Financial Aid

At USC, we recognize that many students and their families need assistance in meeting the costs of an outstanding private education. Regardless of a family’s financial circumstances, all domestic applicants are encouraged to apply for university need-based aid.

Specific information on USC’s financial aid program and complete financial aid application instructions can be found at The USC Financial Aid Office strives to meet each undergraduate student’s full demonstrated financial need and the process for doing so requires the applicant to adhere to strict deadlines and provide considerable documentation. It is important to plan ample time to complete the process and follow all deadlines closely. Graduate students are eligible for need-based loan funding through the USC Financial Aid Office, however need-based grants are not available.

Please note: International applicants are not eligible for federal need-based financial aid.

Cost of tuition for the Thornton School of Music programs

Cost of tuition for the Arts Leadership program

Cost of tuition for the Screen Scoring program

Merit-Based Aid

The USC Thornton School of Music awards scholarships to students with outstanding demonstrated talent in the student’s chosen field of study. Undergraduates pursuing degrees in Music Industry, Popular Music Performance, Music Production and Choral Music are not eligible for Thornton scholarship awards. Applicants to all other undergraduate programs, both domestic and international, are considered for scholarships based on the following: [1] a recommendation from the faculty of the department of a student’s major and [2] availability of funding. Approximately one-third of admitted undergraduates in music are offered a scholarship ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 per year. In addition, a select number of applicants will be offered USC academic awards (Trustee, Presidential, and Dean’s Scholarships) ranging from one-quarter to full tuition (see below).

Graduate students pursuing degrees in Arts Leadership, Music Industry, Community Music, and Music Teaching and Learning are not eligible for Thornton scholarship awards. Graduate students pursuing Screen Scoring are considered for a limited number of scholarships. All other graduate students are eligible for a range of merit-based funding including scholarships, teaching assistantships, and USC fellowships.

It must be noted, however, that a faculty recommendation for Thornton School of Music merit aid does not guarantee that a student will be awarded a scholarship. In addition, for undergraduates receiving need-based aid, the combination of all merit, departmental or outside agency scholarships or loans may not exceed the USC-calculated financial need.

USC Academic Scholarships

For detailed information about academic scholarships offered to undergraduate applicants by USC please click here.

Teaching Assistantships

For detailed information about our graduate teaching assistantships please click here.

Other possible sources of aid

Students are encouraged to explore other possible sources of financial aid. Terms and eligibility requirements vary considerably for the many types of financial aid that are available.

Two sources of aid in particular that students are encouraged to explore are the USC Alumni Association and USC Town and Gown scholarships. Information on both of these award possibilities are available online at and

Students are also encouraged to search for scholarships outside of USC through scholarship searches found online:




Any scholarships you receive will not be in addition to other forms of need-based financial aid but will change the composition of USC-calculated financial aid eligibility. In most cases, USC Financial Aid will allow outside scholarships to reduce the student loans or Federal Work-Study in a financial aid package. Please contact USC Financial Aid with questions about how specific scholarships will affect financial aid eligibility.