• 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.
How much financial aid does USC award to undergraduates?
  • 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.
How many 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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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