Strict guidelines set by both the federal government and the university govern dependency status. Almost all undergraduates are considered dependent, and graduate students are considered independent for the purposes of awarding financial aid. 

Undergraduates who meet certain conditions may be considered independent for the purposes of receiving federal and state aid (such as the Cal Grant, Federal Pell Grant, Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford loans.) For complete details, please review the application instructions for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

To be considered independent for the purposes of receiving university financial aid, undergraduates must meet one of the following conditions:

  • You are at least 26 years of age before January 1 of the year you were admitted to USC.
  • At the time you complete your FAFSA, and at the time of entry to USC, you are married.
  • At the time you complete your FAFSA, and at the time of entry to USC, you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you during the award year and the summer preceding the award year.

  • You are an orphan or ward/dependent of the court.

  • You are a veteran with at least one year of full-time active duty service for purposes other than training.

If parental information is required when you are admitted to USC, you will be required to submit parental information throughout your enrollment at USC, regardless of your age, marital status, or other changes in circumstances (excluding the death of both parents). 

If you feel, however, that your particular situation would justify independent status, you may submit a written appeal.  Appeals should explain your circumstances in detail and include supporting documentation.

 

 

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