Special Circumstances

In some cases students may wish to submit information about their (family’s) special financial circumstances, or submit an appeal to request an adjustment to their financial aid eligibility.

How to Appeal

Submit your request, along with copies of appropriate supporting documentation as indicated, through the Required Info and Forms page of your student's FAST page. Make sure your student's USC ID number appears on each supporting document. He or she will be contacted if additional documentation is required.

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; and

Timeliness of your appeal and the nature of the change in circumstances.


We will notify you upon approval or denial of your appeal, or if we require additional information.

Change in Income or Resources

Families occasionally experience changes in income and/or resources (such as job loss, illness, etc.) during the application period and/or academic year. If this applies to you, notify the Financial Aid Office as early as possible.

Submit a request to the Financial Aid Office with the indicated required documentation. Examples of changes we can consider include, but are not limited to, the following:


Dependency Status

Strict guidelines set by both the federal government and the university govern dependency status. Almost all undergraduates are considered dependent for the purposes of awarding financial aid.

Undergraduates who meet certain conditions may be considered independent for the purposes of receiving federal and state aid (such as the Cal Grant, Federal Pell Grant and Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans). For complete details, please review the application instructions for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

To be considered independent for the purposes of receiving university financial aid, undergraduates must meet one of the following conditions:

You are at least 26 years of age by December 31 of the academic year you are admitted to USC.

At the time you complete your FAFSA, and at the time of entry to USC, you are married.

At the time you complete your FAFSA, and at the time of entry to USC, you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you during the award year and the summer preceding the award year.

You are an orphan or ward/dependent of the court.

You are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces with at least one year of full-time active duty service for purposes other than training.

You are an unaccompanied minor or youth who is homeless, or who is self-supporting and at risk of being homeless.

If parental information is required when you are admitted to USC, it will be required throughout your enrollment at USC, regardless of your age, marital status, or other changes in circumstances (excluding the death of both parents).

If you feel, however, that your particular situation would justify independent status, you may submit an appeal. Appeals should explain your circumstances in detail and include supporting documentation.