Frequently Asked Questions

The Veterans Certification Office is unavailable for in-person contact at this time.

However, we continue to offer email and virtual meeting support for any of your VA benefit-related questions and needs. Please email us at vets@usc.edu.

The USC Veterans Certification Office certifies enrollment for USC students who apply and are eligible for educational assistance administered by the Veterans Administration. The office forwards enrollment certifications to regional offices of the Veterans Administration, provides assistance to students with problems related to the Veterans Administration educational (or covered) programs and maintains a reference file on all VA students for up to three years.

Advance Payment: The University of Southern California does not participate in advance payment for VA students.
In-person services are available in the Tutor Campus Center (TCC), Room 330D.

The first step to take is to apply to USC. Please visit USC Admission to look up information on the admission process, or call (213) 740-1111 for guidance. For transfer students, the USC Transfer Planning Guide is also available for further assistance.

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 because USC is a private institution. The 2021-2022 annual cap is up to $26,042.81, August 1 – July 31.  If you are eligible for the Yellow Ribbon award, the VA and USC may each pay up to $10,000 annually for graduate students and 100 percent 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 that you can make an informed decision on which GI bill best fits your career goal. If you don’t understand something and/or you have eligibility questions, please call the VA 24-hour hotline at 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551). It is highly suggested that you write your questions down prior to calling the VA 24-hour hotline.

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

For students in the Marshall School of Business or Viterbi School of Engineering , obtain details about the Schoen scholarship by emailing mba@marshall.usc.edu or viterbi.admission@usc.edu, respectively.

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 the GoGrad website.

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

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

The USC Veterans Resource Center and USC Veterans Association host USC Veteran Transfer Advisement Lunches. The luncheons give prospective community college transfer students who are veterans an opportunity to receive advice on applying to USC and information about the programs and services USC offers. More than 50 veterans from various community colleges across the southland attend each of our luncheons.

Email vrc@usc.edu for information.

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

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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 the admission team to learn more about you, your background, and your experiences.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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

For an estimation of tuition and fees, please visit the  USC Catalogue. USC is a private institution, and 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 only for 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 USC 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 from 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.

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. (The requirement must be listed in the school catalogue.)

Example 1: If a nursing program requires a “B” or better in Biology, you may repeat the course if you did not earn a “B” or better. 

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 simply 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 Chapter 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 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, e.g., for an MBA, MBA.PM, etc.

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.

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 August 1.

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 session 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.