The University of Southern California (USC) will eliminate tuition for families that earn $80,000 or less, starting with students who enroll this fall.
The private university also declared Thursday that it will no longer factor in whether a person owns a home when determining financial aid to combat rising housing prices combined with unchanging incomes, according to a press release.
“This significant step we are taking today is by no means the end of our affordability journey,” USC President Carol Folt said in the statement. “We are committed to increasing USC’s population of innovators, leaders and creators regardless of their financial circumstances.”
The university estimates that about one-third of students will benefit from an increase in financial aid of about $30 million annually. Each eligible student could receive up to $45,000. USC also touts that it has extended its need-based grant funding by more than 60 percent since 2010, outpacing the increase in tuition.
These changes align USC more with the public University of California, which is known for large financial aid packages and high enrollment among low-income students, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The cost of tuition alone at USC reaches $57,256, compared to the resident tuition of $12,570 at the University of California.
Other universities, such as Harvard and Stanford, offer free tuition for families who make as much as $150,000 annually but have much larger endowments of $40.9 billion and $27.7 billion, respectively. USC’s endowment is $5.7 billion, according to the Times.