Undergraduate Prospective Students

Types of Aid

Undergraduate financial aid includes grants, merit scholarships, loans and Federal Work-Study. Aid can be based either on a student’s and family’s financial need (need-based) or on 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:

University Grant

Grant funds may be used for tuition, fees, books, housing, food, 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 reapply 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)


These funds may be used for payment of tuition and mandatory fees only.


These funds provide a first-year stipend for living expenses only (including books and supplies). 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 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 the Bachelor of Architecture major). 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 neet to:

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.

In addition:
Students 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 they have filed or will file an application to legalize their immigration status as soon as they are eligible to do so. Males aged 18 and over must also register with the Selective Service System before receiving the 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 2. Late applications will not be considered for financial aid. Please visit dream.csac.ca.gov for more information and an application. Undergraduates who are awarded a California Dream Grant and meet all other eligibility requirements are considered for limited university funding.

Pell Grant

Funds may be used for tuition, fees, books, housing, food, or other educational expenses. This grant is provided by the federal government. For more information, please visit studentaid.gov


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, please visit the Admission website.

Departmental Awards

Many academic departments offer merit-based scholarships. Specific information about eligibility requirements and awarding procedures is available from the individual academic units.

Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences
Marshall School of Business
Cinematic Arts
Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry
Dramatic Arts
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
Mann School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Sol Price School of Public Policy
Dworak-Peck School of Social Work


Some departments provide their scholarships in the form of a monthly stipend paid directly to the scholarship recipient. Stipend payments are made monthly according to the stipend schedule.

Athletic Awards

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 on our website.

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 amounts determined by the Financial Aid Office:


Mandatory Fees

Required Textbooks

Housing and Dining/Meals


Miscellaneous Expenses

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 summer athletic scholarships, please contact Student-Athlete Academic Services.

Scholarship Duration

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 refer to this PDF.


Federal Work-Study & Other Employment

Federal Work-Study provides part-time jobs for undergraduate students with exceptional 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 that your Financial Aid Summary was based on (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. Please visit studentaid.gov for more information.



Loans are sums of money borrowed from federal or private agencies to help finance the expected family contribution. Loans must be repaid once you graduate or otherwise drop below half-time enrollment.

For more information, please visit the Loans section of our website.