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The University of Southern California (USC), a private research university in Los Angeles, will start granting free tuition to students in need.
Starting fall this year, USC will waive full undergraduate tuition for students from families who earn $80,000 or less yearly. The initiative is in line with the university’s efforts to give more opportunities to students who are struggling financially.
With the increasing costs of obtaining college degrees, USC, along with the University of California system and other distinguished institutions, is hoping that the support will attract more students from diverse economic backgrounds.
The tuition at USC costs about $57,000 currently. On top of this, students attending the university will need an additional budget of around $20,000 for other expenses such as food, lodging, and course materials.
When evaluating students for their eligibility, the university will not consider whether their families own a house or not. As the USC president explained, expensive real estate rates can increase the total assets of low- and middle-income families, which may disqualify students who actually do need assistance.
With around 42 million people owing a total of $1.5 trillion in student loans, the affordability of college education is a pressing issue in the United States. According to studies, some qualified students have been discouraged from going to college to avoid incurring heavy student loans. These students end up having fewer opportunities to get high-paying jobs in the future.
USC said that it will increase its budget for financial aid programs by more than $30 million each year through philanthropy to support 4,000 students yearly.