University of Southern California
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Graduate and Professional Education

Financial Aid for Graduate Students

Graduate students at USC benefit from federal financial aid programs administered by the Financial Aid Office and from scholarships, fellowships and assistantships, which are administered by the Graduate School and various academic departments. In support of the university's commitment to diversity, fellowships are available for students from groups now under-represented in doctoral study. Several federal agencies and private foundations offer support for students engaged in research in specific fields of study. In addition, many corporations provide fellowships or tuition reimbursements for their employees. USC also offers an interest-free monthly payment plan and participates in long-term loan programs. Students may apply for one or more kinds of aid, depending on eligibility.

Although international students cannot receive financial aid, they may be eligible for some scholarships, fellowships and graduate assistantships offered by their schools or departments. International students should contact their departments directly for information about existing opportunities. International students may also be eligible for some private educational loans.

Financial Support through Graduate Fellowships and Assistantships

Prospective and continuing students seeking financial support will find opportunities for funding their graduate study through their individual schools and departments and the Graduate School. In general, fellowships and graduate assistantships are offered only to ­students pursuing the Ph.D. degree.

Acceptance of Offers of Financial Assistance
USC subscribes to the following resolution of the Council of Graduate Schools in the United States regarding graduate scholars, fellows, trainees and assistantship offer acceptances and deadlines.

Acceptance of an offer of financial assistance (such as graduate scholarship, fellowship, traineeship or assistantship) for the next academic year by an actual or prospective graduate student completes an agreement that both the student and the university are expected to honor. In those instances in which the student accepts the offer before April 15, and subsequently desires to withdraw, the student may submit in writing a resignation of the appointment at any time through April 15. However, an acceptance given or left in force after April 15 commits the student not to accept another offer without first obtaining written release from the institution to which a commitment has been made. Similarly, an offer by an institution after April 15 is conditional on presentation by the student of the written release from any previously accepted offer.

Graduate Assistantships
Graduate assistantships are awarded each year by departments of the university to Ph.D. students on the basis of scholastic accomplishment, academic promise and competence. They are under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School. Procedures and practices can be found in The Graduate Assistant Handbook on the Graduate School Web site. Only students in good academic standing with GPAs of 3.0, with acceptable TOEFL scores, and who are regularly enrolled in USC graduate degree programs are eligible for appointment as graduate assistants and may be offered a semester-by-semester appointment up to a maximum of one year at a time. All graduate assistants are under direct and assigned supervision of regular faculty members and report regularly on the conduct and performance of their responsibilities to the supervising faculty. These awards include teaching assistants, research assistants and assistant lecturers. Assistant lecturers may be appointed only with the approval of the vice provost for graduate programs. The Graduate Assistant Handbook can be found at

Application Procedures and Eligibility Requirements for Financial Aid

Detailed information, application procedures and deadlines for federal financial aid are available online at Students must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents or other eligible non-citizens and must meet all other eligibility requirements to be eligible for federal financial aid programs. Students must have a valid Social Security number, enroll at least half time, meet Selec­tive Service registration requirements, meet Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements, and have completed all application requirements by the relevant deadline.

Federal Work-Study

The Federal Work-Study program enables eligible students to earn part of their financial aid award through employment either on campus or with an approved off-campus employer. Only full-time (eight or more units) students with high financial need who meet all application deadlines are considered for this program.

Federal Loans

Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans and Federal Graduate PLUS Loans are available to eligible students. The Health Professions Student Loan, Loans for Disadvantaged Students and Primary Care Loan programs provide loans to students in the health professions. Federal Perkins Loans may be awarded to eligible students who meet all application deadlines. For details about federal loan programs and application requirements, visit

Private Financing Programs

Private financing programs are available to help students meet the costs of education by providing long-term financing options.

Acceptance of Offers of Financial Assistance

Students not admitted to a degree-seeking program who enroll as limited status students are not eligible for federal financial aid.

Financial Aid for Enrollment in a Certificate Program

Students may be eligible for Federal Stafford and Graduate PLUS loans if enrolled in an eligible certificate program. Students should check with their program or the Financial Aid Office for program eligibility.

Financial Aid for Distance Students Programs

Students enrolled as limited status in Distance Education Programs are not eligible for financial aid. Distance Education Programs students must be admitted to a degree-seeking program or eligible certificate program to be eligible for federal financial aid.

Withdrawal Implications for Recipients of Financial Aid

For complete information, see here.

Financial Aid Policy Regarding Falsification of Financial Aid Information

For the complete policy, see here.