USC Makes a 'High-Octane' Tuition Move

California private school will waive tuition for families making $80K or less a year
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2020 8:50 AM CST
Make $80K or Less a Year? Your Kids Can Go Here for Free
In this March 12, 2019, file photo, people are seen on the campus of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

In what the Los Angeles Times calls a "high-octane" effort to open its doors to more middle- and low-income students, the University of South California announced a major initiative Thursday that will get rid of tuition for families earning $80,000 a year or less, starting with new students entering USC this fall and in the spring of 2021. The initiative will also take homeownership out of the equation when figuring out a student's financial aid needs. USC President Carol Folt says including that component "felt wrong," considering the high price of housing in California—meaning the "home might be the piece inhibiting [parents'] ability to put their kids through school." Transfer students don't qualify for the new policies.

The cost to attend the private university this school year runs close to $80,000, with tuition alone costing more than $57,000; per NBC News. Fox News notes that the public UCLA is just a few miles away, of "a similar caliber," and available at a fraction of the cost—tuition is just north of $13,000, with annual costs running about $35,000. Other big-name private schools like Harvard and Stanford offer a higher earning cap (up to $150,000 per year) for free-tuition eligibility, but the Times notes they have much larger endowments: $40.9 billion and $27.7 billion, respectively, while USC has just $5.7 billion. "We are committed to increasing USC's population of innovators, leaders, and creators regardless of their financial circumstances," Folt said in a statement. (More USC stories.)

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