ROTC & Veterans

Using Veteran Education Benefits at USC

ROTC and U.S. military veterans are encouraged to apply for all types of financial aid they may be eligible for. The following information explains how any GI benefits you may receive will be coordinated with your financial aid.

How to receive any GI Bill education benefits and/or financial aid

The following video covers how to receive any GI Bill education benefits and/or financial aid you may be eligible for, and how to manage the payment of your student fee bill.

Veteran’s Benefits and Financial Aid

Based on their eligibility, ROTC students and veterans can be considered for scholarships, grants, low-interest loans and Federal Work-Study.

Federal Need-Based Aid
Includes Federal Direct Student Loans and Pell Grants.

In general, because ROTC and veteran’s benefits are not considered as part of your monthly “income,” they are excluded from calculations of your eligibility for federal need-based financial aid.

For more information about how GI benefits impact your federal financial aid, please refer to this PDF provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

University Aid
Includes USC Merit Scholarships and the University Grant.

The process of awarding merit scholarships is separate from the financial aid process. You will be automatically considered for scholarships administered by the Office of Admission. Scholarships offered by other USC organizations may require a separate application.

University Grants are administered by USC and awarded based on financial need.

Cal Grants
Grants are awarded to California residents who meet the eligibility criteria and are pursuing an undergraduate degree.

For California residents pursuing a first bachelor’s degree, GI benefits are also excluded from calculations of your eligibility for Cal Grants.

Awards in Excess of Your Total Cost of Attendance

If the combined amount of your GI benefits and your need-based financial aid exceeds your total cost of attendance, your University Grant may be reduced.

Student A applies for need-based financial aid at USC. Her cost of attendance for the academic year is $55,578. Her estimated family contribution (EFC) is $14,758, so her calculated need is $40,820. Her ROTC/VB educational benefits would be excluded from the calculation of her financial need. She would receive her normal financial aid as follows:


Need Financial Aid $40,820
Loans $8,500
Work-Study $3,250
University Grant $29,070
Total $40,820


However, Student A will also receive $22,000 in ROTC/VB educational benefits for the academic year. Added to her need-based financial aid, this exceeds her cost of attendance. Therefore, her University Grant will be reduced as follows:


Cost of Attendance: $55,578
Need-based aid -$40,820
ROTC/VB benefits -$22,000
Difference -$7,242

Student A’s University Grant will be reduced by $7,242 to $21,828.

USC Merit Scholarships & ROTC Awards

Students receiving an ROTC sponsorship: A USC Merit Scholarship may replace the additional $4,000 ROTC award. Please refer to the Scholarship Guide.

GI Benefits or ROTC Awards and Tuition-Only Awards

Some awards are restricted to paying for tuition only. These include the Cal Grant and some types of scholarships. The total amount of these awards, plus the tuition-payment portion of your GI Benefits or ROTC award, cannot exceed the total cost of tuition.

How Do I Apply for Financial Aid?

Undergraduate students must complete the FAFSA and the CSS Profile, as well as submit any requested tax information. For more information about applying for financial aid at USC, please visit one of the following pages:

Applying (Undergraduates)

Applying (Graduates & Professionals)

Receiving Loans

Once your eligibility for financial aid has been determined, be sure to complete the “Next Steps” outlined on your Financial Aid Summary to apply for any loans in your package. For more information about loans, including Federal Direct PLUS Loans or private financing, please visit the Loans page.

Appeals for Additional Funding

Below is an example of what happens if an appeal increases your eligibility for need-based aid. Student A’s initial award included:


Cost of Attendance: $55,578
Need $40,820
Financial Aid
Loans $8,500
Work-Study $3,250
University Grant $29,070
Total $40,820


Coordinating her GI benefits with her financial aid resulted in the following change:


Cost of Attendance: $55,578
Need $40,820
Financial Aid & ROTC/VB
Loans $8,500
Work-Study $3,250
University Grant $21,828
ROTC/VB $22,000
Total $55,578


Student A then completed an appeal. Her cost of attendance was increased to include higher-than-average living expenses:


Standard costs for off-campus room and board $11,580
Student A’s costs $12,000
Increase to Student A’s Cost of Attendance $420
Cost of Attendance: $55,998
Need $41,240
Financial Aid & ROTC/VB
Loans $8,500
Work-Study $3,250
University Grant $22,248
ROTC/VB $22,000
Total $55,998


Student A’s University Grant has been increased to cover the new cost of attendance.

Please note, however, that the University Grant cannot be increased above the initial award amount (in this case, $29,070), regardless of the final cost of attendance.

For more information about appeals, please visit the Special Circumstances and Appeals page for your grade level.

More Information

USC Veterans Certification Office (including Yellow Ribbon Program information)

U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs