The University of Southern California announced that it will make tuition free for students who come from families with an annual income of $80,000 or less.
USC President Carol L. Folt announced Thursday that first-year students entering USC in the fall of 2020 and the spring of 2021 would do so tuition-free if families had an income of less than $80,000 a year, according to the school’s news page. The University also announced that owning a home would not be counted in the calculation 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,” said Folt, according to the USC’s news page. “This significant step we are taking today is by no means the end of our affordability journey. We are committed to increasing USC’s population of innovators, leaders and creators regardless of their financial circumstances. Investing in the talent and diversity of our student body is essential to our educational mission.” (RELATED: University Of Tennessee Announces Tuition-Free Plan For Lower-Income Students In The State)
USC will be increasing its undergraduate aid by more than $30 million annually to accommodate the 4,000 students who will benefit from the new tuition exemption. The University anticipates that approximately one-third of the fall 2020 and spring 2021 entering class will benefit from the increase in financial assistance.
The new measure comes amid a national discussion on the escalating cost of a college education, a topic that presidential candidates like Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren have adopted as an issue central to their campaigns. Student loan debt in 2020 is at a record $1.6 trillion, according to Forbes.
Beth is still paying off her student loans, even as her daughter is about to start college. That’s why I’ve got a plan to cancel student loan debt and for universal free public college—so Beth, her daughter, and everyone in this country can have the chance to thrive. pic.twitter.com/gt1dREymnY
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) February 11, 2020
We are going to win because we have the agenda that speaks to the needs of working people:
Health care is a human right.
The wealthy will start paying their fair share of taxes.
We will make public colleges and universities tuition-free and cancel all student debt.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 12, 2020
Elite universities especially carry the burden of price, University of Chicago and Columbia University leading the nation in annual tuition prices according to US News. USC’s annual tuition is approximately $77,000.