Merit Scholarships

Administered through the Office of Admission, USC Merit Scholarships require students to apply for admission to the university by the December deadline. Academic Honors and Fellowships works with the Office of Financial Aid to support recipients of Presidential and Trustee Scholarships. 

Watch: 2021 Merit Scholarship Policies Webinar

Navigating Support

Depending on the questions you have about your scholarship, you will need to consult with different university offices. Use the guide below to determine the appropriate office or department to contact based on the type of scholarship inquiry:

Undergraduate Admission Financial Aid Academic Honors and Fellowships

Selects merit scholars through admission process & coordinates Explore USC campus visit program.

Sets scholarship policies.

Manages deferral policy for incoming students.


Manages scholarship disbursement questions related to leave of absence, under-enrollment, probation, or other extenuating circumstances.

Fields inquiries on student financial aid packages.

Advises on aid resources related to cost of tuition, housing, and other expenses.


Manages Exceptional Funding application for Trustee and Presidential Scholars.

Oversees Trojan Scholars Society student board.

Advises on university awards and external fellowship opportunities for research, international exchange and post-graduate studies.


Other contacts for scholarship recipients include:

  • Residential Education: Manages all aspects of the residential experience for merit scholars. Scholars can opt to live in McCarthy Honors College (first-year) and Ilium (second-year).
  • Academic Advisors: Works within your specific school to help you add/drop courses, change major or minors, process requests for Leave of Absence, and set academic plan.

Exceptional Funding

Merit scholarships cover full-time enrollment in 12-18 units for the Fall and Spring semesters. Exceptional Funding can be used to afford additional academic courses within the 8 semesters (10 for Architecture) of scholarship eligibility. These units are not available beyond the final scholarship semester.

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Trojan Scholars Society

The Trojan Scholars Society (TSS), is a student organization that brings together Presidential and Trustee Scholars for academic, social, philanthropic, and professional development events.

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