Here’s what to do to ensure that you receive your full financial aid funds in time to pay your tuition and fee bill.
Step 1: Obtaining Your Funds
You will need to complete some additional steps no later than 30 days before the start of your first semester. Click on the appropriate loan to find out what you need to do:
Grants and scholarships
Cal Grant A and Cal Grant B awards are credited automatically to your student account each semester when you enroll in classes, but no sooner than mid-July.
If you would like to have the Cal Grant B stipend (sometimes called the “Access” or “Books and Supplies” award) mailed directly to you in the form of a check, email a request to our office before your funds are disbursed. You will be responsible for paying any outstanding charges on your USC student account.
To qualify for work-study, you must demonstrate financial need, meet all application deadlines, be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen and enroll for the number of units your financial aid award was based on.
You will need to find a job in order to receive the funds.
Finding a Job
Most approved Federal Work-Study jobs are available on campus. We encourage you to apply to the ones that interest you and/or that complement your academic or career goals.
- Campus job openings are advertised on connectSC, a service of the Career Planning & Placement Center, and in the Daily Trojan. Jobs can also be found on flyers posted around campus and through word of mouth. Many USC departments accept walk-in applicants.
- Held the Friday before the first week of each semester, the annual USC Job Fair is an excellent opportunity to look for an on-campus job. To register, please visit the connectSC website.
You will need to present your Social Security card and driver’s license or passport. Be sure to bring these with you from home to avoid any delays in the hiring process.
Student workers are allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours per week when USC is in session, and a maximum of 40 hours per week during vacations, with your employer’s permission.
Work-study awards range from $800 to $3,500 per year.
You will receive a paycheck from your employer every two weeks. Funds can be used for personal and miscellaneous expenses that are not billed by the university.
When your total earnings equal the amount of your award, you must stop working, unless your employer agrees to hire you as a non–work-study employee. You may appeal to have your work-study award increased but increases depend on available funds.
If you were not awarded work-study, or you need to earn more than the maximum amount permitted, you can look for a non–work-study job on campus (such as through USC Auxiliary Services, the USC Bookstore or USC Transportation).
IMPORTANT: Work-study funds are designed to help you meet your daily or monthly expenses and must be earned over the course of the semester. You will not be able to use your work-study award to pay your university bill, which is due before the semester begins.
For information about terms and conditions, visit your Financial Aid Summary and Tasks (FAST) page.
For information about the federal tax implications for your financial aid, contact your tax advisor or the Internal Revenue Service.
Scholarship funds from sources outside USC may replace a portion of the loans and Federal Work-Study in your Financial Aid Summary.
You may be able to convert unused Federal Work-Study eligibility to Federal Direct PLUS or private loan funds. Email the Financial Aid Office, explaining why you are unable to use the full amount of your Federal Work-Study eligibility, and specify the amount that you would like to convert to loans.
Step 2. Managing the Family Contribution
Students and families can choose from a range of options to cover any remaining balance on the student’s tuition and fee bill.
- Pay the USC Cashier’s Office directly from savings or current income.
- Sign up for the USC Payment Plan, which allows students to establish an interest-free line of credit for tuition, fees, university housing and other student expenses. The plan is billed in five monthly installments per semester. The application fee is $50. Visit the Student Financial Services website to learn more.
- Use the USC Pre-payment Plan, which allows participants to prepay up to five years of full-time tuition and mandatory fees for their admitted student(s). More information can be found on the Student Financial Services website.
- Borrow loans for all or part of this amount. Be sure to borrow enough to cover the entire academic year.
Start with the Direct Parent PLUS Loan, which features a fixed interest rate and does not require collateral or impose an early repayment penalty.
If (and only if) the family’s application for a Direct Parent PLUS Loan is denied, students may borrow an additional Direct Loan to cover part of the family contribution.
In most cases, students who apply for private financing to cover all or part of the family contribution will need to apply with a credit-worthy co-borrower, which may substantially reduce interest and fees on a private loan. We encourage borrowers to thoroughly read the lender’s terms and conditions before signing for private loans.
If your family experiences any unforeseen changes to income or expenses, and you would like us to re-evaluate your financial aid package, visit Special Circumstances and Appeals.