Guidance Counselors

Talking About USC Financial Aid

High schools and counselors are valued partners in our efforts to ensure that every student has an opportunity for a world-class education. We hope that by sharing this information, we can help your students and their families can make informed decisions about what school to attend and what types of financial aid best suits their circumstances.

Investing in the Future: The Value of a USC Education

Cost is a primary consideration for students in deciding which college to attend. And while current headlines tend to focus on cost, a college education is also an investment in a student’s future. Its value increases over time:

College graduates earn more over their lifetimes than those with just high school diplomas, enjoy greater access to healthcare, and are more likely to contribute to their communities through voting and volunteerism.

At USC, students graduate uniquely prepared for the challenges of the 21st century. They are able to effectively engage with other cultures and examine issues through a global perspective, draw from a multidisciplinary education that encourages them to make connections and synthesize information, and give back to their communities through real-world problem-solving — as researchers, interns, volunteers and mentors.

Investing in education, especially a USC education, not only benefits the student — it benefits everyone.

At USC, we are proud of the resources we have to offer our students. We maintain a strong commitment to funding student financial aid and administer one of the largest programs in the country:

We work with families to meet 100 percent of their demonstrated financial need.

Funding for student aid has increased every year for the last few years.

Our current Capital Campaign includes a major initiative to increase the student aid endowment by $1 billion.

Nearly two-thirds of USC undergraduates receive some form of financial aid.

USC awarded over $611 million from all sources to undergraduates last academic year. The majority of that comprised gift aid (financial aid that does not need to be paid back).

The total gift aid to undergraduates from all sources (university, federal, state, other) in 2017-18 was more than $457 million (approximately 75 percent of all aid awarded).

We are need-blind in admission – ability to pay has no bearing on our admission decisions.

Student Debt at USC

We know that families are concerned about student indebtedness and the national dialogue about this issue has intensified. At USC:

Forty (40) percent of undergraduates borrow from any loan program (including federal, parent, and/or private loans).

Approximately eight (8) percent borrow from the Federal Direct Parent PLUS program.

Fewer than three (3) percent borrow private loans.

Graduates from the class of 2018 who entered USC as first-time students borrowed a cumulative average of $22,096 in federal student loans.

The Institute for College Access and Success estimates that about 65 percent of all college seniors who graduated in 2017 had student loan debt, with an average of $28,650 per borrower. (The national average includes public and private non-profit institutions.)

The Financial Aid Application Process at USC

USC requires both the FAFSA and the CSS Profile.

Students’ eligibility for USC need-based aid is calculated using Institutional Methodology, based on information provided in the CSS Profile.

Application Deadlines

First-Year Students: February 13, 2020.

Families should begin preparing as soon as possible, and start with the CSS Profile, which is available after October 1.

The FAFSA is available after January 1.

Transfer Students: March 2, 2020.
Community college students should be made aware of the CSS Profile requirement, as well as the need to file the FAFSA in a timely manner. USC needs time to determine eligibility for university need-based aid.

California residents should also apply for Cal Grants by March 2.

Tax information

We will request actual tax returns or supporting documentation only if necessary for verification.

Tax information is submitted online via our website.


Once we receive a student’s application, we will notify the student by e-mail if any other information is required.

Students can also check their financial aid accounts online by logging in to their Financial Aid Summary and Tasks (FAST) page.

Students should submit any additional information requested as soon as possible to prevent any delays in notification of their eligibility. For the fastest processing, materials should be submitted online.

Tools and Resources

Net Price Calculator:
Uses institutional data to provide estimated net price information to prospective students and their families, based on a student’s individual circumstances.

NPC = Cost of Attendance (price) – grant and scholarship aid.

How Financial Aid Works: Video
This video is an introduction to the basics of qualifying, applying for, and receiving financial aid.

Investing in Your Future: Brochure
Provides in-depth information regarding the financial aid process for prospective students and their parents.

College Navigator:
Compares individual colleges based on data relating to access, affordability and outcomes.

College Board Calculator:
Another tool provided by the College Board that may help estimate a family’s contribution. Be sure to use the Institutional Methodology.

Bigfuture by the College Board:
The College Board’s college and scholarship search tool.

Contact Us

We have a dedicated team of professionals to help with any questions or concerns. Our financial aid counselors are available by phone, e-mail and in-person.

(213) 740-4444
Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time

Click here to e-mail us.

In Person
John Hubbard Hall (JHH) Lobby
Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Mailing Address
USC Financial Aid Office
University of Southern California
700 Childs Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0914

We also have a dedicated outreach team that attends admission events, high school and community nights, and helps with special populations. We look forward to working with you and your students in the coming year.