Types of Aid
Undergraduate financial aid includes grants, merit scholarships, loans and Federal Work-Study. It can be awarded according to a student’s and family’s financial need (need-based) or according to the cost of attendance (non–need-based).
Grants are types of financial aid that do not have to be repaid. Sources for grants and scholarships include federal and state governments, the university, your academic department or professional school, community and civic groups, and private industry.
The following grants are awarded based on financial need:
Grant funds may be used for tuition, fees, books, housing, meals or other educational expenses.
You must be pursuing your first bachelor’s degree and meet all annual application deadlines and eligibility requirements. Only full-time students may receive the full University Grant. Three-quarter and half-time students who demonstrate sufficient USC-determined financial need and meet all application deadlines may be eligible for limited University Grant funds. You must re-apply every year.
Renewing your grant
You must reapply every year by the deadline and meet the eligibility requirements to be considered for a University Grant in future years. Your award amount may change, based on your USC-determined financial need, housing plans, enrollment and the timeliness of your financial aid application.
Cal Grants (for California residents only)
CAL GRANT A
Grant funds may be used for payment of tuition and mandatory fees only.
CAL GRANT B
Provides a first-year stipend for living expenses only (including supplies and books). In subsequent years, the grant also helps pay for tuition and fees.
You must be a full-time student at USC and meet all general eligibility requirements to receive the full Cal Grant A or B amount. Selection of recipients is based on a composite score that takes into consideration your family's income, parents' educational level, your GPA, and other factors such as coming from a single-parent household. For the Cal Grant A, you need a minimum 3.0 GPA. For the Cal Grant B, the minimum GPA is 2.0. Please visit www.calgrants.org for more information.
Cal Grants are pro-rated for half-time and three-quarter-time enrollment. Grant amounts vary, depending on your financial need and whether you have other awards designated to cover your tuition and fees. The maximum eligibility for a Cal Grant is four years (five years for architecture majors). Your eligibility for a Cal Grant will be determined each year based on your family income and assets. It is possible to lose your eligibility for a Cal Grant if your family income or assets increase in future years. Please visit the California Student Aid Commission website for more information on how to renew your Cal Grant.
California Dream Act Cal Grant
This California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) state grant program now provides AB540-eligible students the opportunity to apply for Cal Grant A and Cal Grant B via the California Dream Act application. To be eligible, students must:
Have attended a (public or private) high school in California for three or more years;
Have graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent of a high school diploma; and
Be registered as an entering student, or be currently enrolled, at an accredited institution of higher education in California.
A student without lawful immigration status must file an AB540 Affidavit (California Non-Resident Tuition Exemption Request form) with the institution of higher education they will be attending, stating that the student has filed or will file an application to legalize his or her immigration status as soon as he or she is eligible to do so. Males age 18 and over must also register with the Selective Service System before receiving the grant.
California Dream Act Cal Grant recipients are selected based on the eligibility criteria outlined in the California Dream Act Application and on the timeliness of their application. California Dream Act Applications must be received by March 4. Late applications will not be considered for financial aid. Please visit https://dream.csac.ca.gov for more information and an application. Undergraduates awarded a California Dream Grant, and who meet all other eligibility requirements, are considered for limited university funding.
Funds may be used for tuition, fees, books, room, board or other educational expenses. This grant is provided by the federal government.
You must be pursuing your first bachelor’s degree and meet all annual application deadlines and eligibility requirements. Only full-time students may receive the full Pell Grant amount. The grant is prorated for three-quarter, half-time or less-than-half-time enrollment. Your actual award amount is based on your financial need. You must reapply each year.
USC administers more than a dozen prestigious scholarship programs, ranging in value from a few thousand dollars up to full tuition. Unlike loans, scholarships do not have to be repaid. They are awarded based on academic excellence, leadership, service, and talent.
For more information about the various scholarship programs available, click here.
Many academic departments offer merit-based scholarships. Specific information about eligibility requirements and awarding procedures is available from the individual academic units.
Leventhal School of Accounting
Marshall School of Business
Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry
Rossier School of Education
Viterbi School of Engineering
Viterbi School of Engineering: Scholarship Board
Viterbi School of Engineering: Women in Engineering
Roski School of Art and Design
Davis School of Gerontology
Gould School of Law
Keck School of Medicine
Thornton School of Music
Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy
Sol Price School of Public Policy
Social Work: MAT @ USC
Some departments provide their scholarships in the form of a monthly stipend that is paid directly to the student receiving the award. Stipend payments are made monthly according to the stipend schedule.
The University of Southern California offers scholarships in 21 sports. For more information about USC’s athletics programs, please visit the USC Trojans website.
Estimated Full Cost of Attendance
The estimated cost of attendance for the academic year is published here.
Athletic scholarships can be awarded as a fixed dollar amount or as a percentage of the value of the Cost of Attendance. The full Cost of Attendance is calculated annually based on the following costs determined by the Financial Aid Office:
Housing and Dining/Meals
Students on athletic scholarships receive all required and recommended textbooks for their enrolled classes. The actual value of books received by students is dependent on students’ course schedules.
Full-time students receiving an athletic scholarship equivalent to 1 percent of the full Cost of Attendance receive the required and recommended textbooks for all registered classes.
Full-time students receiving an athletic scholarship between 2 and approximately 76 percent of the full Cost of Attendance receive required textbooks and a scholarship to cover tuition and mandatory fees. The amount for tuition and fees depends on the scholarship equivalency.
Full-time students with an athletic scholarship ranging from approximately 77 to 100 percent of the full Cost of Attendance receive required textbooks, a scholarship covering tuition and mandatory fees, and a stipend for housing and dining/meals, transportation and miscellaneous expenses. Stipend amounts for housing and dining/meals, transportation and miscellaneous expenses depend on the scholarship equivalency.
Summer Enrollment & Costs
For information about the awarding of summer athletic scholarships, please contact Student-Athlete Academic Services.
The duration of athletic scholarships is determined by USC and specified in the athletics financial aid agreement. Athletic scholarships can range from one to five years.
Scholarship Appeal Process
Students are notified by July 1 that their athletic scholarships will be renewed for the upcoming academic year, renewed at a lower amount, or not renewed. If a scholarship is renewed at a lower amount or is not renewed, the student may appeal this decision with the Financial Aid Office. To review the appeal process, please click here.
Federal Work-Study & Other Employment
Federal Work-Study provides part-time jobs for undergraduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the student’s course of study. Most of these jobs are on campus, but some opportunities are also available with local nonprofit agencies.
You must demonstrate financial need, meet all application deadlines, be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen and enroll for the number of units upon which your Financial Aid Summary was based (undergraduates) or take at least 8 units for credit each semester (graduate and professional school students).
You will not be able to use your work-study award to pay your university bill. The bill is due before the semester begins, but you must earn your work-study funds over the course of the semester.
Loans are sums of money borrowed from federal or private agencies to help finance the expected family contribution. Loans must be repaid once the student graduates or otherwise drops below half-time enrollment.
For more information, please visit the Loans section of our website.