USC maintains a strong commitment to financial aid for undergraduate students. Funding for student financial aid continues to increase so that we may continue to meet each student’s demonstrated financial need.

How much financial aid does USC award to undergraduates?
  • Financial aid from all university sources exceeds $285 million.
  • The total of all gift aid to undergraduates is more than $305 million, including federal and state grants.
  • Over $465 million in financial aid was awarded from all sources for 2013-14 (including work-study and loans).
  • Need-based grant funding has increased by 42 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.
What percentage of USC’s undergraduates receive financial aid?
  • Two-thirds of USC undergraduates receive some sort of financial aid, including need-based grants, merit scholarships, Federal Work-Study and loans. Among the 2013 entering first-year class, more than 70 percent received some form of financial assistance, with nearly 30 percent receiving a USC merit-based scholarship.
  • USC enrolls more than 4,250 low-income undergraduate students (as defined by Pell Grant eligibility) more than most private research universities. In fall 2013, 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.
  • 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 financial need for students who satisfy all deadlines and eligibility requirements.
How does the student loan debt of USC’s undergraduates compare to graduates nationally?

Statistics regarding student loan debt and default rates vary, which makes direct comparisons difficult.

Student Debt
  • Approximately 45 percent of USC undergraduates borrow from the Federal Direct Stafford Loan program.
  • Approximately 11 percent of USC undergraduate families borrow from the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan program; fewer than 4 percent borrow private loans.
  • The average cumulative amount borrowed through the Perkins and Stafford federal loan programs by graduates of the class of 2013 (who entered USC as first-time students) was $23,665. This amount excludes private and parent loans.
  • The Institute for College Access and Success ( estimates that 70 percent of all college seniors who graduated in 2012 had student loan debt, with an average of $29,400 for those with loans. USC’s average for the class of 2012 was $23,289. The national average includes public and private institutions. For students at private schools the average is estimated at $32,300.
Cohort Default Rate
  • 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 2011 is 1.8 percent.
    • The three-year official cohort default rate for fiscal year 2010 for all institutions is 14.7 percent. For public institutions, the cohort default rate is 13.0 percent, and for private institutions the cohort default rate is 8.2 percent. (USC's official three-year cohort default rate for fiscal year 2010 is 2.2 percent.)
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