Maintaining Your Eligibility
Basic Requirements for Need-Based Financial Aid
All applicants to USC can apply for financial aid if they:
- Are a U.S. citizen; eligible noncitizen such as permanent resident, refugee or asylee; or undocumented meeting certain criteria;
- Possess a valid Social Security number (if required); and
- Are registered with the Selective Service System (if applicable).
To receive any aid for which they may be eligible, applicants must meet all published deadlines and submit any additional information that we have requested. Applicants who miss any published deadline may be considered for reduced funds.
Although international students are not eligible to receive federal or USC need-based financial aid, they may be awarded merit scholarships and/or other departmental awards.
Additionally, international students may apply for some private loans with a qualified cosigner who is a U.S. citizen.
Please visit the International Student web page for more information.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Federal and state regulations require that financial aid recipients show Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward their degree objective.
Please note: The SAP policy differs by grade level. Graduate students should visit the Graduate Student Page for more information.
Understanding the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy
To satisfy USC’s Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements, students must:
- Meet a minimum grade point average (GPA);
- Earn a minimum number of units for credit each semester (Pace of Progression); and
- Complete their degree objective within a maximum number of semesters and a maximum number of attempted units (Maximum Time Frame Allowance).
If you fail to meet any of the criteria listed above, you may need to submit a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal.
Submitting a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal
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 those activity restrictions have been resolved.
Your 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. The information provided by your advisor will considerably influence our review. Before submitting your appeal, you should discuss any concerns you might have about your proposed coursework with your advisor. 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 is regarding your pace of progression or GPA, provide a detailed account of:
- What caused your work at USC to fall below acceptable standards? Think carefully and be specific.
- How have those conflicts been resolved?
- How do you intend to maintain good academic standards and progress toward your degree if your appeal is granted?
If your appeal is regarding the maximum time frame allowance, please explain why you need more time to complete your program of study.
Statements should be typed and not 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.
How to Submit Your Appeal
Upload your letter and documentation online through your FAST account.
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 appeal and the nature of the change in circumstances.
We will notify you once your appeal has been approved or denied, or if we require additional information.
Please see the USC Catalogue for details regarding SAP review and the appeal process.