Application Process

When can I apply for the Academic Achievement Award?

Eligible applicants must apply each semester for the Award. The application will go live on the first day of registration for that term and be available through the third week of classes. Students are encouraged to apply by the Priority Deadline in order to ensure their award is posted by the first installment payment deadline.

When will I know if I have been approved for AAA?

Students who apply by the Priority Deadline can expect to be contacted via email before the end of the current semester. If applying after this deadline, students can expect to hear no later than the third week of classes.

I have been approved for AAA. When will it be applied to my bursar’s bill?

Students who apply by the Priority Deadline can expect to receive their award before the first installment payment is due. Students applying after this deadline will have their award posted no later than the end of Week 4 in the given term. These students should expect to pay for their additional units upfront until a credit can be applied to their account.


General Eligibility

Are graduate students eligible to apply for AAA?

No. The Academic Achievement Award is only available to undergraduate students.

I am a Merit Scholar eligible for 8 units of Exceptional Funding. Does AAA affect my eligibility for Exceptional Funding?

No. Your eligibility for exceptional funding is not affected by the Academic Achievement Award. You may want to consult with your departmental advisor and with the Office of Undergraduate Programs to devise an effective strategy to use both awards as you work toward your degree(s). Read more on the Exceptional Funding policy page.


Eligibility: Degree Objectives

I am working toward a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree through the Progressive Degree Program. Am I eligible for AAA?

No, it is necessary that your program include multiple degree objectives at the undergraduate level.

I am majoring in Business Administration with a minor in Economics. I know this combination of degree objectives does not make me eligible for the Renaissance Scholar Distinction, but does it make me eligible for AAA?

Yes. There is no restriction on the allowed set of combinations. The only requirement for AAA is that you are working toward multiple undergraduate degree objectives.

I intend to declare a second major / minor, but I haven’t done it yet. Can I apply for AAA anyway?

Yes, but applicants are expected to have at least two programs declared by the Week 3 Add/Drop deadline of the given term. Typically, you will receive conditional approval for AAA until you can send us confirmation that your second major or minor is officially declared.

One of my programs requires an audition or pre-req that won’t be done by the add/drop deadline.  Can I still apply?

If an application or audition process is required to declare the program (e.g. Marshall, Annenberg, Roski, Thornton), students may request a one semester grace period.


Eligibility: Approved Coursework

Can AAA be used towards free electives, i.e., courses that do not satisfy major, minor, or general requirements?

In general, this is not allowed. A small number of special-case elective courses have been identified that may be used with the Award: see Special Courses for a list of these courses. In addition, exceptions will be considered for students who are within 2 semesters of graduating and have fulfilled all other degree requirements.

Can AAA be used for a course that is being audited?

Audited coursework is not eligible for Academic Achievement Award funding. Courses must be graded or be taken pass/no pass to be eligible for AAA.

Do I have to register for courses in each of my degree concentrations in order to be eligible for the Award in a given semester?

Not necessarily. You might register for courses in only one concentration if you are also registered for required courses in General Education, Writing, Diversity, or Foreign Language. If you do not register for courses in each concentration, you should state on your application how your registration advances you toward your undergraduate degree objectives.


Eligibility: GPA / Unit Count

My current USC GPA is above 3.75, but my GPA may drop below that after my grades are reported this semester. Can I still apply?

Yes, if you apply for the Award while your USC GPA is above a 3.75. Your GPA and class standing are established at the time of your application, and if your GPA drops below 3.750 due to the report of additional grades, your Award will not be revoked for the semester in question.

I don’t have a 3.75 cumulative GPA, but I will by the end of the semester.  Can I apply?

You can wait for the report of your current semester grades if you would like to make sure you are eligible, or you can go ahead and apply now. If you apply now, your application will be put on hold until grades from the current semester are reported.

Can AAA ever be used to take more than 21 units in a semester?

No. This award is intended to assist students in enrolling up to 21 units. No more than 3 units of tuition credit will be awarded to a student in a given term. All additional will be charged to your bursar account.

Can I use AAA to take courses during the Summer term?

No. AAA applies only to the Fall and Spring semesters. Note, however, that if you are a Trustee or Presidential Scholar, you may apply your exceptional funding units to Summer courses.

I’m just starting at USC and don’t have a GPA yet.  Can I still apply?

No. It is first necessary to earn a grade point average at USC. If you earn at least a 3.75 USC GPA and complete at least 12.0 USC units, you may apply at the conclusion of your first semester to earn the Award in your second semester.


Changes & Withdrawals

I’ve received AAA approval for a specific course list, but I had to make changes to my registered courses afterwards. What should I do?

You must notify Academic Honors and Fellowships of any changes to your course list before the Week 3 Add/Drop deadline. Any and all changes to your registration must be reviewed and approved to guarantee continued eligibility. Otherwise, you may risk losing the award or being charged for extra units you didn’t need.

What happens if I drop a course after the Week 3 Add/Drop date? 

If you withdraw from an approved course after the Week 3 Add/Drop Deadline,  the AAA award will be withdrawn, and you will be responsible for covering the cost of additional units above standard tuition (12 – 18 units). Keep in mind that each additional unit costs $1,733.00. Therefore it is crucial that you talk with your advisors and AHF staff before the Add/Drop deadline.

Why am I being charged for the extra units if I drop after Week 3? 

When students withdraw from courses between Week 3 and Week 7, they do not receive a “W” on their transcript. The extra units are charged as an accountability measure to prevent students from sampling courses without facing academic penalty.

Would I still be charged for the extra units if I withdraw from a course after Week 7 and take the “W” on my transcript? 

No. If you wait until after Week 7 to withdraw from a course and opt to take a “W” on your transcript, you will not be charged for the extra units.

If I end up choosing not to use AAA for the upcoming semester, can I save the units to use towards a future semester?

No. A separate application is required for each semester, and tuition credits cannot be transferred to a future semester.