The University of Southern California has announced a dramatic expansion in the number of students who will qualify for free tuition starting with freshmen entering this fall. Going forward, new students from families with annual incomes of $80,000 or less will have their tuition waived entirely. It’s part of a package of financial aid reforms announced by new university president Carol L. Folt aimed at making education more accessible.
“We’re opening the door wider to make a USC education possible for talented students from all walks of life,” Folt wrote in a statement announcing the policy.
USC announced at the same time that the value of a family’s home would no longer figure into the calculation to determine financial aid. This addresses an issue that some have raised in recent years, with some students finding themselves unable to receive need-based aid because the market value of their family homes increased rapidly with rising housing prices, even if their parents’ actual income has not kept up.
Between the two policy changes, USC estimates that an additional 4,000 incoming freshman class will see some or all of their tuition waived–on top of the nearly two thirds of USC undergraduates who were already receiving some form of financial aid.
“USC is committed to educating the strongest minds, independent of background or ability to pay. For decades, USC has invested in this commitment,” USC Provost Charles F. Zukoski wrote. “With this new initiative, we will be even better positioned to recruit students from all backgrounds and strengthen the USC experience for everyone.”
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