USC Eliminates Tuition For Families Earning Less Than $80,000

Kevin Mwanza
Written by Kevin Mwanza
student loan tuition
The University of Southern California is eliminating tuition fees for students in middle and low-income families earning less than $80,000 per year. Ryan Brown of Deptford, N.J., and other seniors wait in anticipation for President Barack Obama to address the graduates of Hampton University, a historically black university, at the school’s Armstrong Stadium, in Hampton, Va., Sunday, May 9, 2010. Image: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The University of Southern California (USC) will eliminate tuition fees for families earning less than $80,000 per year and will no longer consider home equity in financial aid calculations in an effort to make higher education accessible for middle and low-income students.

The new policy was announced in a Feb. 20 statement by USC president Carol Folt.

The policy places USC, a private campus, on par with the public University of California system, long known as a national leader in generous financial aid policies and high numbers of low-income students.

“We really want this to be an institution where great students can attend regardless of their financial background,” Folt told The Los Angeles Times.

“Education should be the great bridge across income that really is the equalizer and makes our talented, hardworking students able to make real contributions.”

Elite private universities, such as Harvard and Stanford, provide tuition-free education to families earning as much as $150,000 annually, although their endowments are far larger than USC.

Removing home equity as a factor in financial aid calculations will make a significant difference for many Californians whose home values have skyrocketed over time but whose incomes have not increased at the same pace, according to The OCR.

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“Financial barriers should not be a deal-breaker for students with the merit and motivation to attend a top-tier research university like USC,” said Trenton Stone, the USC undergraduate student government president.

‚ÄúThis plan will help make our incredible university community more accessible to a wider range of individuals from diverse financial, geographical and cultural backgrounds.”