Consortium Agreements

What is a Financial Aid Consortium Agreement?

A financial aid consortium agreement is a binding agreement between eligible schools that allows a student enrolled in a degree-granting or certificate program at one institution (the Home School) to study at and receive credit from a Host Institution for a limited time (usually one or two semesters).


Home School: The school at which the student is enrolled in a degree or certificate program.

Host School: The school at which the student will complete part of their program requirements through a consortium agreement.

Incoming Students (USC Is Your Host School)

USC is unable to participate in consortium agreements as a Host School. If you take courses at USC without being admitted to a degree- or certificate-granting program of study, you may be able to obtain financing through various non-federal/private loan programs. USC does not prefer, recommend, promote, endorse, or suggest any non-federal lender. USC does provide a list of private loan programs that USC students have borrowed from over the past three years.

Outgoing Students (USC Is Your Home School)

You are responsible for timely settlement of the Host School’s bill.

Any USC financial aid you may be eligible for cannot be disbursed until the consortium agreement is completed by the Host School. You are advised to arrange for payment (or deferment) of your tuition bill with the Host School. You are ultimately responsible for on-time payment of all charges at the Host School.

Additionally, aid cannot be disbursed retroactively for a semester that has already ended.

  • Consortium applicants need to be students admitted to a degree-granting or certificate program at USC. You will need to have finished applying for financial aid and meet all other eligibility requirements.

    To qualify for most types of aid available under a consortium agreement (see below), you must be enrolled at least half-time (6 total units for undergraduates; 4 total units for graduates). USC units may be included in this total if you are enrolling in coursework at both the Host School and USC concurrently.

    Pell Grant recipients with remaining Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility may be eligible for limited summer funds, even if enrolled in fewer than 6 total undergraduate units.

    Current USC students who have not been admitted to an eligible degree-granting or certificate program will not be eligible to receive financial aid under a consortium agreement. Consortium agreements are not available for students in the Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program or to students receiving financial aid under Preparatory Course Work.

  • In most cases, the USC Financial Aid Office can process limited funding if the student meets certain requirements and provides the necessary documentation (refer to the application for details).

    For eligible undergraduates, we can process:

    • Federal Pell Grants for students with remaining Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility. (Eligibility for summer Pell Grants may also depend on your financial need for the upcoming award year.)
    • Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans for students who have not already borrowed their full eligibility for the prior award year.
    • Federal Parent PLUS Loans, with credit approval.
    • Cal Grants, provided the Host School is located in California.

    For eligible graduates, we can process:

    • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans.
    • Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans, with credit approval.

    We cannot  process or disburse the following institutional or federal financial aid funds:

    • USC Scholarships
    • University Grants
    • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants
    • Federal Work-Study

    Students who wish to fund their studies at the Host School with private financing only do not need to complete a consortium agreement. Private loans can be borrowed through the Host School.

  • Once you have completed the application process (see Application Instructions below), USC will complete the following steps to disburse any aid that you may be eligible for.

    1. Using information provided in your application form, the USC Financial Aid Office sends an agreement document to the Host School contact for them to complete.
    2. The Host School returns the signed consortium agreement to USC Financial Aid. We cannot proceed until this document is returned to our office.
    3. Using information provided by the Host School in the agreement, the USC Registrar will register you in a placeholder “shell” course. This course will not result in a USC tuition charge, as you will be paying tuition to the Host School directly. Your aid cannot be disbursed otherwise. We encourage you to work with your academic advisor to clear any outstanding advisement requirements or activity restrictions on your account. Such restrictions can delay the registration process.
    4. Once you are enrolled in the “shell” course, the USC Financial Aid Office will package any aid you may be eligible for, up to but not exceeding the Host School’s total Cost of Attendance for that semester.
    5. If you are borrowing Federal Direct or PLUS loans, submit the applicable loan request forms for that semester. Links to these forms can be found in the Document Library of your Financial Aid Summary and Tasks (FAST) account.
    6. Once all eligibility requirements are met, aid will be disbursed to your account as a credit.
    7. If you are signed up for Direct Deposit, the credit may take 2 (two) to 3 (three) business days to transfer to your banking institution.  These funds may be applied directly to the Host School’s tuition bill. You can also reimburse yourself for any on-time, out-of-pocket payments you may have already made to the Host School. Payments should be made according to the Host School’s published deadline(s).

Application Instructions