- USC maintains a strong commitment to financial aid for undergraduate students. Funding for student financial aid increases every year so that we may continue to meet each student’s demonstrated financial need.
- USC is need-blind in its admission process. Ability to pay, or a student's interest in financial aid, has no bearing on admission decisions.
- We work with families to meet the full demonstrated need for students who satisfy all deadline and eligibility requirements.
- Financial aid from all university sources exceeds $300 million.
- Over $500 million in financial aid was awarded from all sources for 2014-15 (including work-study and loans).
- The total of gift aid to undergraduates from all sources (university, federal, state, other) is more than $360 million, which represents more than 71% of all aid awarded.
- Need-based university grant funding has increased by 50 percent since 2009.
- A major goal of the current fundraising campaign is to raise over one billion dollars in endowment funds to provide additional scholarships and grants for USC students.
- Two-thirds of USC undergraduates receive some sort of financial aid, including need-based grants, merit scholarships, Federal Work-Study and loans. Among the 2014 entering first-year class, more than two-thirds received some form of financial assistance, while more than 25 percent received a USC merit-based scholarship.
- USC enrolls more than 4,300 low-income undergraduate students (as defined by Pell Grant eligibility), more than most private research universities. In fall 2014, nearly 24 percent of enrolled undergraduates received Pell Grants. Most importantly, low-income and under-represented minority students at USC graduate at rates comparable to the overall undergraduate population.
Statistics regarding student loan debt and default rates vary, which makes direct comparisons difficult.
- Approximately 50 percent of USC undergraduates borrow from any loan program (including federal, parent, and/or private loans).
- Approximately 44% of the graduates of the Class of 2014 (who entered USC as first-time students) borrowed from federal student loan programs (includes Federal Direct Stafford Loan and Federal Perkins Loan but excludes parent and/or private loans). The average cumulative amount borrowed by these students was $24,034.
- Approximately 9 percent of USC undergraduate families borrow from the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan program; fewer than about 3 percent access private loans funding.
- The Institute for College Access and Success estimates that almost 70 percent of all college seniors who graduated in 2013 had student loan debt, with an average of $28,400 for those with loans. USC’s average for the class of 2013 was $22,918. The national average includes public and private non-profit institutions. For students at private non-profit schools such as USC, it is estimated that 75% of students borrowed an average of $32,600.
The US Department of Education issues official cohort default rates for participating schools. The cohort default rate is the percentage of a school’s federal student loan borrowers who enter repayment within the cohort fiscal year and default within the cohort default period. This default rate may affect a school's participation in various student aid programs.
- USC’s three-year draft cohort default rate for fiscal year 2012-13 is 1.3 percent.
- USC's three-year official cohort default rate for fiscal year 2011-12 is 1.8 percent.
- For all institutions, the three-year official cohort default rate for fiscal year 2011-12 is 13.7 percent. For all public institutions, the cohort default rate is 12.9 percent, and for all private non-profit institutions the cohort default rate is 7.2 percent.