University of Southern California
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Undergraduate Education

Financial Aid Policy Regarding Falsification of Financial Aid Information

When applying for and receiving federal, state and university financial aid funds, students and parents complete and submit numerous applications, forms and other documents. The various types of information include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Student Aid Report
  • CSS Financial Aid/PROFILE Application
  • Supplemental Form for Financial Aid
  • Statement of Educational Purpose
  • Selective Service Registration Compliance
  • Student and parent federal income tax forms and other income documentation
  • Documentation of U.S. citizenship or permanent residency
  • Documentation of housing/living arrangements
  • Academic documents relating to high school diploma or college course work
  • Loan applications, promissory notes and related documentation
  • Specific program applications
  • Federal Work-Study time sheets
  • Any university financial aid forms and related documentation
  • Any written, electronic or verbal statements sent to or made to a staff member

The integrity of the documents and the honesty of the information presented through them is critical to the financial aid process. When any document or information given misrepresents a student's financial need, other students are placed at a disadvantage, university governance and procedures are undermined, and state and federal agencies are defrauded. Students should be aware that they will be held responsible for the integrity of any financial aid information submitted either by them or on their behalf.

If the USC Financial Aid Office has reason to believe but cannot determine whether or not there has been a falsification of financial aid information, the USC Office of Student Judicial Affairs will be contacted to assist in making a determination.

If the USC Financial Aid Office, the USC Office of Internal Audit, or any federal or state agency has reason to believe that a student or a parent has provided falsified information, or has submitted forged documents or signatures, the following steps will be taken without prior notification to the student or parent:

(1) An incident report will be filed with USC's Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards following procedures outlined in the University Student Conduct Code. (The University Student Conduct Code is published in SCampus, the student guidebook.) Pending resolution of the complaint, the Financial Aid Office may restrict the distribution of any further aid to the accused student.

(2) If it is determined through the student conduct review process that a violation has occurred, the consequences may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • The student will be required to make full restitution of any and all federal, state, private and/or university scholarship, grant, loan or work funds to which he or she was not entitled.
  • Until full restitution is made, all federal, state and university funds will be withheld from the student, including all funds disbursed in past or in current terms.
  • The student will be responsible for all charges on the student's account incurred because of the loss of federal, state or institutional financial aid funds.
  • If the student is determined to be ineligible for financial aid because of a basic eligibility criterion such as citizenship, no further federal, state or university funds will be awarded to the student in any future terms of enrollment at the university.
  • If the student is determined to be ineligible for a specific financial aid program, the student will not be eligible to receive funds from that program in any future terms of enrollment at the university.
  • No other funds will be awarded to replace those lost funds for which a student is determined ineligible due to dishonesty.

(3) In addition to any consequences directly related to the student's financial aid, the student may be assigned disciplinary sanctions as described in the Student Conduct Code (11.80).

(4) As required by federal and state law, the USC Financial Aid Office will report any infraction to the appropriate office or agency. These include, but are not limited to, the U.S. Department of Education Office of the Inspector General, state agencies or other entities that may take whatever action is required by federal and state law. In this report, the Financial Aid Office will describe in detail the incident, the response of the Financial Aid Office and any additional actions taken by or pending with the university.