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

Using Veteran Education Benefits at USC

The following video can help ensure that you receive any G.I. Bill education benefits, as well as any financial aid, for which you may be eligible and help you manage the payment of your student fee bill.

What type of aid can I receive?

If eligible, ROTC students and veterans can be considered for scholarships, grants, low-interest loans and Federal Work-Study.

Federal Need-Based Aid:
Includes Federal Direct Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans and Pell Grants.

University Aid:
Includes USC’s merit scholarships, the University Grant, and graduate assistantships and fellowships.

How will my G.I. benefits affect my federal financial aid?

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 California residents pursuing a first bachelor’s degree, G.I. benefits are also excluded from calculations of your eligibility for Cal Grants. For more information about how G.I. benefits impact your federal financial aid, please refer to this PDF provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

More information about regulations governing ROTC and veteran’s benefits can be found here.

How will my G.I. benefits affect my university financial aid?

Undergraduate Students

In general, your G.I. benefits will be excluded from calculations of your eligibility for need-based financial aid.

If, however, the combined amount of your G.I. 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: $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, available here.

G.I. Benefits or ROTC awards and Tuition-only awards

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

Apply for Financial Aid

How do I apply for financial aid?

Undergraduate students must complete both the FAFSA and the CSS/PROFILE and tax information.

Graduate students must complete both the FAFSA and USC’s Supplemental Form. For more information about applying for financial aid at USC, please click here.

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


Both undergraduate and graduate students receiving G.I. benefits may appeal for additional funding.

Undergraduate Students

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

Coordinating her G.I. benefits with her financial resulted in the following change:

Cost of Attendance: $55,578
Need: $40,820

Loans: $8,500
Work-Study: $3,250
University Grant: $21,828
ROTC/VB benefits: $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
Loans: $8,500
Work-Study: $3,250
University Grant: $22,248
ROTC/VB benefits: $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

Other Resources

USC Veterans Certification Office (including Yellow Ribbon Program information)

Department of Veteran's Affairs

Several financing options exist to help you pay your USC expenses. We encourage you to take advantage of the financial resources USC has to offer and are here to help answer any questions you may have. Financial aid counselors are available by phone, e-mail, or in person. For more information, please visit

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