USC offers free tuition to students from families making under $80,000; home ownership will not factor in need

LOS ANGELES -- The University of Southern California announced Thursday that it will phase in free tuition for students from families with an annual income of $80,000 or less, and home ownership will not be used to determine a student's financial need.

"We're opening the door wider to make a USC education possible for talented students from all walks of life," USC President Carol L. Folt said in a statement. "This significant step we are taking today is by no means the end of our affordability journey."

The changes will be phased in beginning with first-year students entering USC in the fall of 2020 and the spring of 2021, the university said.

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According to Folt's statement, USC will increase undergraduate aid by more than $30 million annually. When fully implemented, the expansion will allow the university to provide stronger financial assistance to more than 4,000 students every year.

About one-third of the fall 2020 and spring 2021 entering class are expected to benefit from the increase in financial assistance.

"With this new initiative, we will be even better positioned to recruit students from all backgrounds and strengthen the USC experience for everyone," said Charles F. Zukoski, the university's provost.

Folt, the former chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was named USC's president in 2019 as the university was addressing a series of major scandals, including the college admissions bribery case.

That scandal came in the wake of allegations that USC ignored complaints of widespread sexual misconduct by longtime campus gynecologist George Tyndall and an investigation into a medical school dean accused of smoking methamphetamine with a woman who overdosed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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