Types of Aid
USC Law Scholarships
The USC Law Admission and Financial Aid Committee awards tuition scholarships to approximately one-half of the students in each entering class. All scholarship offers are made in the incoming year and are guaranteed for all three years of law school. We do not reserve any funds for making new awards in the 2nd or 3rd year and so it is generally the case that the financial aid package will remain the same for all three years. Our three-year scholarships, with no strings attached, enable our admitted applicants to have a clear understanding of the full cost of their USC legal education, rather than just having that information for the first year. We wish you to be fully informed prior to making the important decision about where you will spend the next three years investing time and money in your professional education.
USC Law Scholarships are awarded based on merit, or the overall strength of the applicant's admission application, along with consideration given for diversity characteristics. USC Law seeks to enroll a diverse class of individuals, one which will broaden the scope of world views represented, and which consists of students we believe will thrive and excel, not just academically, but also personally and professionally. No single factor determines whether a scholarship award will be made. If you believe our scholarship offer is not competitive with another offer you have received from a similarly-ranked school and you are serious in your desire to enroll at USC Law, please give us the opportunity to reconsider our offer. We will not enter into a bidding competition with another school but we are happy to take a second look and determine whether our initial offer will stand or whether we are able to revise our final offer.
Grants based solely on financial need are not awarded by USC Law and federal grant programs are not available to graduate students. The Law School Financial Aid Office actively seeks out and publicizes scholarship opportunities from external sources which may become available throughout the year. You will be notified of any opportunities which come to our attention for incoming students. Applicants are also encouraged to seek out such opportunities on their own through organizations they or their family members may have affiliations with, through internet searches, or any other resources that can be found.
Loans are money you borrow that must be repaid with interest, and may involve extra fees. USC Law participates in several federal low-interest loan programs for students. Some of these loans are need-based, while others are not. For details, see the description for each program.
- Federal Stafford Loan: Graduate/professional students can borrow up to $20,500 per year in low-interest loans offered by the federal government through the Department of Education. Direct Stafford Loans have a fixed interest rate of 6.8% and repayment begins six months after graduation, or after enrollment drops to less than half-time. The student is responsible for the interest while enrolled. Students have the option of making interest payments or capitalizing it and having the interest added to the principal at repayment.
- Federal Graduate PLUS Loan: One option for financing remaining costs is the Federal Graduate PLUS Loan. This loan enables law students to borrow up to the cost of attendance, less any other financial aid received. The interest rate is a fixed rate of 7.9% and approval of this loan does require a credit check to be completed. This is an unsubsidized loan, meaning interest will begin to accrue upon disbursement and is the borrower's responsibility. Payments of principal and interest can be deferred while the borrower is enrolled in school at least half-time. Repayment begins six months after graduation, or after enrollment drops to less than half-time.
- Private Educational Loans: Another option for students who need to finance their remaining costs is private educational loans offered by lenders. Like the Federal PLUS Loan, these loans can also cover up to the cost of attendance, less any other financial aid received. One major difference is that they have a variable interest rate which is determined by the lender upon review of the student's credit history. There are other differences as well and students considering using a private loan program rather than a Federal Graduate PLUS Loan are encouraged to contact the Law School's Financial Aid Office to discuss the pros and cons.