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Financial Aid & the RA Position

What will be the impact on my financial aid if I become an RA?

USC fully meets the demonstrated need of all eligible students, with a combination of work-study, loan, and grants. Becoming a Resident Assistant (RA) does not change your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is calculated based on your family’s financial circumstances. The difference between your cost of attendance and EFC is your financial need, which determines the amount of aid you are eligible for.

The Estimated Cost of Attendance (COA) will not include the housing and dining costs that are waived by USC for students who are appointed RAs. .

  • Housing: If you become an RA, your COA will not include a component for housing, since the full cost will be waived.
  • Dining/Meals: Your COA for dining/meals will depend on the meal plan you are provided. RAs with Cardinal or Cardinal Flex Meal Plan will not have a COA amount for dining, since these plans are comprehensive. Students with an RA Apartment or other meal plan will have a reduced amount for dining in their COA, subtracting the plan’s value from the amount in the standard COA.

 See chart below for current-year (2022-23) comparison. 

The reduced cost of housing/dining results in lower need and the resulting amount of need-based financial aid. Recognizing the important leadership role of RAs at USC, the USC Financial Aid Office will provide undergraduate RAs with gift aid equal to their demonstrated need, including the minimum student contribution. This may help reduce or replace work-study and loans to meet the need of an RA.

Note: some students with additional merit or other externally funded financial aid scholarships may already have loan and/or work replaced in their Financial Aid Summary, and therefore not eligible for additional gift aid. Graduate students will see a reduction in the dining COA, which may affect loan eligibility or coordination of other aid such as fellowships/stipends.

If you are concerned about how being an RA impacts your financial aid eligibility, or have other questions, please contact the Financial Aid Office and let them know you are considering being an RA and have questions.

2022-2023 Estimated Cost of Attendance

Estimated Cost of Attendance (COA) 2022 Living On/Off-campus RA Cardinal Flex Plan RA Apt Meal Plan 
Tuition $63,468 $63,468 $63,468 
Fees $1,258 $1,258 $1,258 
Housing $10,506 $0 $0 
Dining/meals $6,930 $0 $4,720 
Books and supplies $1,200 $1,200 $1,200 
Personal and miscellaneous $1,702 $1,702 $1,702 
Transportation $584 $584 $584 
Total COA $85,648 $68,212 $72,932