Scholarship Policy

Watch: 2019 USC Merit Scholarship Webinar
Recorded August 15, 2019

The scholarship policy is a written contract set by Office of Undergraduate Admission, which serves as a guide to understanding how your scholarship works. Students receive a copy of the policy when the scholarship is awarded. Please read the policy thoroughly to understand how you may be affected by the terms of your scholarship.

Most USC Merit Scholarships are renewable for each subsequent year of the undergraduate degree program, up to six additional semesters (eight additional semesters for students in the five-year Bachelor of Architecture program). The following criteria must be met for the USC Merit Scholarship to be renewed each year:

1. You must maintain your USC Academic Standing

  • The university expects you to maintain a high level of academic success during your university career. If you are academically disqualified by the USC Office of Academic Records and Registrar and the Committee on Academic Policies and Procedures (CAPP), you will automatically lose your scholarship. Readmission to USC will not restore your eligibility for your scholarship.

2. You must make satisfactory academic progress toward your undergraduate degree during the academic year (not including summer).

  • If you complete fewer than 30 units in one academic year, your academic record will be reviewed to determine if you are making progress toward your degree. (You should be able to graduate within eight semesters, or 10 semesters in the five-year Bachelor of Architecture program.) Your course of study, and work at other colleges will be taken into consideration.
  • If progress is not made, you will be placed on scholarship probation for a maximum of two semesters, during which you must complete 16 units per semester or your scholarship may be revoked. You are allowed only one probationary period for unit requirements. If you have received other need-based financial aid, you will need to maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) to continue to receive those awards. The complete undergraduate SAP rules can be found in the USC Catalogue at
  • To receive your scholarship funds each semester, you must be enrolled as a full-time student (defined as 12 or more units for credit). Audited courses are not eligible for scholarship funding. If your are enrolled in 12 units including an audited course, which is not for credit, you will receive a bill for the semester’s tuition.
  • For more information, visit the merit scholarship FAQ page.

3. You must uphold USC’s conduct and academic integrity standards

For more information, review the Admitted Students Scholarship Guide 

Progressive Degree Students

Students enrolled in a Progressive Degree program will receive their USC Merit Scholarship for eight semesters total. Progressive Degree students must meet the renewal requirements listed above, including completing 30 or more units each academic year. Both undergraduate and graduate units count toward that total.

Leaves of Absence

Students who take a leave of absence from the university must notify the Financial Aid Office in writing to protect their remaining scholarship eligibility. Generally, scholarships will be reserved for leaves of absence up to one year in duration. Students who intend to return to USC should review the Leave of Absence Handbook. Students who will not return to USC should follow the university’s Guidelines for Withdrawal.

Students should notify the Financial Aid Office of their enrollment plans at least three months prior to their expected return to USC. Students will lose one semester of scholarship eligibility for every semester of transferable coursework completed at another institution during a leave of absence.