USC increases tuition for Fall 2016 semester

Tuition will increase by $1,978 for the 2016-2017 school year, according to the website of USC’s Financial Aid Office.

A screenshot of the website showing the changes went viral on social media Tuesday night.

The administration did not release a corresponding statement alongside the increase. Instead, the estimated cost of attendance was updated on the financial aid website, sometime after Sunday night. The Office of Financial Aid did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The total estimated cost increased from $67,212 for the current academic year to $69,711 for the 2016-2017 year.

The largest source of the estimated $2,500 hike can be attributed to a 4 percent increase in tuition fees. The second greatest source of increase from room and board costs, which are calculated from the average living costs of students living in on-campus freshman housing and includes a standard meal plan.

There was also an estimated $300 decrease in the cost of books and supplies, and a $300 increase in personal and miscellaneous costs. The only fee to stay constant is the transportation fee, which has stayed at $580. None of these changes have been explained yet.

The USC board of trustees meet annually to set tuition fees. No students are included on the board.

In 2015, a resolution calling for a tuition freeze was authored by current Undergraduate Student Government President Rini Sampath, Assistant Director of the Academic Culture Assembly Luis Vidalon-Suzuki and USG marketing assistant director and Senator-elect Paul Samaha. Despite the resolution passing in the USG senate in November of last year, the College Affordability and Financial Transparency Resolution has not been implemented by the administration.

Holly Huber, a sophomore studying biomedical engineering, commented on the tuition hikes and mentioned the resolution that passed was passed by the Senate.

“I think it’s outrageous that the university isn’t listening to the student voice,” Huber said. “Their first priority should be the students; obviously USG had a huge movement to pass a resolution to stop the tuition hike, and [the administration] just did not listen.” Huber said.

Overall, Huber expressed confusion at the lack of transparency between the administration and the student body.

“I don’t understand what their priority is, if not the student voice,” Huber said.



In a statement, Provost Michael Quick said that tuition increases, using 5-year averages, are at the lowest in 50 years.

“The University has made great strides in limiting the tuition increases to maintain affordability, while increasing services to students,” Quick said.

Quick said that the actual cost of attendance is lower than the stated cost of attendance for most students due to USC’s financial aid programs and that USC graduates have lower average debt and loan default rates compared to graduates of other private universities. He also said that the University absorbs some costs that are not reflected in tuition payments.

“We estimate our tuition rate only covers 2/3 of the actual cost of education,” Quick said. “The university covers the balance, because that is part of the commitment we make to our students.”

This post was updated at 10:32 a.m. on March 3rd.