Exceptional Funding Policy


  • Must hold merit scholarship (Presidential, Trustee, Mork, Stamps)
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Completed at least 16 units per Fall and Spring semesters or 32 units for the prior academic year (Fall + Spring)
  • Exceptional Funding must be used toward academic courses applicable to degree requirements (major, minor, or general education courses)

Please note: generally elective courses are not approved unless a student is within two years of graduating.

You are ineligible for Exceptional Funding if you:

  • are currently on academic or scholarship probation
  • have officially graduated or completed 8 semesters of scholarship eligibility (whichever comes first)
  • have not completed one semester at USC
  • intend to use Exceptional Funding to take graduate level coursework or audit courses (Progressive Degree Program graduate level courses are not eligible unless considered to be part of the requirements for completing an undergraduate degree program)

Amount of Funding Available

  • You may apply for exceptional funding more than once, provided the total number of tuition units approved does not exceed the maximum amount of 8-units for Trustee, Mork and Stamps Scholars, or 8 half-tuition units for Presidential Scholars.
  • You may request up to 8 units of Exceptional Funding for any given semester. During Fall and Spring semesters, students who intend to request more than 3 units of Exceptional Funding must secure approval from their academic advisor first before applying.

Exceptional Funding vs. Academic Achievement Award

In addition to Exceptional Funding, merit scholars may also qualify for the Academic Achievement Award based on academic performance. Both Exceptional Funding and AAA provide tuition benefits for students who intend to enroll in over 18 units. However, it is important to understand the difference in eligibility requirements before applying.

Academic Achievement Award Exceptional Funding
Open to all enrolled undergraduates Open to Merit Scholars only (Presidential, Trustee, Mork, Stamps)
Minimum cumulative GPA requirement: 3.750

Must declare more than one academic program

Minimum cumulative GPA requirement: 3.00

No major/minor combination requirements

Awards up to 3 units per semester Awards 8 units over duration of merit scholarship (8 half-units for Presidential Scholars)
Available for Fall and Spring courses only Available for Fall, Spring and Summer courses
Renewable award based on continuous eligibility Non-renewable (capped at 8 units)

Students are encouraged to apply for both EF and AAA in a given term to ensure funding. AAA tuition credits will override EF so both awards will not be used. If awarded both and only one award is needed, students are expected to communicate with Academic Honors and Fellowships to rescind their EF request. Because AAA cannot be used during the summer, it is better to utilize AAA during the Fall or Spring semester and save EF for summer courses.

Please contact Academic Honors and Fellowships for any additional questions regarding awards policies and eligibility requirements.

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