University of Southern California (USC) Tuition and Fees
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By Kelly Boyer Sagert
(Last Updated – 07/2022)
Located in Los Angeles, California, the University of Southern California (USC) is a private, not-for-profit educational institution and research university. USC awards primarily bachelor’s degrees and above, and operates on a semester system.
This guide will give you information about USC tuition in 2022, financial aid, USC acceptance rates and admission requirements, and more.
Total Cost of Attendance
USC placed 19th overall in a comprehensive ranking in 2022 of nearly 800 public and private universities by The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education. When looking specifically at universities in the western part of the United States, USC ranked third. When looking at the 25 highest-ranking universities, USC ranked fourth in engagement, a measurement that uses student input on how well their educational institution prepares them for real-world situations.
USC is known for its strong academic program and it has a diverse student body. Plus, the USC Trojans are a true athletic powerhouse.USC tuition in 2021 and 2022 is $61,503 with average fees being $1,200. On-campus room and board averages $16,732 for a total of $81,659.
Costs for 2021-22
Tuition & Fees
Books & Supplies
Room & Board
Total Cost of Attendance
USC is need blind during the admissions process. This means that admission qualifications do not take a student’s financial need into account, which helps those from lower- and middle-income families.
In the 2019-2020 school year, 70% of beginning undergraduate students received financial aid with 65% receiving grants or scholarship funds; 17% receiving federal grants; 17% Pell grants; and 17% other federal grants. 11% received state or local government scholarships or grants. As for institutional grants or scholarships, 64% received them. 28% obtained student loan aid.
Generally, financial aid is monetary assistance awarded to students based on personal need and merit. Students that qualify for financial aid can use it to pay for college costs like tuition, books, and living expenses.
The federal government is the largest provider of student financial aid. However, aid can also be given by state governments, colleges and universities, private companies, and nonprofits. The different types include:
• Scholarships: These can be awarded by schools and other organizations based on students’ academic excellence, athletic achievement, community involvement, job experience, field of study, and financial need.
• Grants: Generally based on financial need, these can come from federal, state, private, and non-profit organizations.
• Work-study: This federal program provides qualifying students with part-time employment to earn money for expenses while in school.
• Federal student loans: This is money borrowed directly from the U.S. Department of Education. It comes with fixed interest rates that are typically lower than private loans.
Colleges, universities, and state agencies use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine financial aid eligibility. The FAFSA can be completed online, but note that state and federal and school deadlines may differ.
You can find other financial aid opportunities on databases such as:
Some USC students obtain private student loans to cover educational costs. The university’s website lists information about the private lenders used but does not give detailed information about usage.
Private loans are funded by private organizations such as banks, online lenders, credit unions, some schools, and state-based or state-affiliated organizations. While Federal student loans have interest rates that are regulated by Congress, private lenders follow a different set of regulations so their qualifications and interest rates can vary widely.
What’s more, private loans have variable or fixed interest rates that may be higher than federal loan interest rates, which are always fixed. Private lenders may (but don’t always) require you to make payments on your loans while you are still in school, compared to federal student loans which you don’t have to start paying back until after you graduate, leave school, or change your enrollment status to less than half-time.
Private loans don’t have a specific application window and can be applied for on an as-needed basis. However, if you think you may need to take out a private loan, it’s a good idea to submit your FAFSA first to see what federal aid you may qualify for as it generally may have better rates and terms.
If you’ve missed the FAFSA deadline or you’re struggling to pay for school throughout the year, private loans can potentially help you make your payments. Just keep in mind that you will need enough lead time for your loan to process and for your lender to send money to your school.
The average net price for a beginning undergraduate student in 2019-2020 (after grants and scholarships from federal, state, local, and institutional sources) was $39,759. If this remained true for all four years, the price would be $159,036. When looking at other private educational institutions in the Wall Street Journal top rankings, USC tuition is the 8th most expensive.
USC tuition in 2021 and 2022 is $61,503 with average fees being $1,200.
Graduate Tuition and Fees
Costs for 2021-22
In the 2020-2021 school year, tuition and required fees averaged $50,654 for graduate students. USC is a need blind school, opening up opportunities for qualified students regardless of their financial situation.
Cost per Credit Hour
2021-2022 academic year: $2,035 per credit hour for undergraduate and graduate students.
Looking at the past three academic years, USC has been implementing regular although relatively small increases annually.
Campus Housing Expenses
Costs for 2021-22
In 2020-2021, housing expenses were $16,732. USC does not require freshmen to live in dormitories, providing a wide range of options for all students, including:
• Four freshmen residence halls
• Three freshmen suite buildings
• Four freshmen apartment buildings
• Thirteen undergraduate apartment buildings
• Twenty-four undergraduate housing units
• Five family housing options
• Non-university housing options
• Gender-inclusive housing
Off-campus housing for USC students comes with a wide range of prices, ranging from $950 a month for a 1,286-square-foot, three bedroom/three bathroom apartment to a two bedroom/two bathroom unit for more than $5,000 per month. Note that leases will likely be for a full year, not just for the academic year. Some of the units list one or more of these prohibitions: no smoking, no pets, no disability accessibility.
University of Southern California (USC) Acceptance Rate
For the 2021-2022 academic school year, this was the USC acceptance rate:
• More than 71,000 students applied at USC for the fall freshman class.
• The acceptance rate was 12.5%.
• Of this number, 23% were first generation college students, a number that has steadily increased for five years.
• Thirty-two percent of students in the class of 2025 are students of color.
USC notes that it conducts a “comprehensive, holistic review” to understand an applicant’s “individual story.” This includes academic accomplishments as well as personal characteristics and achievements.
• Most admitted students rank in their class’s top 10% with median standardized test scores in the top 5%. (Note that USC has become a test-optional university.)
• Students typically pursue the most rigorous program available in English, foreign language, science, social studies, and the arts.
• Students should earn a C or better in three or more year of high school mathematics, including Algebra II.
• Some majors require a portfolio or audition by December 1.
• Essay and short answer responses and teacher/counselor recommendations are helpful. One letter is required for all students; School of Cinematic Arts applicants need two.
• Submit all official high school and college transcripts.
• Submit fall grades when they become available.
For first-year students, here are deadlines for the 2022-2023 academic year:
• December 1: Merit scholarship consideration deadline
• December 1: Application deadline for these majors: all cinematic arts and music programs; dance program; all dramatic arts BFA program; Iovine and Young Academy; World Bachelor in Business program
• January 15: Application deadline for all other programs
• February 11: FAFSA and CSS application deadlines
• Note: USC does not have an early decision or early action program.
• Application deadline extensions are determined on an individual basis.
As far as USC GPA requirements:
• The university typically accepts students in the top 10% of their class.
• Students need a “C” or better in three or more years of high school math.
• Progressive degree program applicants have an additional USC GPA requirement: they must have at least a 3.0 GPA at the time of application.
SAT and ACT Scores
Starting in the 2021-2022 calendar year, USC became a test-optional university. In the fall of 2020, here are SAT and ACT scores, first listing those in the 25 percentile and then those in the 75th percentile:
SAT Evidence-Based Reading/Writing
Popular Majors at USC
Currently, USC offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 educational categories. Here is information about 10 of the most popular degrees.
1. Business Administration
Students with this major take courses that focus on developing analytical skills along with theoretical classes in accounting, math, statistics, and business economics. Other courses focus on communication, finance, marketing, and more. 18.7% of bachelor degrees awarded.
2. Speech and Communications
As part of this communications degree, students will take courses that help them to explore and understand how messages are produced, socially and culturally; how they’re received by individual people and by society as a whole; and what transformations have taken place because of industry and technology. 5.9% of bachelor degrees awarded.
3. Computer Science
This is an interdisciplinary program to provide students with a professional and academic understanding of the subject. Classes required include mathematics as well as science, which can be biology, chemistry, or physics. 5.3% of bachelor degrees awarded.
4. Human Biology
This degree is often pursued by students who want a pre-professional education, such as what’s needed for medicine, dentistry, nutrition, biomechanics, evolutionary biology, and so forth. 4.2% of bachelor’s degrees awarded.
Undergraduate degrees in 2020-21: 62
In this program, students learn how to develop, analyze, and understand economic regression models and otherwise take a quantitative approach to the discipline of economics. 3.7% of bachelor degrees awarded.
USC designed this program to position the graduate for an executive-level career in public accounting, financing management, controllership, and accounting information systems management. The program is designed to prepare the student in a future-forward way. 3.2% of bachelor degrees awarded.
Undergraduate degrees in 2020-21: 49
7. General Psychology
Training is provided in five areas: brain/cognitive science, clinical science, developmental psychology, quantitative methods, and social psychology. Students explore theoretical issues and analyze how they apply to societal needs. 3% of bachelor degrees awarded.
8. International Relations
Three different bachelor’s degree specialties fall under this umbrella: International Relations; International Relations/Global Business; and International Relations and the Global Economy. The School of International Relations encourages double majors for undergraduates to allow them to specialize in a certain area. 2.8% of bachelor degrees awarded.
9. Real Estate Development
This course of study is designed to help real estate professionals to navigate today’s complex landscape, focusing on finance, investment, real estate development, capital markets, city planning, public policy, and architectural design.2.2% of bachelor degrees awarded.
10. Political Science
Aspects of this degree include American politics, law and public policy, comparative politics, and political theory. Many students supplement their academic studies with internships, study-abroad programs, and governmental programs. 2% of bachelor degrees awarded.
Find out more about the majors at USC with this resource .
Graduation rates are as follows:
• 4 years: 77%
• 6 years: 92%
• 8 years: 93%
Post-Graduation Median Earnings
The median earnings for USC graduates is $83,426. Which is 74% higher than the median salary for graduates of four-year schools in the U.S. of $47,891.
The University of Southern California is a sought-after school that can be difficult to get into. Students who are admitted receive a world-class education. Tuition is on the upper end, but USC is need-blind, creating opportunities for lower- and middle-class students. Graduates typically earn a significantly higher salary than the average.
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