July 31, 2014
Important Financial Aid Information for Admitted Students
Completed Orientation? Check. Registered for your first semester of classes? Check. Paid the first semester’s student account bill? Ummm…
This month, students and families will receive their first bills from the university, so we’d like to share some tips and advice for managing your costs and making use of the resources the university has to offer.
Apply for financial aid.
Although the priority deadlines for 2014-15 have already passed, you can still apply for financial aid. Fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.gov and a CSS PROFILE at profileonline.collegeboard.com. You will be notified of your eligibility within a few weeks.
Calculate your costs.
Once you receive your Financial Aid Summary and your first university bill, use the Calculating Your Bill worksheet to determine what you will need to pay out of pocket or the credit balance you will receive once all your financial aid and gift aid has been applied. The worksheet is available online through the Financial Aid Summary.
Keep in mind that your bill will be updated as charges are applied and financial aid is disbursed. USC University Grants are usually disbursed the last week of July. Federal aid and Cal Grants are disbursed 10 days before the start of classes.
Your most up-to-date charges can be found on your USCe.Pay account at www.usc.edu/epay. Look for notifications regarding your bill in your @USC e-mail account.
Review your FAST (Financial Aid Summary and Tasks) page regularly.
Your FAST page will allow you to track the status of your financial aid application. A red triangle next to an item means that you will need to submit that document or information as soon as possible so that your funds can be disbursed on time. Once you’ve completed that item, allow 3 to 5 days for processing. You do not need to take action on any items indicated with a green or yellow icon.
Sign up for eRefund.
If you will have a credit balance on your student account, consider setting up direct deposit to your bank account through eRefund at www.usc.edu/sfs/directdeposit. Refunds are deposited two days after they’re processed by the Cashier’s Office.
Take advantage of the USC Payment Plan.
If you will need to pay any remaining balance on your student account, you can sign up for the USC Payment Plan, which will allow you to pay your bill in five monthly installments over the course of the semester. The plan is interest-free, but there is a $50 application fee. To apply, visit www.usc.edu/epay.
Save money on books.
Though the cost of books is included in your estimated Cost of Attendance and may be covered by financial aid, there are ways to manage this expense:
- Use the Calculating Your Bill worksheet to determine if you will receive a credit balance that can be used to purchase books.
- Add discretionary funds to your USCard and purchase your books at the USC Bookstore. Discretionary funds are billed to your university account, and payment will be due on the next billing date.
- Use a credit card to purchase or rent books or e-books online. If you use a credit card, be sure to track your purchases and stay within an established budget. Credit cards can help in the short term, but can become a trap in the long run.
- Buy used books or e-books whenever possible. They tend to be significantly more affordable than new books.
Join our Google Hangout on July 31.
Our financial aid counselors will be on hand to answer questions from students and families starting at 3:00 Pacific Time. We look forward to chatting with you!
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