Tuition Exchange

(If you’re looking for information on USC’s Tuition Assistance, visit Education.)

Tuition Exchange is a nonprofit association of 600+ schools, of which USC is a member, that administers this reciprocal scholarship program for children of eligible employees at participating institutions (see the Tuition Exchange site for complete list of schools).

Scholarships generally cover 75-100% of tuition costs; a few member schools may also cover some other costs (housing, etc.). Each year Tuition Exchange establishes a minimum dollar value that each participating school must provide, and the Tuition Exchange site details the programs offered by each institution. Scholarships are for undergraduates seeking their first bachelor’s degree, and are awarded based on policies set by each member school.

More general information on Tuition Exchange is available from the Tuition Exchange webinar (register to view).

USC’s Tuition Exchange scholarships are awarded for 8 semesters (or until a degree is earned, whichever comes first). They are renewed each year dependent upon satisfactory academic progress, good conduct, and continued parental benefit eligibility.

By accepting a Tuition Exchange scholarship at any given school, the student is committing to completing his/her degree at that school and is not eligible for Tuition Assistance at USC either during or after enrollment at the Tuition Exchange school. This means that students who begin a degree program with a Tuition Exchange scholarship will not be eligible for Tuition Assistance should they later transfer to USC. Similarly, students who have already received USC’s Tuition Assistance benefit are not eligible for a Tuition Exchange scholarship.

The Tuition Exchange program is a balance of “exports” (children of USC employees looking for scholarships elsewhere) and “imports” (children of other college employees looking for USC scholarships). USC is subsidizing the imports – paying for the scholarships provided to children of employees from other colleges. In exchange, the other institutions are subsidizing the exports – paying for the scholarships provided to children of USC employees. Because of these commitments, if your export stops using Tuition Exchange at another school for any reason, including because he/she is accepted to and obtaining a degree from USC, USC is still obligated to continue paying for the scholarship provided to the matching import who is already studying here. Providing Tuition Assistance to your export, in this case, would mean the university is paying tuition in two places for your child – and that will not be allowed.

Depending on the number of requests for Tuition Exchange, a lottery system may be used to determine the number of applications that will be allowed from children of USC employees. This is because the number of “exports” must balance with the number of “imports.”

To apply for Tuition Exchange scholarships

Study the Tuition Exchange site and determine which schools are of interest to your child; he/she must apply for admission to each school of interest. The most valuable feature on the site is “conducting a school search” which features important deadlines for each member school, whether the scholarship is reserved for freshmen only, and the percentage of applicants who are awarded the scholarship. You’ll also be able to determine whether each school covers full tuition or a lesser amount, whether they cover other types of expenses, and if the award can be applied to study abroad programs.

Admission decisions are made without reference to financial need or to Tuition Exchange eligibility, but applicants are encouraged to apply for admission as early as possible since scholarships are competitive and limited. You will likely not receive a Tuition Exchange scholarship decision until after admission has been granted.

BEFORE OCTOBER 1 OF YOUR CHILD’S SENIOR YEAR IN HIGH SCHOOL (or the year before his/her anticipated fall enrollment, if not currently in high school), you must submit three items to USC Benefits:

  1. A Tuition Exchange certification application (applications are only accepted from July 1 to October 1 each year, and are only available, on this site, during that time period. Next year’s application will be available here on July 1, 2017).
  2. A copy of the child’s birth certificate
  3. The child’s official transcript

If after submitting the initial Tuition Exchange application a family wishes to add another school for Tuition Exchange consideration, email the HR Service Center (note “Tuition Exchange” in the subject line) as soon as possible. If students fail to apply for admission to a school that they’d listed on the initial Tuition Exchange application, the family should immediately contact USC Benefits (via the HR Service Center) so those applications can be rescinded. Keep Benefits informed of admission status at each school and of any direct contact with Tuition Exchange liaisons from other schools.

The Tuition Exchange acceptance process generally begins in March for freshman applicants. Each school will make its own independent decisions regarding Tuition Exchange awards based on an evaluation of the applicant’s academic merit. The schools will then notify USC and the student. Students are encouraged to commit to universities as early as possible so that the university can balance its imports and exports.