Tuition for undergraduate students at USC will increase to $57,256 for the 2019-20 academic year, the University announced in a press release Monday. That’s an increase of 3.5 percent from this academic year’s tuition of $55,320.
The tuition hike is the same as last year’s, which the University said was the lowest since the 1969-70 school year. But, according to previous Daily Trojan reporting, the increase is the lowest since the 2011-12 school year, when tuition increased by 2.11 percent. The average annual tuition increase for private, not-for-profit four-year institutions over the last decade was 2.4 percent, according to the College Board Annual Survey of Colleges.
The announcement comes less than a week after the FBI released its investigation regarding the largest alleged college admissions bribery scheme in history, of which USC was at the forefront.
The Board of Trustees approved the change, according to the news release. Board of Trustees Chairman Rick Caruso said the tuition increase reflects rising University costs.
“Is the cost of a tuition an issue that needs to be solved? Yes, it does,” Caruso said. “And that is a national issue. It is a USC issue and a national issue.”
In addition to its involvement in the college admissions scandal, USC is currently being sued by 652 plaintiffs regarding former campus gynecologist George Tyndall, who is also being sued for alleged sexual misconduct. In October, the University announced a multi-tier $215 million class action settlement that will get dispersed to Tyndall’s former patients and victims of his abuse.
“There is no issue in USC’s financial soundness, period,” Caruso said.
Two out of three USC students receive some form of financial aid, according to the news release. Since 2008, USC financial aid has increased by 79 percent. USC is the ninth most expensive school in the country for the 2018-19 school year, according to the U.S. News and World Report.
“The value of a USC degree keeps getting stronger,” Provost Michael Quick said. “By keeping tuition increases low and boosting financial assistance, we are providing a world-class education to a diverse and talented student body who will go on to be the next generation of leaders.”
Undergraduate Student Government president-elect Trenton Stone, a sophomore majoring in philosophy, said he hopes resources for financially insecure students are maintained as USC’s tuition increases.
“We want to emphasize … that the University will continue to ensure to support financially insecure students,” Stone said. “Whether that’s making sure that any increase in resources is also equally distributed to things like the food pantry, to the Trojan Shelter, to the community house, to the financial aid office, things like that.”
Stone said he believes it is up to the current and incoming administration to ensure the value of USC’s tuition is maintained and that tuition hikes are justified.
“If those promises aren’t fulfilled … if the new leadership that comes in doesn’t listen to student voices and continues to allow scandals to happen … then that value will decrease,” Stone said.
Sam Lopez, the assistant vice president of University Advancement Communications at USC, said the University expects a decline in donations this year due to recent events.
“It is important to emphasize that gifts will not be used to pay legal settlements,” Lopez said. “Gifts to USC always have been, and will continue to be, used solely for their intended purpose as stated in the gift agreements or in the designated fund’s guidelines.”
The University will hold an open forum Tuesday to address tuition increases and student well-being, according to an email Interim President Wanda Austin sent to the USC community March 6. The forum will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center on the University Park Campus and Aresty Auditorium on the Health Sciences Campus simultaneously via livestream.
Mia Speier contributed to this report.