FAQs

I am a veteran and/or dependent, interested in attending the University of Southern California. What do I need to know?

The first step to take is to apply to USC, please visit Admissions and look up information on the admissions process or call 213-740-1111 for guidance. Transfer students, the USC Transfer Planning Guide is available to assist you.

Tuition is unit based, typically up to $36,112.00 each semester. It is to your advantage to visit the GI Bill website to find information on the Montgomery GI Bill, Chapter 30 and Post 9/11 GI Bill, Chapter 33 or any other Chapter you may be interested in. VA Frequently Asked Questions are also available for review.

The Post 9/11 GI Bill, Chapter 33, is capped each academic year since USC is a private institution. The 2021-2022 annual cap is up to $26,042.81, August 1 – July 31. If eligible for the Yellow Ribbon award, the VA and USC may each pay up to $10,000 annually for graduate students and 100% of tuition and mandatory fees for undergraduate students. Not all graduate students may be eligible.

Familiarize yourself with the information concerning the GI Bills so you can make an informed decision on which GI bill best fits your career goal. If you don’t understand something and/or have eligibility questions, please call the VA 24-hour hot line at 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551). The counselors are available to assist you with questions regarding the GI Bill. It is highly suggested that you write your questions down prior to calling the VA 24-hour hot line.

After class registration at USC, students may file for GI Bill or Vocational Rehabilitation benefits by following the outlined procedures.

Marshall School of Business and Viterbi School of Engineering students, to obtain details about the Schoen scholarship, please email mba@marshall.usc.edu or Viterbi.admission@usc.edu.

Social Work students may contact the School of Social Work Scholarship Programs to explore additional scholarship options.

Other graduate students may contact their program of study to explore any available scholarship options.

All students may reach out to USC Financial Aid to explore additional funding options.

Additional military aid options are available through VA Financial Aid Resources and/or Go Grad Guide.

What programs of study are approved for VA Education Benefit use?

Only degree seeking programs of study that are found in the USC Catalogue are approved by the VA for education benefit usage.  Please review the covered VA benefit programs.  The VA's nationwide list of approved programs of study by schools is available here.

I am eligible for Ch.35 benefits. What will the VA pay for?

Ch. 35 pays in the form of a monthly stipend. Payment rates are available in the VA website.

Unfortunately, the Cal Vet Fee Waiver is only available for public institutions and USC is a private institution.

I am a prospective transfer student veteran. What do I need to do to explore my options?

The USC Veterans Resource Center and Veteran’s Association host USC Veteran Transfer Advisement Lunches. The luncheons advise prospective community college veteran transfer students on applying to USC and the programs and services USC offers to veterans. Over 50 veterans from various community colleges across the southland attend each of our luncheons.

Email: vrc@usc.edu.

Can the admission application fee be waived?

You may request a fee waiver if paying the application fee causes a financial hardship. Contact the Office of Admission at 213-740-1111 for additional information.

Do veterans get “preferred” admission to USC?

When reviewing applicants for admission to USC, students are evaluated holistically, meaning all aspects of the student are considered.

You may want to include a personal story about your military service as an essay, personal statement, or addendum to your application. This will allow Admissions to learn more about you, your background, and experiences.

I am interested in attending graduate school at USC. What is the admission process?

To apply for admission to a graduate or professional program at USC, please visit USC Graduate Admission.

How much is tuition at USC and what would my VA benefits pay?

For an estimation of tuition and fees, please visit the USC Catalogue. USC is a private institution, tuition and fees are subject to change without notice.

VA benefit rates vary. VA benefit rate tables and the GI Bill Comparison Tool are available to help you assess VA payments, including rates at private institutions such as USC.

Students may expect VA payments based only on courses that are a legitimate part of degree programs listed in the university catalogue. If a student takes a course that does not fulfill a program requirement, it cannot be certified. Excessive free electives, for example, cannot be certified. The student must email the Veterans Certification Office immediately upon any change in unit load or change of major when claiming GI Bill or Vocational Rehabilitation benefits. It is your responsibility to notify the office if you add, drop, or withdraw courses. We highly recommend you report any changes you make to your schedule as soon as possible. Failure to do so may result in delayed VA overpayment notifications.

The VA will and will NOT pay for:

Recommended courses: The VA will NOT pay for recommended courses –Only required ones.

Repeated courses: The VA will pay for repeated courses if you received any of the following grades: “F,” “NP,” “NC,” “W,” “UW,” or “IX” on your original attempt. University course repetition limits apply. The VA will NOT pay for repeated courses that are Incomplete (IN) or In-progress (IP).

Repeated courses that were successfully completed will not be re-certified. However, if a program requires a higher grade than the one achieved in a particular course, you may repeat it and have it certified.

Example 1: if a Nursing program requires a “B” or better in Biology, you may repeat it if a “B” or better was not earned. That requirement must be listed in the school catalogue.

Example 2: If a course is required for graduation, you may repeat the course until it is successfully completed so long as your program of study allows it.

Example 3: If you choose to repeat a course that you previously completed in order to improve your GPA, that course cannot be re-certified.

Non-mandatory fees: The VA will NOT pay for non-mandatory fees such as meal plans, USC housing, parking permit, Tuition Refund Insurance, fraternity/sorority dues, athletic events, etc. Parking permits are only covered for Ch. 31, Vocational Rehabilitation, recipients.

Travel costs: The VA will NOT pay for travel or lodging fees if you choose to register in elective courses or a study abroad programs that require travel. The VA will only pay for travel and lodging fees if your degree or certificate program requires it to graduate, i.e. MBA, MBA.PM.

Please note: Study abroad is not approved for VA funding during the pandemic. Study abroad VA approval will be revisited in 2022-2023.

Rounding out: The VA will pay for a limited number of non-required courses that will elevate your final semester’s standing to full-time. For example, if you only need 4 units to graduate, but require 8 units to be considered full-time. This is what the VA calls “rounding out” and can only be done once during your final semester. You must notify the VA Certifying Official that you plan to round-out.

NOTE: Rounding out will be phased out by the VA for terms beginning on or after August 1, 2021.

How does the VA pay if my Post 9/11 eligibility rating is less than 100%?

It is important to understand how the Post 9/11 GI Bill works at private schools such as USC for students whose eligibility rating is less than 100%. For example: if a student is 80% eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the student will only be entitled to up to 80% of the annual private school tuition/fees cap, 80% of the monthly housing allowance, and 80% of the annual book stipend.

More important to understand is the VA will only pay 80% of tuition/fees each semester, up to the annual cap. Here is an example:

The current annual private school tuition/fees cap is $26,042.81, at 80% you are entitled to $20,834.25; if your first semester tuition/fees is $16,200, the VA is likely to pay $12,960 and you will be responsible for settling the $3,240 balance. You will now have $7,874.25 remaining to use on subsequent semesters until your $20,834.25 annual cap is exhausted, or until the next VA fiscal year begins on Aug. 1st.

How does BAH/MHA work for Post 9/11 recipients?

Some USC online graduate programs may be eligible for a monthly housing allowance at the residency rate equal to the pay of an E-5 with dependents. In-residence training for graduate students consists of at least one scheduled standard class sessions per term. The VA considers a graduate course to be resident training if the course:

Is offered through regularly scheduled, conventional classroom or laboratory sessions;

Consists of research (on campus) necessary for the preparation of a master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation

Is an externship, internship or practicum at a designated physical location. Examples: student teaching and field work.

Rates estimates are available through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or the GI Bill Comparison Tool. Rates are subject to change upon Forever GI Bill implementations. Students must be enrolled and claim VA benefits each semester in order to be considered for BAH/MHA payments.

I am interested in using Top-Up. How does this work?

Top-Up requires a collaborative effort amongst various units. Benefit counselors are available by calling 888-GIBILL-1.

Are scholarships available for veterans and their families?

For information about GI Bill benefits, contact the VA at 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551). Additional military aid options, recommended by the VA, are available online. You may also contact the USC Financial Aid Office and/or your graduate program of study for additional options at USC.

Additional resources may also be available through the USC Military & Veterans Initiatives Office.

What forms do I need to submit to the Veterans Certification Office in order to process my VA benefits?

Please visit our “How to File” section for details.

I may be eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation benefits (Ch. 31), how does the process work at USC?

We will need a Ch. 31 authorization from your VA Case Manager. If you are having issues reaching a VA Case Manager, please call 800-827-1000 or visit the Vocational Rehabilitation Program (Chapter 31) online. Subsistence Allowance Rates (housing allowance) are also available online.

If Ch. 31 benefit approval advocacy is needed, please visit the VA website to find Veterans Service Organization advocates.

If Ch. 31 approval is still pending and an education/degree plan is needed, please contact your program of study representatives so that an Academic Advisor or Admission contact can assist you.

After you attend your orientation at USC and are registered for degree applicable classes, we will also need one document from you, the online Application for Semester Entitlement (ASE) form. Please remember, each semester you wish to claim VA entitlement, it is required that you continue to submit the online ASE form after you register for classes.

Once we certify your enrollment to the VA, you will receive an email confirmation from us. After you receive that email, you will receive further instructions and may contact the USC Bookstores for assistance with your books and supplies.

It may take the VA 4-6 weeks to submit a tuition and mandatory fee payment. USC will place a temporary deferment in your USC billing account to give the VA time to pay. If any late fees or holds appear on your account due to the VA certification process and/or delayed VA payment they will be removed once VA payments are released to USC. Students will not be dropped from courses. If you have any questions and/or concerns regarding your student financial account, please contact USC’s Agency Billing Office.

If USC Counseling Services are needed, please call 213-740-7711. Disability Services and Programs are also available. In addition, the Office of Equity and Diversity works with students as needed.

Does USC participate in the VetSuccess on Campus program?

Unfortunately, USC is on the waitlist to attain VetSuccess partnerships. The program last expanded in 2013. Nationwide and nearby locations are available in the meantime.

Is there a chance USC will apply for the VRRAP program?

Unfortunately, USC is not participating in the VRRAP program to date.

Currently covered VA programs: https://arr.usc.edu/services/veteran-affairs/coveredprogs.html.

Can I claim VA benefits if I enroll in a satellite campus?

Students enrolled in out-of-state satellite campuses, i.e. Hawaii, will not be able to certify enrollment through this office. Such satellite campuses would need to provide resident VA certifying officials that comply with the state’s VA policies.

Individuals enrolled in satellite campuses in California as well as out-of-state online students can be certified through this office.

What happens after I submit the forms to the Veterans Certification Office?

Please remember, each semester you wish to claim VA entitlement (for degree applicable courses only), it is required that you submit the online Application for Semester Entitlement (ASE) form after you register for classes. If we do not receive an ASE form, we will not certify your semester enrollment to the VA.

The Veterans Certification Office submits an enrollment certification for tuition and fee payment on your behalf to the VA Regional Office in Muskogee, OK. You will receive a confirmation email from the VA when the enrollment certification is received and processed. Please be aware, it may take the VA 6-8 weeks to submit payments to USC.

Post 9/11 GI Bill, Chapter 33, recipients: the monthly housing stipend and annual book grant will be paid to the student directly. Tuition payments and Yellow Ribbon awards are paid directly to the school. To find VA payment estimates, click here. Any late fees or holds that may appear on your account due to the VA certification process will be removed once VA tuition payments are released to USC. If VA payment delays are causing financial hardship and your VA enrollment certification was submitted, please contact 888-GIBILL-1 to notify the VA as this can speed up the VA payment process. To request USC hold removals prior to VA tuition payment arrival, please email a copy of your VA payment confirmation letter (mailed directly to you by the VA) to collect@usc.edu. If classes are in session, please continue attending your classes during this time. If you have any questions and concerns regarding your student financial account, please email the Agency Billing Office. Check your student billing account via OASIS to ensure payment was received by the school. If dropping a course results in a tuition or stipend overpayment, you must send all corresponding VA tuition overpayment letters to USC Agency Billing at agbill@usc.edu so they can issue a refund to the VA; however, overpayments pertaining to housing and book stipends will be your responsibility to settle with the VA directly.

Contact your program of study representatives to explore additional scholarship options and/or the USC Financial Aid Office at 213-740-1111 for additional funding, if needed.

I am enrolling/enrolled in non-standard or short-term courses, how could this affect VA payments?

Be aware that enrolling in short-term courses may affect your monthly housing allowance. The VA may only consider the number of concurrent semester units to calculate your BAH/MHA.

Undergraduate students must be enrolled in 12 or more concurrent units per semester, also applicable during regular summer sessions, in order to be considered full-time.

Master degree students must be enrolled in 8 or more units per semester, in order to be considered full-time. Exceptions are made for thesis courses.

Doctorate degree students must be enrolled in 6 or more units per semester, in order to be considered full-time. Exceptions are made for dissertation courses.

Per the Department of Veterans Affairs:

Equivalent Credit Hours (Non-33 Undergraduate)

VA converts credit earned during nonstandard quarters or semesters to equivalent credit hours. VA makes the conversion, not schools. Schools must report actual credit. Refer to the credit hour equivalency tables. The formula for converting quarters or semesters to credit equivalents is the same, except for the multiplier. The formulas are:

Semester: Credit × 18 ÷ weeks = credit hour equivalents. 4 semester credits earned in 4 weeks is the equivalent of 18 credits earned during a standard semester (4 × 18 ÷ 4 = 18) and will pay full-time for 4 weeks.

VA pays education benefits for nonstandard enrollment periods based on credit equivalents. Remember, schools report actual number of credits; VA makes the conversion. When enrollment periods overlap, credit hour equivalents for the period of overlap are combined.

Equivalency Tables (Chapter 30, 32, 35, 1606, and 1607)

The training time credit hour equivalency tables for chapters 30, 32, 35, 1606, 1607, and show undergraduate training time for nonstandard length quarters and semesters at schools where 12 credits is full-time. Training time for nonstandard length terms is paid based on credit equivalents.

Calculate number of weeks by counting the number of days in the enrollment period (first day through the last day) and dividing by 7. Disregard a remainder of 3 days or less and consider a remainder of 4 days or more a full week.

Semester Credit Equivalency Table (non – CH33)

 

Weeks   Credit 15 to 19   14   13   12   11   10   9   8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1
12 or more FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT
11 3/4 FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT
10 3/4 FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT
9 3/4 3/4 FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT
8 1/2 3/4 3/4 FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT
7 1/2 3/4 3/4 3/4 3/4 FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT
 
6 1/2 1/2 1/2 3/4 3/4 3/4 FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT FT
5 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 3/4 3/4 3/4 FT FT FT FT FT FT FT
4 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 3/4 3/4 FT FT FT FT FT FT
3 1/4 1/4 <1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 ¾ ¾ FT FT FT FT
2 1/4 1/4 1/4 1/4 1/4 1/4 ½ ½ 3/4 FT FT FT
1 1/4 1/4 1/4 1/4 1/4 1/4 1/4 1/4 1/4 ¼ ¼ ½ ¾ FT

For VA payment estimates, including housing stipend, please call 888-GIBILL-1 or see the following link: https://www.va.gov/gi-bill-comparison-tool/.

I am eligible for Military Tuition Assistance; how do I get that processed?

The Agency Billing Office can assist with Military TA processing.

What are the criteria for Yellow Ribbon award consideration?

Please visit the Yellow Ribbon Program.

How many veterans are enrolled at USC? How can I connect with my peers?

An estimated 1,000+ veterans and dependents are enrolled at USC. Please contact the USC Veterans Resource Center or USC Military and Veterans Initiatives to find the various ways you can get involved in veteran’s activities.

Do I qualify for the Forever GI Bill and how will any changes affect me?

Updates and details are available through the Forever GI Bill web page.

Questions or comments? askUSC