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A federal tax statement indicating the total interest paid by the borrower on university or federal loans over the calendar year. These statements may be provided by the university, or your lender or servicer. 1098-E Online Information


A federal tax statement indicating qualified tuition and fees paid to the university over the calendar year. This statement will be provided by the university. 1098-T Online Information


ACH Payment

A type of online payment made using a U.S. checking or savings account and requiring the entry of a bank routing number and the checking or savings account number. Some banks may use different routing numbers for processing ‘e-check’ payments and regular paper checks.

Accrual Date

The date on which interest begins to accumulate on a loan.

Accrued Interest

Interest that has accumulated on the unpaid balance of the loan principal.

Activity Restriction (Hold)

A status placed on a student record by a USC office or department. It can prevent a student from registering for classes, receiving a transcript or diploma, or accessing other university services.

Agency Billing

The forwarding of a student tuition bill to an outside agency or sponsor for payment. USC students sponsored by a company; a local, state, federal or international governmental agency; or branch of the U.S. military may be eligible to have all or a portion of their bills sent directly to the sponsor. See also: Tuition Reimbursement.



A person receiving a loan. A borrower signs and agrees to the terms in the promissory note and is responsible for repaying the loan.

Buckley Waiver

The Buckley Waiver form grants permission for the university to disclose certain details of your student account to parents or other designated persons in accordance with FERPA guidelines. (See also: FERPA)


The university representative or department responsible for student accounts or the collection of student payments.


CSS (College Scholarship Service) Profile

A financial aid application used to determine undergraduate students’ eligibility for university need-based aid. To apply visit USC’s CSS school code is 4852.

Campus-Based Programs

Limited federal financial aid administered by the school. It includes: Federal Work-Study, and Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants.

Capitalization of Interest

Addition of unpaid interest to the principal of a loan. It increases both the borrower’s total debt and, typically, the amount of each monthly payment.


Confirmation Payment (Housing)

The deposit paid to USC Housing to reserve a student’s housing assignment. Students must submit this deposit at the time they sign their housing contract or they will lose the housing assignment.

Consolidation Loan

A loan that allows the student to combine several federal student loans into one, lowering the monthly payments and simplifying and extending the terms of repayment.

Cost of Attendance

An estimated total amount it will cost to attend a college or university for one academic year. The amount includes tuition, books, housing, food, supplies, and limited travel to and from school, and is used in calculations of students’ financial need.



Failure to repay a loan according to the agreed terms, for six consecutive months. If you default on your loan, the federal government can collect the funds through wage garnishment, litigation, credit bureau notification, and withholding of income tax refunds. In addition, defaulting will affect your ability to receive Title IV student aid in the future.

Deferment (Expired or Rebilled)

Expiration of a deferment, when the amount deferred becomes due and payable.

Deferment (Loans)

A method of postponing payments for such reasons as returning to school (after the grace period has expired), academic fellowship, unemployment or economic hardship. If you are unable to obtain a deferment, you may be able to receive a forbearance.

Deferment (Student Accounts)

Postponement of tuition and fee payments. The three types of deferment are: Financial Aid, Cashier’s Short-Term Deferment, and Tuition Reimbursement Deferment. For more information: Visit the Deferments on a Student Account page or the Schedule of Classes.


Failure to repay a loan according to the terms of the promissory note. Late fees are often assessed on delinquent accounts, and serious delinquency results in default.

Dependent Student

A student considered financially dependent on a supporting person (usually a parent). (For additional information, see Independent Student.)

Direct (Stafford) Loan (Subsidized)

A federal student loan offered on the basis of financial need. The government pays the interest while the student is in school at least half-time and during grace and deferment periods.

Direct (Stafford) Loan (Unsubsidized)

A federal student loan offered to undergraduate and graduate students regardless of financial need. Interest begins accruing from the time the loan is disbursed.

Direct Deposit / ACH Service

(See eRefund)


The release of student aid funds (such as loans, grants or scholarships) to student accounts. Loan disbursements may be canceled by the Financial Aid Office, lender or borrower by contacting the lender or the guarantor.

Disclosure Statement

A statement of the actual cost of the loan, including all estimated interest and loan fees.


Emergency Loan

Short-term loans in small amounts. No deferments or cancellations are available for Emergency Loans. For more information click here.

Entrance Counseling

A required counseling session provided to student loan borrowers before they can receive their first federal loan disbursement. Counseling sessions may be offered online and/or in person. (See also: Exit Counseling)

Exit Counseling

A required counseling session provided to student loan borrowers before they leave school. Counseling sessions typically cover loan borrowers’ rights and responsibilities and may provide general money management tips. Counseling sessions may be offered online and/or in person. (See also: Entrance Counseling)

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

The amount that a family (student and parents) is expected to contribute out of pocket to the student’s education. The amount is determined by subtracting the student’s financial aid eligibility from the Cost of Attendance.


A monthly e-mail notification sent to any student with a balance due or any activity on his or her student account (with a few exceptions). The notice advises the student that a new monthly billing statement is available for viewing and/or printing on the system. Notices are also sent to alternate e-mail addresses and guest user e-mail addresses.



An electronic service that automatically processes eligible refunds by checking daily for a qualifying credit balance on your student account and refunding it to a specified bank account.


FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

The application required from all students applying for financial aid and used to calculate a student’s eligibility for federal aid funds. Apply online at USC’s Federal School Code is 001328.

FAST (Financial Aid Summary and Tasks)

Website where students can access their Financial Aid Summary and determine the current status of their application and aid. To log in click here.

FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)

A federal law (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are “eligible students.” (See also: Buckley Waiver)


The FSA ID is a username and password that must be used to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID confirms your identity when you access your financial aid information and electronically sign Federal Student Aid documents. If you do not already have an FSA ID, you can create one when logging in to, the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) at,, and This has replaced the Federal Student Aid PIN.

Family Rights and Privacy Act


Federal Direct Loan Program

The federal program under which students may borrow educational loans directly from the federal government, rather than banks and lending institutions. It provides one stable source of funding, low interest rates and other benefits not available through private lenders. It replaced FFELP in 2010.

Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP)

The federal program under which private financial institutions provided federally backed loans to students and their parents. Loans made under this program included Direct (Stafford) Loans, PLUS loans, and Consolidation Loans. It was discontinued in 2010 and replaced with the Federal Direct Loan Program.

Federal Pell Grant

A grant to qualifying undergraduates, based on the student’s Expected Family Contribution, cost of attendance, student enrollment status and time in school. Provided primarily to full-time students, it is also available to qualifying part-time students at a prorated amount. For more information click here.

Federal Work-Study Program

See Work-Study.

Financial Aid Summary

The total amount and composition of financial aid a student receives. It usually includes grants, scholarships, loans and work-study.

Flat Rate/Fee

A standard tuition amount charged for full-time enrollment. Most sessions offered by USC charge the flat rate for 12 to 18 units of undergraduate enrollment and 15 to 18 units of graduate enrollment. If you are taking fewer units than the range specifies, you are charged the per-unit rate. Refer to the Schedule of Classes for current per-unit and flat rates.


A method of postponing payments for six months to one year due to economic hardship. A forbearance period can be renewed annually for up to three years. If interest-only payments are not paid during a forbearance, interest accrues and is added to the loan balance at the end of the forbearance period.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid



Grace Period

The period, normally six months, between the date the student graduates or drops below half-time enrollment and the date on which loan repayment is required to begin.


Need-based aid that you do not have to repay. In addition to the Federal Pell Grant, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), and the state-funded Cal Grant, the university makes available almost $100 million of its own funds for grants and scholarships to students who demonstrate need and meet all eligibility requirements and deadlines.


An independent organization or state agency that guaranteed Federal Family Educational Loans for the government. (FFELP was replaced by Federal Direct Lending in 2010.)


Hold (Activity Restriction)

A status placed on a student record by a USC office or department. It can prevent a student from registering for classes, receiving a transcript or diploma, or accessing other university services.


The financial institution that holds the title to an educational loan. This can be the original lender or a secondary market.


I.D. Number Correction/Change

To change or correct your student I.D., you must submit a Request for Change/Correction of Student Number/Name Form. The request must be accompanied by a photo I.D. (passport, driver’s license, USC I.D. card, etc.). A change of student I.D. will be processed for students who have an active academic record and are currently pursuing a degree program only. The student I.D. on the record at that time becomes the permanent student I.D. of record. The change/correction is typically completed within two (2) to three (3) business days.

International Baccalaureate

An advanced international program in which secondary school students are prepared for the rigors of college course work. At USC, 20 units of credit are granted for IB diplomas earned with a score of 30 or higher, or 6 units of credit are granted for each score of 5, 6, or 7 on the higher level exams, up to a maximum of four exams, whichever is higher. GE credit is available for some exams. Coordinated by the Articulation office.

Income-Sensitive Repayment

A loan repayment schedule based on the borrower’s actual or projected income. The loan amount must be repaid, but the size or number of monthly payments may be adjusted. This is a borrower benefit typically limited to federal loans.

Independent Student

A student who meets one or more of the criteria listed below. Undergraduate students who do not meet at least one of these are considered dependent. (Graduate students are considered independent.)

An individual who is at least 24 years old by December 31 of the award year, An orphan or ward of the court. A veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, A graduate or professional student. An individual with legal dependents other than a spouse, A student for whom the school’s financial aid office determines and documents an independent status, based on a professional judgment of the student’s unusual circumstances.


The ongoing fee charged for the use of borrowed money.

Interest Rate

A proportion of a loan charged to the borrower as interest, typically expressed as an annual percentage of the outstanding loan amount. Interest rates for federal student loans are fixed for the life of the loans and are typically much lower than those for private loans.


Late Fees

Fees assessed and added to existing charges as penalties for registering for classes late. To avoid the assessment of late registration fees, students must register for classes by the Friday before the beginning of spring and fall classes. Students who fail to register by the deadline will be assessed late fees in accordance with the following schedule:

An additional $25 will be added to the $300 late fee for each week after the third week until all charges have been settled. Non-receipt of a bill does not relieve a student of his or her payment obligation.

Students whose checks are returned by a bank as unpaid or whose credit card authorizations are declined by the bank will be subject to the late fees described above until their accounts are paid. If a change of program or a petition action results in additional charges, it must be paid or deferred in full by the end of the week in which the change took place. If any portion remains unpaid, late fees will be assessed according to the schedule above.

Leave of Absence (Undergrad)

A temporary withdrawal from the university, usually for up to one year, for personal reasons or as a result of being called to active military duty. The university has implemented a program to assist students who find it necessary to take a leave of absence from their studies at USC. This procedure has been designed to ease the transition for students as they leave the university and as they make their eventual return.  Students who need more information or who wish to request a leave of absence should visit the Leave of Absence website.


The financial institution responsible for making the original loan to the borrower.

Lender Refund

The return of loan proceeds to the lender by the university, as required by federal guidelines if a student becomes ineligible for the loan after it was originally disbursed. A student may become ineligible by withdrawing from the university or otherwise dropping all classes for the semester; by dropping below the minimum number of academic units required; or by being academically disqualified.

Loan Cancellation

The termination of required loan repayments, due to the borrower’s or student’s death or permanent disability.

Loan Period

The school year or academic term – such as a semester, trimester, or quarter – for which a loan is designated.

Loan Principal

The total amount of money borrowed, including fees but excluding any interest charged.


Money borrowed from the federal government or lending institutions, that must be repaid with interest.


MPN (Master Promissory Note)

Minors (Changing/ Adding/ Dropping)

In addition to majors and degrees, many schools and departments offer minor programs. Applications to add, or requests to drop a minor, must be made to the department or professional school. Completion of the minor program will be noted on the academic transcript. Refer to the “Academic Policies” Undergraduate and Degree Programs section of the USC Catalogue.

Missing Grade

An administrative mark assigned when a professor fails to correctly submit a final course grade for a student. An instructor should never assign a grade of MG except in cases involving plagiarism or cheating during the final examination period.


Name (Correction/Change)

A correction or change to your name as it appears on your academic records. To change or correct your student name, you must complete a Request for Change/Correction of Student Number/Name form. The request must be accompanied by a court order, valid driver’s license, certificate of naturalization, certificate of marriage or some other form of positive identification. A photo I.D. must also be presented.


The difference between a college or university’s cost of attendance and the family’s Expected Family Contribution.

Need Access Application

A financial aid application that undergraduate students may use instead of the CSS Profile and that helps determine their eligibility for university aid funds. Apply online at The discounted fee for USC students is $20.

Need Analysis

A determination of a family’s financial strength. It takes into account the university’s cost of attendance as well as a family’s income, assets, family size and the number of children in college.


Origination Fee

An amount charged for borrowing money, typically a percentage of the amount borrowed.

OASIS for Advisors

The web-based service that allows academic advisors to review their students’ records using the OASIS system.  Advisors must create their login to OASIS for Advisors in SIS process SIS.U.WWWOAR. The Registrar’s Office will review advisor requests for access.


OASIS (accessed through myUSC) is the website where currently enrolled students can find and review their personal academic and financial information. Enrolled students are automatically provided access to OASIS. Problems with OASIS should be directed to the OneStop office.


Pass/No Pass Registration

Enrollment option in a course for which a student will not receive a standard letter grade. To enroll in a course with the Pass/No Pass grade option, or to change a course to P/NP, students may use the Web Registration portal. In rare circumstances, the change may need to be made manually through the Registrar One-Stop Center. The deadlines relevant to any course are available on the Schedule of Classes by clicking the calendar icon next to the course in question.

Please refer to the “Pass/No Pass Graded Work” section under “Academic Policies” in the USC Catalogue for further information.


Courses and/or specific background required of students prior to advancing to the next course in a prescribed sequence of courses. Passage of appropriate examinations or consent of the academic unit offering the course will waive prerequisites. However, a prerequisite course within the same discipline taken after the higher level course has been passed will not be available for unit or grade point average.

Payment Plan

Payoff Amount

The amount due for payment in order to fulfill the terms of a loan.

Per-Unit Rate

Tuition charged for each unit of enrollment. If you are enrolled in fewer units than the number required for the flat rate, you will be charged the per-unit rate. Refer to the Schedule of Classes for current per-unit and flat rates.


When a portion or the entire amount of the principal loan balance is paid before it is due. This will usually reduce the total amount of interest.

Prepayment Plan

A USC payment plan that allows for the prepayment of up to five (5) years of full-time tuition and mandatory fees at today’s cost.

Promissory Note

The binding legal document (typically combined on the same form with the loan application) that the borrower signs to obtain a loan. It lists the borrower’s rights and responsibilities under the loan agreement, including the terms under which the borrower agrees to repay the loan. It will include information about interest calculations, deferment and cancellation. Borrowers should read and save the promissory note, in case they need to refer to it upon entering repayment. Requirements for promissory notes may vary by loan.


Refund of Tuition

Tuition and fees are refundable only if courses are officially dropped before the refund deadline. A course’s refund deadline is session specific. Students may drop courses through Web Registration or through the Registrar One-Stop Center. It is the student’s responsibility to officially withdraw from any class they are not attending, including but not limited to: (a) classes that have been discontinued at the university’s option; (b) situations in which a student never attended even the first class meeting.

To find the refund deadlines for any course, please visit the Schedule of Classes.

Request for Exception to Residence

Exceptions to the fall and spring enrollment policy and approval to take specific courses out of residence. In rare circumstances, such exceptions may be granted in advance by the student’s major department and dean.

Typically, all course work taken in the fall and spring semesters must be taken at USC. Only transfer course work that appears on the transfer institution’s transcript for a summer term will be accepted. Students should discuss their individual circumstances with their departmental academic advisor. More information can be found under “Course Work Taken Elsewhere” in the “Academic Policies” section of the USC Catalogue. For questions about the residency policy and exceptions, contact the Degree Progress department in the Registrar One-Stop Center, located in the JHH lobby, or at (213) 740-7070.


The number of units or the segment of a degree program that must be completed at USC. There are requirements for undergraduate programs, graduate programs and specific requirements for a second bachelor’s degree. Courses taken off-campus may be considered taken “in residence” if they are part of an overseas studies program offered through USC, or part of a consortium or other arrangement between institutions. Requirements should be checked in the appropriate “Academic Policies” [Requirements for Graduation] section of the USC Catalogue.


When a loan borrower must begin making payments on the loan. Repayment begins shortly after graduation or after the student drops below half-time enrollment. The standard repayment term is typically 10 years.

Repayment Schedule

A document setting forth the timing and amounts of the borrower’s loan payment.

Required Informaton and Forms

Website where students can determine which documents are required in order determine their financial aid eligiblity.



The STudent Academic Record System. An automated degree audit that reflects students’ academic progress toward degree completion for declared programs of study. Students may obtain a copy of their STARS Report on OASIS in Degree Progress, located in the Basement of JHH.

Student ID

A ten-digit number assigned by the university and used to retrieve student records and provide various student services. Students can obtain a USC I.D. at USCard Services, located in Parking Structure X. Students must and should carry their USC I.D. with them at all times. See ID Number Correction / Change.

Subject Credit

Credit toward a requirement, such as general education or a course requirement for a major or minor. This is distinct from unit or degree credit, which refers to units earned toward a degree. For example, students who are not eligible to transfer any more courses in for unit credit (because they have reached the transfer unit limit) may be able to take a transfer course for “subject credit only,” meaning they could use it to fulfill a degree requirement but would not earn any units for it. See Degree Credit.

Schedule of Classes

The USC guide to semester course offerings, policies, procedures, rules, regulations and requirements for graduation. Visit the Schedule of Classes online.


Gift aid usually granted on the basis of academic merit, personal or creative accomplishments, public service, athletic ability or leadership skills. In some cases, they may also be granted to meet exceptional financial need.

Secondary Market

A state or private agency that purchases loans from lenders.

Separation Date

The official date recorded by the school’s registrar to indicate a graduation date, a drop to below half-time status or a withdrawal from the school. The grace period begins on this date.


The organization that monitors and collects a loan on behalf of the holder. The servicer maintains the borrower’s account records, sends billing notices and collects the loan according to the guidelines set forth by the federal government. The lender may also service its own loans.

Stafford Loan (Subsidized)

A federal student loan offered on the basis of financial need. The government pays the interest while the student is in school at least half-time and during grace and deferment periods. Now referred to as a Federal Direct Subsidized Loan.

Stafford Loan (Unsubsidized)

A federal student loan offered to undergraduate and graduate students regardless of financial need. Interest begins accruing from the time the loan is disbursed. Now referred to as a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan.

Student Aid Report (SAR)

A summary of the information submitted via the FAFSA to the Federal Processor. Applicants receive an SAR any time they submit a new application or amend an existing application.


Title IV

A section of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, that authorizes federal loan, work-study and grant assistance programs for students pursuing post-secondary education.

Treasury Bill

A financial note issued by the U.S. government to finance government spending. Used to calculate the interest rates on federal student loans.

Tuition Reimbursement

Some employers will reimburse you for your tuition at the end of each term.



A ten-digit USC ID number assigned to all USC students and staff. The USC ID is used in place of the Social Security number (SSN) and helps protect users’ privacy.

USC Payment Plan

A university payment plan that allows settlement of a student account (one semester at a time) in monthly installments. Students may use the USC Payment Plan to pay for tuition, fees, university housing, meal plans and other miscellaneous university charges.


Variable Interest Rate

An interest rate that fluctuates according to changes in financial indexes such as the U.S. Treasury Bill and the Prime Rate. They typically have a cap on how high they can rise.



A federal program that enables students to work part-time on campus to earn money for school. Financial aid applicants who demonstrate financial need and meet all deadlines and requirements will be considered for this program. Eligible students can work up to 20 hours a week (during the academic year) in an approved work-study job to earn the award amount. Students receive a biweekly paycheck, which may be used for living expenses and educational expenses.

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