USC Merit Scholarships: Features, Eligibility, Contacts, Application and Benefits

USC awards merit scholarships based on academic achievement, leadership potential, and extracurricular involvement.

When students apply to USC Early Action, the university automatically considers them for these scholarships. There’s no need for a separate application.

USC Merit Scholarship Guide
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What are the USC Merit Scholarships?

The University of Southern California (USC) stands out as one of the elite private universities providing substantial merit scholarships to highly qualified students.

To qualify for a USC merit scholarship, students need to submit their applications before the regular decision deadline.

In most cases, USC selects 2% of early applicants for consideration for a merit scholarship.

There are three potential USC merit scholarships that students might receive: the trustee scholarship (full tuition), the presidential scholarship (half tuition), and the dean’s scholarship (quarter tuition).

Features of the Scholarship

  • USC maintains the program for up to four years of undergraduate study, given that the recipient maintains a 3.4 cumulative GPA.
  • USC allows the combination of merit scholarships with other forms of financial aid, including federal grants and loans.
  • USC awards Merit Scholars with priority class registration and access to exclusive resources and programs.

Eligibility for USC Merit Scholarship

  1. USC considers all first-year applicants who apply early for USC Merit Scholarships.
  2. Students who apply to portfolio-based programs with a December 1 Regular Decision deadline will also be in the running for merit scholarships.
  3. USC Merit Scholars usually rank within the top 2% of the admitted applicant pool concerning their academic and extracurricular accomplishments.


  • USC Office of Admissions: (213) 740-1111
  • USC Financial Aid Office: (213) 740-7722


Eligible students should submit their application by the early action deadline of November 1. This application consists of:

  1. Completing either the Common Application or USC Application.
  2. Providing official high school transcripts.
  3. Submitting standardized test scores (SAT or ACT)
  4. Including letters of recommendation.
  5. Composing a personal statement.
  6. Filling out the financial aid application, which may involve the FAFSA and/or CSS Profile.

Benefits of the USC Scholarship

  • Reduced tuition costs.
  • Priority registration for classes
  • Access to exclusive resources and programs.
  • Networking opportunities with high-achieving students and faculty.
  • Acceptance into competitive programs and internships.
  • Gainful employment after graduation.