USC offers free tuition to ONE THIRD of students

  • USC has adjusted the financial bracket for students who qualify for free tuition.
  • They estimate that the adjustment will allow about a third of incoming students to benefit from the perk.

The University of Southern California will now offer tuition-free education to students whose families make less than $80,000 per year, which the school says will benefit one-third of its students. 

Announced alongside this change was a policy adjustment that removes homeownership as a factor used to calculate financial need, allowing more students to fit into the new bracket. The announcement of the new policy was made on Tuesday by President Carol Folt, who called the move “by no means the end of our affordability journey.”

The announcement of the new policy was made on Tuesday by President Carol Folt, who called the move “by no means the end of our affordability journey.”   

“We are committed to increasing USC’s population of innovators, leaders and creators regardless of their financial circumstances. Investing in the talent and diversity of our student body is essential to our educational mission,” Folt added.

Nowhere in the announcement did the school explain how exactly it will compensate for the lost tuition money.

Campus Reform asked USC how it plans to pay for the plan to provide free tuition for thousands of students. Eric Abelev, executive director of public relations projects, said the funding will come "primarily through private philanthropy." Campus Reform then asked how the remainder of the cost would be paid for. Abelev did not answer that question, "since we are a private institution." 

[RELATED: RANKED: 5 colleges that receive the most in federal research funding]

Although a private institution, USC students, like students at private colleges and universities around the country, still receive federal financial aid, meaning that the "private" institution still receives American tax dollars. Additionally, USC received $450,204,000 in federal research dollars in 2017.

"Any initiative like this has to be funded by private philanthropy or through funds from other university sources. What we can say in this case is that funding will come primarily through private philanthropy," Abelev said.

[RELATED: UT Austin to give free tuition to low-income students...and illegal immigrant]

According to the university, this change will cost $30 million each year, and can increase individual financial aid packages by up to $45,000 per student.  Student government President Trenton Stone believes said “this plan will help make our incredible university community more accessible to a wider range of individuals from diverse financial, geographical and cultural backgrounds.”

[RELATED: Bernie Sanders' home state could soon offer 'free' college tuition]

The university reiterated that this is only one step in a larger plan to make attending USC financially feasible for everyone. The school boasts that it has increased grant funding by more than 60 percent over the past 20 years.

Dean of Financial aid Thomas McWhorter touted the school’s “focus on financial aid” as something that “distinguishes” USC from other similar universities. 

“I’m gratified to be a part of a university that continues to push the envelope by offering these additional resources to students and their families,” Thomas added.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter:@celinedryan



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Celine Ryan
Celine Ryan | Correspondent Editor

Celine Ryan is the Correspondent Editor reporting on liberal bias and abuse on campus for Campus Reform. Celine was previously the investigative reporter, New Hampshire Senior Campus Correspondent, and California Senior Campus Correspondent for Campus Reform.

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