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 catalogue.usc.edu.
  • 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.

Progressive degree students are classified as undergraduate students until their undergraduate degree is conferred or they complete 144 units, whichever comes first. Transfer units, including AP or IB units, and all units earned at USC, from both undergraduate- and graduate-level course work, will be counted toward the 144-unit limit. Any and all units earned during summer semesters will be counted, as well as units earned during semesters that were not funded with financial aid.

More information about Progressive Degree funding can be found on the Financial Aid website.

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 Upon receiving notice of your leave of absence, the Financial Aid Office will put any USC Scholarships you have been awarded on hold. Your scholarship will be on hold for the time period your academic department has approved for your leave of absence.

You must contact the Financial Aid Office before you return to USC in order to reinstate your scholarship.  Please note that all USC Merit Scholarships are limited to a total of 8 semesters of eligibility (10 semesters for students in the five-year Architecture program). If you have received scholarships from any other USC organization or academic department, you must contact that organization or department to discuss the status of your award and inquire about reapplication requirements.

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.

More information about the leave process can be found on the Leave of Absence website.