Distance Education: Prospective Students

Types of Aid

Scholarships, fellowships and other sources of aid are awarded primarily by individual academic departments. Check with your department for more information. The USC Financial Aid Office will determine your financial need and process your financial aid, which will consist mostly of federal loans. In addition, USC participates in a variety of private loan programs for students.

Scholarships and Fellowships

Scholarships and fellowships comprise financial aid that does not have to be repaid and may be offered by the following sources:

Your academic department or professional school.

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.

USC Financial Aid Office (administers federal aid programs, including Federal Work-Study awards; coordinates departmental scholarships and stipends).

The Graduate School (administers fellowship programs and provides information about non-university funding sources).

Federal agencies and private foundations (support for students engaged in specific fields of study).

Corporations (fellowships or tuition reimbursement for employees).


Federal Direct Unsubsidized (Stafford) Loans

Graduate students may borrow up to a maximum of $20,500 per academic year at a fixed interest rate, regardless of financial need. (Certain health professions may be eligible for a higher amount.)

Please visit studentloans.gov or for more details about the program and its benefits.

The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant

USC no longer participates in the TEACH Grant program.


Managing the Student Contribution

The following options are available to cover the balance of your cost of attendance (after any financial aid is posted to your account). You can pay in several ways:

From savings or current income. (Pay the USC Cashier’s Office directly.)

With the USC Payment Plan, which enables students to establish a line of credit for tuition, fees, university housing and other student expenses. The plan is billed in five monthly installments per semester. There is an application fee of $50. For more information, visit the Student Financial Services website.

With the USC Pre-payment Plan, which allows you to prepay up to five years of full-time tuition and mandatory fees for students who have been admitted to the university. For more information, visit the Student Financial Services website.

With additional loans for all or part of the amount. If you do apply for loans, you should apply for the amount you will need for the entire academic year.


Graduate and Professional Student Federal PLUS Loan

If you choose to borrow a loan for all or part of the family contribution, your first source is the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. It has a low, fixed interest rate. Repayment begins after the loan has been fully disbursed; however, you may defer payment while you are enrolled at least half-time. There is no prepayment penalty. For application information, click here.


Private Financing

In most cases, students who use private financing to cover all or part of the family contribution will need to apply with a credit-worthy co-borrower. Doing so may substantially reduce interest and fees on a private loan. For more information about private loans, see the Private Financing section of this website.