About Loans

Many students and families borrow from federal and private loan programs to assist in financing a college education. Loans are considered part of the family’s investment in a student’s education and become the student’s and/or family’s responsibility to manage and repay once the student graduates.

Regardless of lender, loans must be repaid with interest and, in many cases, include additional fees to obtain (origination fees).

Compare loan programs, then choose the one that best suits your needs and goals.

Do not take on more debt than you can handle. Borrow only what you need.


Loans at USC

USC participates in the Direct Loan Program, which offers low-interest, federally backed loans to undergraduate and graduate students. Loans may be based on your financial need (need-based) or on your overall cost of attendance (credit-based).

Loans for Undergraduate Students and Their Parents

Direct Subsidized Loans
Direct Unsubsidized Loans
Direct Parent PLUS Loans (credit-based, for parents of dependent students)
Private Financing*

Loans for Graduate Students

Direct Unsubsidized Loans
Direct Graduate PLUS Loans
Private Financing*

Health Professions Student Loans
Loans for Disadvantaged Students
Institutional Loans

*Loan Disclosure: Federal student loans are required by law to provide a range of flexible repayment options, including, but not limited to, Income-Based Repayment and Income-Contingent Repayment plans, and loan forgiveness benefits, which other student loans are not required to provide. Federal Direct Loans are available to students regardless of income.

Private student loans may not be included in Federal Direct Consolidation Loans, and are not eligible for Federal Income-Based Repayment Plans or for Federal Economic Hardship Deferments.

Once a student has reached aggregate maximum limits for Federal Direct Loans, USC may refuse to originate federal loans or may reduce eligibility for federal loans on a case-by-case basis.



Manage My Loans

Need Help?

Contact the Department of Education’s Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) Applicant Services at (800) 848-0978 or visit them at

This service is available to borrowers who have experienced difficulties with the website or need assistance with:

Parent and Graduate PLUS Credit Application Appeals

Parent and Graduate PLUS Endorser Applications

Master Promissory Notes (MPN)

Entrance or Exit Counseling


An ombudsman is an independent, neutral official authorized to investigate and resolve disputes between individuals and public agencies or authorities. The Federal Student Aid (FSA) Ombudsman acts on the behalf of loan borrowers to conduct informal, impartial investigations into complaints against loan agencies, servicers and companies. They will recommend solutions, but they do not have the authority to reverse decisions. They will also work to institute changes that will prevent future problems for other student loan borrowers. This free service is provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

The Ombudsman will research your complaint and determine if you have been treated fairly. If your student loan complaint is justified, they will work with you and the office, agency, or company involved. They will also contact other offices within the U.S. Department of Education, your private lender, your loan guaranty agency, and the servicing agency or firm collecting your loan.

If your complaint is not justified, they will explain to you how the determination was reached.

For more information, please visit the Student Aid website or call (800) 433-3243.

Federal Student Aid Publications

The U.S. Department of Education publishes several guides to understanding the Federal Direct Loan process and borrower's rights and responsibilities. You can visit their Federal Student Aid Publications website to review important information.