all registered classes.

Full-time students receiving an athletic scholarship between 2 and approximately 76 percent of the full Cost of Attendance receive required textbooks and a scholarship to cover tuition and mandatory fees. The amount for tuition and fees depends on the scholarship equivalency.

Full-time students with an athletic scholarship ranging from approximately 77 to 100 percent of the full Cost of Attendance receive required textbooks, a scholarship covering tuition and mandatory fees, and a stipend for housing and dining/meals, transportation and miscellaneous expenses. Stipend amounts for housing and dining/meals, transportation and miscellaneous expenses depend on the scholarship equivalency.

Summer Enrollment & Costs

For information about the awarding of summer athletic scholarships, please contact Student-Athlete Academic Services.

Scholarship Appeal Process

Students are notified by July 1 if their athletic scholarship will be reduced, canceled or not renewed. If a scholarship is reduced, canceled or not renewed, the student may submit an appeal to the Financial Aid Office. To review the appeal process, please click here.



Federal Work-Study & Other Employment

Federal Work-Study provides part-time jobs for undergraduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the student’s course of study. Most of these jobs are on campus, but some opportunities are also available with local nonprofit agencies.

Undergraduate students must demonstrate financial need, meet all application deadlines, be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen and enroll for the number of units upon which their Financial Aid Summary was based.

Students will not be able to use their work-study funds to pay the university bill. The bill is due before the semester begins, but work-study funds must be earned over the course of the semester. More information.




Loans are sums of money borrowed from federal or private agencies to help finance the expected family contribution. Loans must be repaid once the student graduates or otherwise drops below half-time enrollment.

For more information, please visit the Loans section of our website.