Investing in Your Future


Even if your eligibility for financial aid is limited to Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans, a number of programs are available to help you and your family cover the USC cost of attendance.

We encourage you and your family to explore the following options and work with a personal financial advisor to choose the ones that best meet your needs. Keep in mind that many USC families start with cash and savings on hand, and then combine two or more of the programs listed below to maximize the benefits of each.

USC Payment Options

USC Payment Plan
This interest-free plan allows students and families to pay semester tuition and fees in monthly installments. Many USC families combine the USC Payment Plan with financing options. You can determine what to pay through cash or savings each year and finance the balance as needed.

USC Prepayment Plan
Prepayment allows students and families to prepay two to five years of full-time tuition and fees, locking in future tuition at current rates.

Learn more: Student Financial Services

Private College 529 Plan

USC participates in the Private College 529 Plan. Owned and operated by 285 private colleges and universities across the country, this plan allows families to pre-purchase college tuition at today’s prices. The plan protects families from tuition increases (roughly 3-5 percent a year), guaranteed and tax free. There may still be time for your family to participate in the Private College 529.

Learn more: or 1-888-718-7878

Long-term Financing Options

We recommend starting with the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan program. Parent PLUS Loans are available regardless of income or financial need. Financing options can be combined with the USC Payment and Prepayment plans, as well as the Private College 529 Plan.

Federal Parent PLUS Loans
Offered through the Department of Education, the credit-based Parent PLUS Loan offers a fixed interest rate that may be more favorable than private loans. One or both parents may borrow loans. If the application is denied, they may apply with a credit-worthy co-borrower.

Learn more:

Private Loans
Private loans are credit-based and may be obtained through banks or other lending institutions. Terms may not be as favorable as those for federal loans.

You can research private lenders using ELM Select, which displays a neutral list (in random order) of private lenders that USC students have borrowed from within the past three years.

USC does not prefer, recommend, promote, endorse or suggest any of these lenders and will process loans from any eligible lender the student chooses.

Federal 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.

Learn more: Private Financing


At USC, merit-based aid is administered through the Office of Admission and various departments and organizations across campus. The financial aid application process is separate from and has no influence on the merit scholarship process.

If you have not been selected as a USC scholarship recipient, consider applying for scholarships offered by outside organizations or agencies. We recommend starting with local scholarship opportunities where you will be the most competitive.

Learn more: Scholarship Universe

Special Circumstances

If your family experiences a change in its financial situation (such as a job loss or extended illness), you may request a re-evaluation of your financial aid application.

Learn more: Special Circumstances and Appeals


Financial aid counselors are available to answer any questions you may have.

Contact us: