Exceptional Funding

Funding Guidelines
Deadlines & Application
Exceptional Funding vs. Academic Achievement Award

Merit scholarships cover a set percentage of flat-rate tuition up to 18 units for the Fall and Spring semesters. Exceptional Funding supports additional academic courses within the eight semesters (ten for Architecture) of scholarship eligibility.


  • Presidential, Trustee, Mork or Stamps merit scholarship (does not apply to Dean’s, Leadership, or other scholarship recipients)
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Completed at least 15 units per Fall and Spring semesters or 30 units for the prior academic year (Fall+Spring), consistent with University merit scholarship policy
  • Completed at least one semester at USC (if applicable, first-year merit scholars may apply at end of first semester for approval conditional on meeting GPA requirement)

How much much funding is available?

8 units of funding are available to for use towards USC tuition. NOTE: Exceptional Funding units match the tuition rate of your scholarship. You may request up to 8 units for any given semester. During Fall and Spring semesters, students who intend to request more than 2 additional units must complete necessary steps with their academic advisor.

  • Mork, Stamps & Trustee Scholars: Maximum amount of 8 full-tuition units may be funded
  • Presidential Scholars: Maximum amount of 8 half-tuition units, or 50% of the cost of each unit, may be funded (NOTE: half-tuition units cannot be combined to fund full-tuition)

You must apply for Exceptional Funding every time you wish to use funding; it is not automatically granted. Once all 8 units have been used, they will not renew for the remainder of merit scholarship eligibility. Merit scholars may qualify for the Academic Achievement Award.

How to Use Exceptional Funding

Courses that cause enrollment in more than 18 units during the Fall or Spring semester or enrollment in up to 8 units during the summer term.

Courses cannot be audited. All courses must be taken for a letter grade or pass/no pass. Courses must adhere to the following criteria:

  • All courses must demonstrate timely degree progress towards degree completion. Generally, this applies to courses needed to complete a major, minor, required electives and general education courses.
  • Summer study abroad where USC tuition is charged and USC credit is earned.
  • Summer classes at USC including major/minor and GE courses.
  • Progressive Degree Program courses for approved for degree completion.
  • For more examples of acceptable coursework, click here.

Exceptional Funding Deadlines

Fall 2019

Application Opens: June 1, 2019

Priority Deadline: July 5, 2019
If approved and fully registered, students should expect to see funding applied before the tuition settlement deadline published in the Schedule of Classes.

Final Deadline: September 6, 2019
Approvals will be determined on a rolling basis through the Add/Drop deadline. Students may need to pay for additional units up front and receive Exceptional Funding as a reimbursement.

**Please note that Exceptional Funding has moved to a new application management system through USC Academic Works.**

  • Click the “Sign In” button on the top right corner, and log in with your USC ID.
  • If applicable, complete the “General Application” with your First and Last Name.
  • Under the “Opportunities” tab, find the “Exceptional Funding” selection to apply. If “Exceptional Funding” does not appear, select ‘All’ under the Opportunities drop down menu (the default may be ‘Recommended’).

Apply Here

Back to Top

Exceptional Funding vs. Academic Achievement Award

In addition to Exceptional Funding, merit scholars may also qualify for the Academic Achievement Award (AAA). Both Exceptional Funding and AAA provide tuition benefits for students who enroll in over 18 units in Fall or Spring. Please note 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 Minimum cumulative GPA requirement: 3.00
Must declare more than one academic program 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.

Back to Top