University of Southern California
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Graduate and Professional Education

Financial Aid for Graduate Students

Graduate students at USC benefit from federal, state and university 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. 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. 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, state and university financial aid programs. Detailed information is available online at

Although international students cannot receive financial aid, they may be eligible for some scholarships, fellowships and for 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 for graduate study at USC is available from many sources. Most graduate departments and professional schools offer fellowship and graduate assistantship opportunities. In support of the university's commitment to diversity, fellowships are available for students from groups now under-represented in doctoral study. The USC Financial Aid Office administers federal and state financial aid programs. 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.

2008-2009 Application Procedures for Federal Financial Aid

Application procedures and deadlines for federal financial aid are available online at

Federal Work-Study

The Federal Work-Study program enables eligible students to earn part of their financial aid award 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.

The Health Professions Student Loan program provides loans to students in the health professions.

For details about federal loan programs and application requirements, visit

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 for study leading to the Ph.D. degree. Approval to offer graduate assistantships to master's students must be given by the Vice Provost for Graduate Programs.

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 assistantships.

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 which both 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 appointed 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

Financing Programs

Several programs are available to help families meet the costs of education by providing long-term financing options and a short-term payment plan. Detailed information is available online at

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.