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 at the standard undergraduate tuition rate are available to for use towards USC tuition. NOTE: Exceptional Funding units match the undergraduate 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 registration 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 request 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 also qualify for the Academic Achievement Award during the fall and spring semesters.

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.

Courses cannot be audited. All courses must be taken for a letter grade or pass/no pass. Examples of how to utilize Exceptional Funding:

  • Courses that contribute to degree progress or completion of more than one academic program. Generally, this applies to courses needed to complete a major, minor, required electives, or general education.
  • Summer study abroad where USC tuition is charged and USC credit is earned.
  • Maymesters (spring) or summer classes at USC including Problems Without Passports.
  • Progressive Degree Program courses – PLEASE NOTE: Exceptional Funding is applied at the standard undergraduate per unit rate. PDP students who choose to take graduate coursework that is charged at a higher per unit rate will only receive Exceptional Funding at the undergraduate per unit rate. Tuition rates are published in the Schedule of Classes.

Exceptional Funding Deadlines

Fall 2020

Application Opens: June 1, 2020

Early Deadline: July 5, 2020
Students should apply by the Early Deadline only if they have enrolled in over 18 units and have been billed for the additional tuition. Students who apply by the Early Deadline and are fully registered will be notified of their award status and have their student accounts credited through Financial Aid before the August tuition settlement deadline. For tuition and fees to appear on your bill before the settlement deadline, you must register by July 24, 2020. For students who are unable to complete registration in full until the start of Fall semester, please wait and submit an application by the Final Deadline.

Final Deadline: August 28, 2020
Applicants submitting from July 6 – August 28, 2020 are notified on a rolling basis (typically within 2 weeks of applying) until the Fall Week 3 Add/Drop deadline. These applicants may need to pay for additional units upfront until tuition credit can be applied to their student account.

Request Fall Funding Here

How to find the Exceptional Funding application through AcademicWorks:

  • 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 ‘Ours’ under the Opportunities drop down menu (the default is ‘Recommended’).
  • NOTE: You will now need to “Accept” the in-system offer in order to confirm and receive funding.

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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-tuition 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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