Eligibility Requirements

Before you apply for financial aid, make sure you meet the following requirements.

All financial aid applicants must:

  • Be U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens.
  • Possess a valid Social Security number.
  • Be registered with the Selective Service System (if applicable).
  • Not be in default on a prior federal student loan.
  • Be admitted to a degree-granting program of study or an eligible certificate program at USC.
  • Be enrolled in a minimum of 4 units per semester in a master’s degree program, or 3 units in a doctoral program, or be enrolled in a course considered full-time by the registrar (thesis/dissertation).
  • Make satisfactory academic progress toward completion of their degree.

Maintaining Your Eligibility

Federal and state regulations require that financial aid recipients show satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward their degree objective(s).

Please note: The SAP policy differs by grade level. Undergraduate students should visit our Maintaining Your Eligibility page for more information.


  • To satisfy USC’s satisfactory academic progress requirements, students must:

    • Meet a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA).
    • Earn a minimum number of units for credit each semester (Pace of Progression).
    • Complete their degree objective(s) within a maximum number of semesters and a maximum number of attempted units (Maximum Time Frame Allowance).

    You may also wish to review our graduate SAP Policy brochure or the USC Catalogue.

    If you do not meet all of the criteria listed above, a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal may be necessary.

  • Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form

    Please refer to the USC Catalogue for details regarding the SAP review and appeal process.

    If you have been academically disqualified or if you have an activity restriction that prevents you from registering for classes, you may submit an SAP Appeal, but your appeal will not be considered until you have resolved those activity restrictions.

    Your SAP Appeal must include both the Academic Plan and Student’s Letter of Appeal.

    SAP Appeal Form with Academic Plan

    You and your academic advisor must submit an academic plan to our office. We encourage you and your advisor to discuss any concerns you might have about your proposed coursework before submitting your appeal. The information they provide will considerably influence our review. It is important that your academic advisor sign the form and provide their contact information.

    Student’s Letter of Appeal

    You must submit a statement with your Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form explaining the reason for your appeal.

    If your appeal concerns a pace of progression or GPA deficiency, you should provide a detailed account of:

    • What caused your work at USC to fall below acceptable standards. Think carefully and be specific.
    • How those conflicts have been resolved.
    • How you intend to maintain good academic standards and progress toward your degree if your appeal is granted.

    If your appeal concerns the maximum time frame allowance, please explain why you need more time to complete your program of study.

    Statements should be typed and no more than two pages. If you have any supporting documentation, please submit it with this form.

    If Your Appeal Is Approved

    Academic Considerations: You will be expected to meet the enrollment and grade point goals set for each semester. We encourage you and your academic advisor to be realistic when planning the number of units you will complete each semester.

    Financial Consideration: Your appeal will be funded with financial aid funds available at the time your appeal is reviewed.

    If Your Appeal Is Denied

    Students who are not eligible for federal and university financial aid may be eligible for private loan financing and/or the USC Payment Plan.

    How to Submit Your Appeal

    Submit your letter and documentation to the Financial Aid Office via your USC FAST page.

    Appeal Funding

    Re-evaluation of your financial aid eligibility is subject to federal, state and university regulations, and is based on:

    • Availability of funds.
    • Timeliness of your original application for financial aid.
    • Timeliness of your appeal and the nature of the change in circumstances.


    We will notify you of our decision or if we need additional information.