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 $32,924.00 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 2019-2020 annual cap is up to $24,476.79. 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.

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


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, etc.

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.

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 $24,476.79, at 80% you are entitled to $19,581.43; 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 $6,621.43 remaining to use on subsequent semesters until your $19,581.43annual 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;

or

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

or

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 for additional options at USC.

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, VA form 28-1905, from your VA Case Manager. The form can be emailed to vets@usc.edu. 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 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.

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. 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 classes are in session, please continue attending your classes during this time. If you or have any questions and/or 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 agencybilling@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 the USC Financial Aid Office or 213-740-1111 for additional funding to settle your account 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 will 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, in order to be considered full-time

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

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

Example: If a master degree student is concurrently enrolled in 2 courses, a 4 unit course for 18 weeks and a 4 unit course for the first 8 weeks, and both courses begin on the same date, that student will be considered full-time ONLY for the first 8 weeks and will drop to half-time for the remaining 10 weeks, resulting in the termination of BAH/MHA payments from then on.

We understand this is unavoidable with some USC graduate programs. We highly recommend you consider the above rules when making your informed decision to accept an offer of admission from USC.

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 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