Study abroad programs may affect your eligibility for certain types of financial aid.
Financial Aid for Department Sponsored Programs
Some departments have partnered with the Financial Aid Office to make automatic adjustments to the cost of attendance and financial aid packages for students accepted into their sponsored overseas programs. The Financial Aid Office currently makes automatic adjustments for the following programs:
If you are participating in a program that is not listed on any of the above department web pages, please see the “Other Programs and Courses Eligible for Aid” below.
To ensure that you receive the aid for which you are eligible:
Pay attention to financial aid application deadlines: Apply for financial aid as usual by submitting all your required documents by the posted deadlines. Please refer to the undergraduate or graduate student requirements listed in the Applying section of our website.
Inform the Financial Aid Office of any changes to your enrollment plans: Both undergraduate and graduate students should submit a new Financial Aid Supplement any time their enrollment plans for the study abroad semester differ from their current USC enrollment. For example, an undergraduate student enrolled full-time at USC, but enrolling in fewer than 12 units while studying abroad, will need to submit a Financial Aid Supplement so that we can adjust the cost of attendance.
Programs with a Lower Cost of Attendance
Most types of financial aid, including scholarships, grants, loans and tuition assistance benefits, are transferrable to official USC-sponsored study abroad programs. The amount of aid, however, will be adjusted based on the program-specific cost of attendance. Some types of financial aid may be reduced if the overseas program costs less than one semester of on-campus USC study. When we decrease your budget, we will reduce your financial aid in the following order:
1. University Grants.
2. Work-study (work-study cannot be used overseas).
Students receiving USC Merit Scholarships that cover tuition only (such as the Presidential and Trustee) may receive the same dollar amount they would receive at USC, as long as the awards are applied to tuition only. For example, if you have a Presidential award (a USC half-tuition award) of $16,660 per semester and your overseas tuition charge is $17,000, you can receive $16,660 toward the overseas tuition cost.
If you have a Presidential award (a USC half-tuition award) of $16,660 per semester and your overseas tuition charge is $5,000, you can receive $5,000 toward the overseas tuition cost.
USC Merit Scholarships will not be applied to any administrative fees charged by the overseas program.
Undergraduate students: Please notify our office if you or your family has new, special circumstances that should be considered in the calculation of your Student Aid Index (such as new out-of-pocket medical expenses or a recent job loss). For additional information, please see Special Circumstances and Appeals.
Programs with a Higher Cost of Attendance
Sometimes your overseas cost may exceed that of a standard USC semester. In this case, students and/or parents may be eligible to apply for additional loans through the Financial Aid Office to cover the additional cost. With these budget adjustments, it is important to note:
No additional grants (including federal, state or university) will be awarded to cover program costs that exceed the standard on-campus USC budget.
Students cannot receive work-study funds while they are studying abroad. Work-study funds will be replaced by additional loan eligibility.
If your expenses abroad are greater than those listed on your overseas cost sheet, you may submit a budget appeal to our office. Once we receive your appeal with documentation of your increased costs, we can adjust your budget accordingly.
Other Programs and Courses Eligible for Aid
The Student Travel Abroad website aggregates programs available to undergraduate students, including courses with overseas costs that may be eligible for additional federal loan funding.
If you are participating in a program that is not listed on any of the above department web pages, or in a specific degree-applicable course that requires a period of oversea travel, the Financial Aid Office may approve an appeal to increase your Estimated Cost of Attendance to cover costs associated with your trip.
To appeal, please request a memo from your academic advisor or program instructor detailing the estimated costs and upload it to your FAST page as a budget appeal (Appeal Concerning Increase in Estimated Cost of Attendance). The Financial Aid Office will evaluate the program to determine if it is eligible for financial aid.
Programs Ineligible for Federal, State, and University Aid
The university also offers overseas programs that do not offer course credit or satisfy course or degree requirements, usually during non-enrollment periods or spring breaks. We may be able to increase your Cost of Attendance to include costs incurred by such programs, but the increase can be funded with private loans only. Known programs include but are not limited to:
ExCEL: International Experiential Corporate Learning Program: This program may be offered during winter break (between enrollment periods) or during spring break. It is not offered for course credit.
Externship Program: This program may be offered during spring break. Even though it occurs during an enrollment period, it is not course-related and does not earn credit toward a degree.
International Alternative Spring Break: This program is offered during spring break and does not earn credit toward a degree.
Various summer programs in which you enrolled less than half-time toward your degree (fewer than 6 units for undergraduates, or fewer than 4 units for graduates).
Programs Sponsored by Other Universities
Students who wish to establish a Consortium Agreement between USC and an overseas institution may do so. However, please be aware that only very limited types of financial aid are permitted under a Consortium Agreement and detailed conditions must be met. Interested students should review the Consortium Agreement Guide.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and Overseas Financial Aid
The Financial Aid Office is required by federal regulations to evaluate your satisfactory academic progress (SAP) before your aid for your next semester can be disbursed.
As overseas transcripts can be delayed, the Financial Aid Office may ensure timely disbursement of your next semester’s aid (after your overseas program) by performing an initial SAP evaluation based on the worst-case scenario of your failing all your overseas courses. For most undergraduates, this usually results in a temporary financial aid probationary period during which you will retain aid eligibility. Once your official overseas transcript is transmitted to the USC Office of Degree Progress, we can re-evaluate your SAP eligibility and lift the probationary status as applicable.
To prevent any delay in the submission of your transcript, please make sure you have paid any outstanding charges (housing and food/meals, etc.) you may owe the overseas institution.
When Can Students Expect to Receive Their Overseas Financial Aid?
Students studying abroad in the fall semester will receive their Financial Aid Summaries in mid-June. Students studying abroad in the spring semester will be notified of their financial aid status in early December. Students studying abroad in the summer semester will be notified in mid-April.
Your federal aid will be disbursed 10 days before the start of fall- and spring-semester overseas programs.
For the summer semester, federal aid will be disbursed on the first day of classes. Per federal regulations, the Financial Aid Office will not release any aid prior to the start of the program. If a program starts after the first day of USC classes, students should wait until all their aid has been disbursed, then contact our office to reverse any late fees or finance charges that may be assessed.