What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

What Does It Cost to Attend the University of Southern California?

California is known for being home to Silicon Valley, beautiful beaches, and some of the best colleges and universities in the country. Among this group is the University of Southern California, which holds the No. 11 spot on the list of the best value schools in the state.


While experts seem to be in agreement that USC is a worthwhile investment, that doesn’t mean attending this school is cheap. In fact, the high list price at this institution can be enough to turn away potential applicants. Read on to learn about the variability involved in college pricing, along with what it really costs to attend the University of Southern California.


Why College Costs Are Highly Variable


The high sticker price at schools like USC can make students in lower income brackets feel like there’s no point in applying. After all, how would they afford the exorbitant bill for tuition and fees even if they were accepted? The truth is families need to look at the net price for a more accurate sense of what they’ll spend on a college degree. You can find a school’s financial aid net price by adding up the value of financial aid and merit scholarships, then subtracting that from the list price.


While students and parents often assume that public schools offer the best value on a college degree, the truth is that private schools often have more funding to hand out to top applicants, thanks to their large endowments. For some families, having their student attend a private school could actually be cheaper than sending them to a public school.

What Is the List Price at the University of Southern California?


Some prospective students may be deterred by USC’s high list price. For the 2016-2017 academic year, the total price for tuition plus room and board was $69,711. Because USC is a private school, in-state and out-of-state applicants paid the same amount. However, it’s worth noting that families earning less than $175,000 a year were unlikely to pay this rate. Even if students are from especially wealthy families, they may still pay less than the list price if they receive merit scholarships.


What Is the USC Financial Aid Net Price?


The net price of attending USC is considerably lower than the list price. For the 2016-2017 school year, the financial aid net price was $52,958

What Is the Family Income-Based Cost of Attending USC?


The price a family can expect to spend for a USC education is based in large part on their annual salary. View average net prices per income level below:


Family Income Average Net Price
$0-$30,000 $16,002
$30,001-$48,000 $16,941
$48,001-$75,000 $21,751
$75,001-$110,000 $32,515
$110,000 $51,147

How Much Merit Aid Do USC Students Receive?


A large number of USC students receive merit aid along with need-based funding. Currently, 35.4% of students without need receive merit-based aid, with an average award of $7,699. These numbers give USC a ranking of 432 out of 1000 in our study of merit aid generosity.


For students who don’t qualify for financial aid, the average net price of attending USC is $62,012 per year.

How Many University of Southern California Students Take Out Loans?


Most USC students rely in part on loans to finance their degrees. Currently, 78% of USC attendees take out federal loans, with the average student borrowing $4,931 over the course of their career.

Student Outcomes at the University of Southern California


Wondering whether USC is worth the high price tag? Families can use student outcomes to assess whether or not they’re likely to get a solid return on their investment. With a six-year graduation rate of 90%, USC is known for helping students finish school on time. Ten years out, the average USC student was earning $74,000 annually. It’s important to keep these figures in mind when determining whether or not your student should take out loans to finance their degree.

Local Area Cost Considerations


Los Angeles is an expensive place to reside, and USC students should budget extra money for housing and other expenses. With a cost of living index of 195.1, LA is almost 100% more expensive than the average U.S. city. Currently, one-bedroom apartments in Los Angeles average $1545, two-bedrooms cost $1999, and three-bedrooms ring in at $2681.


If your student is planning to work part time to finance their USC education, they expect to earn at least $11 per hour, which is California’s minimum wage. The average LA resident makes $62,712 per year.

Ways to Save Money on College


If your student doesn’t want to work off campus while earning their degree at the University of Southern California, you might be able to land a work-study position. Available through the college, these jobs generally feature plenty of time for students to study and do homework while earning a paycheck.


Additionally, students can supplement their financial aid package with funding from independent scholarships. One of the most popular scholarships out there, the National Merit Scholarship program honors the top 1 percent of PSAT scorers. Around 15,000 students get funding from this program on an annual basis. Families can find out about other scholarship opportunities on the USC website.


Curious about your chances of acceptance to your dream school? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!

Short Bio
A graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC, April Maguire taught freshman composition while earning her degree. Over the years, she has worked as a writer, editor, tutor, and content manager. Currently, she operates a freelance writing business and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their three rowdy cats.