Does USC usually vastly undermeet demonstrated need?

I got into USC (found out today). I was excited because I was hoping that they, with their reputation for being good with financial aid, would create something affordable, rather than UCLA and Cal's offer.
I was pretty heartbroken to find out they only offered 4k in scholarships and about 5k in loans (bringing total down to about 53k).
This is way over our EFC of 32k and way more than I can ever hope to afford. Is this typical of USC to screw people? Will calling them help at all?</p>

<p>How did you find out what financial aid they offered you?</p>

<p>Same here,
Our FAFSA EFC was $29000, but our financial package says $48000.
I’m very shocked and disappointed.
Would appealing help?</p>



Please take some time to read posts from alamemom regarding financial aid. She is an excellent resource on college funding at USC. From what was included in the aid letter it appears the package is not complete. Was there mention of grants from your state, federal grants or university grants? What about work study?

Did your family fill out all the required forms and send them by the deadline? Did you apply for any local scholarships?


<pre><code>SC uses both the FAFSA and the CSS profile. Did you use the USC calculator?

<p>Yes, please remember that unless you received a message saying your package is complete, chances are it’s not complete.</p>

<p>^^This. If you qualified for federal and state aid at your other schools and they are missing in your USC package, your package is probably incomplete. You should wait for an email/message stating that your aid package is ready to view. </p>

<p>Read the very detailed financial aid thread-- it will answer many many repeated questions.</p>

<p>(*The CSS Profile and non-custodial parent can also make drastic changes to an estimated FAFSA EFC)</p>

<p>do any applicants have their satisfactory academic progress (SAP) part checked-off and highlighted in green under the financial aid status check page?</p>

<p>SeaLionLaugh, </p>

<p>Same here. </p>

<p>D received an email from USC this afternoon to check her financial aid. The award seems complete and includes grants, work study, loans, etc. For us, USC’s EFC is almost 4 times FAFSA’s EFC and 2-4 times the EFC of other CSS Profile colleges to which D was accepted. Also, our net price would be about twice what their net price calculator indicates.</p>

<p>We are honored that D was accepted, but unfortunately USC is well out of reach for us. The appeal page is focused on changes in our financial situation and says that “financial aid awards from other institutions will not be reviewed or considered in modifying the expected family contribution.” Given this, we don’t think it makes sense to appeal.</p>

<p>We are grateful that D has other good options. </p>

<p>Congrats to those who received affordable financial aid packages.</p>

<p>Agreed, USC upped our EFC significantly. It is horrible. Unfortunately, they have a policy where they up the bill on many of us in order to pay for the financial need of others. They often boast that a third of full paid tuition goes to pay for financial needs for other students. It is a grossly unfair policy and kills opportunities for those that are neither considered rich or poor.</p>

<p>USC’s financial aid package is a joke.</p>

<p>I got an email at around 4:30EST saying that my FA package was under review and they’ll email me when it’s done. So far there’s nothing new on usconnect.
Did you guys get this preliminary email? If so, what time did you get it and what time was it actually updated?</p>

It sounds like your FA is not finalized yet.</p>

<p>If it helps, D’s email began as below. She logged in immediately and the aid was there.</p>

<p>Good luck!</p>

<p>Subject: “2013-2014 Award Information”</p>

<p>Message: "2013-2014 Financial Aid Notice </p>

USCID: [ID]</p>

<p>Dear [Name],

<p>Your 2013-2014 award information was recently updated and sent to your online record.</p>


<p>To view your award, please visit [USC</a> Financial Aid](<a href=“]USC”>USC Financial Aid), click on My Financial Aid and Documents and follow the instructions provided.


<p>We have had much the same experience as many of you. Jubilant to get accepted into Annenberg at USC, and then depressed to see the financial aid offer. We’d have to pay over $50K per yr. Our EFC was about 20000. I have learned that the EFC figure is merely an “index” to some mysterious formula which appears to vary from college to college. </p>

<p>I called the financial aid office and asked a woman there how to appeal. She said to go to your portal at USConnect</p>

<p>Then click on “Required Info and Forms”. There you can select something like “appeal” and upload a Word file where you explain why you need more aid. Then you click on the “income and expense document” or something like that and fill out an online form with yet more questions about your money, in the hopes of reconsideration. I am about to do that but am feeling not-very-hopeful. Even if they were generous enough to reduce it by $10K, it would still be too much. </p>

<p>I am in tears for my son.</p>

<p>Last year, a number of my dd’s friends got into SC. They too were disappointed that their FA was ungenerous, but a couple of them sent their kids anyway because of the “prestige factor”. These parents were nuts. Two of them took out mortgage loans! One completely rebudgeted her lifestyle and is living very frugally.<br>
Honestly, if USC really wanted you there, they would have paid. I think they count on people like my daughter’s friends who fry their bank accounts to pay for an unaffordable education.</p>

<p>I was “gapped” initially (to use the term I heard often) and the big thing that made it happen for me was to “go on offense” and demonstrate to the university that I really wanted to go there in the first place. Do the enrollment deposit (sign of good faith) and then be prepared to THOROUGHLY document your family’s circumstances to explain exactly why it is that their financial aid offer is insufficient. If you are honest and forthright with them and explain that you genuinely want to go there, then they will work with you. But you have to be honest with them - they have far too many people try to snow them, and it hurts everyone else.</p>

<p>You might also want to deposit on another school as well. And consider doing the 2 year CC transfer route as well - that’s another good way to “skin the cat.” Unfortunately, college costs are absolutely out of control nowadays, especially for parents who had the audacity to have more than one kid and who entertain notions of one day being able to retire.</p>

<p>My family’s EFC on the fafsa is only 4,400, but I think the fact that we have no mortgage might change things (my dad actually built our house). Hopefully I’ll still get a good amount of aid since my sister is also in college. I really have no chance of affording USC without it.</p>

<p>^^ yes, the equity in your home is an asset, just like other financial assets. If you read the financial aid sticky (and go on the financial aid forum), you will see how much of the equity from your home is expected as a contribution per year (there is a formula for this which is detailed in this thread). For people with low income, but large assets (completely paid off home), your FAFSA EFC will UNDERESTIMATE your CSSprofile EFC. </p>

<p>Yes, colleges do expect you to morgage your home or take equity from your home to pay for college. This is similar to expecting you to use your savings, your stock portfolio, your 529s, etc…even though you don’t want to. The EFC is not calculated to be what is comfortable for a family to come up with— most families find their EFC way higher than they can actually afford without huge sacrifices. </p>

<p>FAFSA only schools take less financial assets and income into consideration.</p>

<p>I completely relate to all the frustration expressed here. It is hard to finally have the admissions results our kids dream of and discover the university expects so much of the burden of the cost to be paid by the families. I particularly hate that they use the term “family’s need” when, in fact, they mean an amount much lower than what many family’s truly can afford.</p>

<p>However, I must disagree with Aunt Bee (although I do love your cc name). Neither USC, nor any expensive private university, “counts on” families making horrible financial decisions that put them into debt or deplete retirement plans to send their students to college. If I were being really blunt and jaded, I’d suggest they probably count on families who truly can afford over a quarter of a million dollars to send their students to USC. They expect families who cannot to frankly discuss financial realities with the student and make another choice.</p>

<p>And I do agree, the above conversation can be heartbreaking if the parameters were not discussed before applying to colleges and seeing what the merit/financial aid roller coaster has in store.</p>

<p>Love the school. My D needs to be there for a major and has has a great fr/so year. So no complaints about Trojan Nation. But their definition of “need” is very different from other great institutions. Unfortunately everything that I’ve seen is the bottom line is that it is a school for the rich. Only the rich can do what they expect, everyone else really can’t begin to make the financial decisions that they expect. I have talked over and over with them. They absolutely take your home equity into consideration and expect you to deplete it through lines of credit. They absolutely expect you to ask relatives and friends to help pay for your kid’s education. And they fully expect that you’ll take as much Parent-Plus loan money out as possible. So that leaves you absolutely broke with no equity or future or hope for any other siblings. It wouldn’t be so galling if they didn’t raise zillions of $$$ daily or act on equally footing as other top US colleges (Ivy’s or Big Tens with large endowments). Their campus tour starts with a talk about how generous they are with money. So this year I’ll fight again and I truly hope that they at least keep us about equal $$$-aid as the past two years. This has been a rant, excuse me for this. My D loves being there, W & I love the school. But the $$$$ part is the flaw and I really wish that if they went a little further with $$$ it would so much better of an experience for everyone.