LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – For the second consecutive year, the USC Board of Trustees approved a 3.5 percent increase in undergraduate tuition, the university announced Monday.
The increase for the 2019-20 academic year brings undergraduate tuition to a total of $57,256.
“The value of a USC degree keeps getting stronger,” Provost Michael W. Quick said in a statement. “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. We are proud of the education and the opportunities we provide to our students, and that will continue.”
Over the past six years, the increase in the average net price of a USC education, adjusted for inflation, was 3 percent.
Over the past week, USC has been rocked by a college admissions scandal that allegedly involved USC student Olivia Jade Giannulli, the daughter of actress Lori Loughlin.
The “Full House” actress and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, are accused of paying $500,000 in order for their two daughters to be designated as recruits to the USC crew team – despite the fact that neither of them ever participated in crew, an indictment claims.
The entire operation was masterminded by William Singer of Newport Beach, according to authorities. Loughlin and fellow actress Felicity Huffman were among about 50 people indicted in the widespread and sophisticated bribery scheme. The racketeering conspiracy case includes 33 parents, as well nine coaches from universities that include USC, UCLA, Yale, Stanford and Georgetown.
Last week, two Stanford students filed a lawsuit against USC and other universities, claiming their degrees had been devalued by the scandal. In the lawsuit, Erica Olsen and Kalea Woods say that despite their stellar test scores, athletic skills and accolades, they did not get a fair chance at admission to Yale or USC, and their Stanford degrees will now be questioned due to the university’s inclusion in the scandal.
USC holds one of the largest financial aid programs in the country, with more than $350 million awarded last year from all USC sources. Since 2008, USC student financial aid has increased 79 percent, far outpacing tuition increases.
Two out of three USC students receive some form of financial assistance.
Applicants’ ability to pay is not considered during the admissions process at USC. The university said this allows USC to attract top students from all backgrounds: 26 percent of undergraduates are from underrepresented minority groups and 21 percent of undergraduates receive Pell Grants, according to USC.
Among freshmen, 14 percent are the first in their families to attend college.
Seeking Arrangement, a sugar daddy dating website, recently ranked USC as one of the fastest-growing sugar baby schools in the country.
Some college students use the sites to find men to pay their way until graduation.
The six-year graduation rate for USC students is 92 percent. In comparison, the graduation rate for four-year universities is 60 percent nationwide, and the rate for private, nonprofit institutions is 66 percent, the university said.
USC said its students leave college with lower-than-average student debt. USC students accumulate about $22,000 in debt during their tenure at USC as compared to the national average of nearly $32,600 for private colleges, according to the university.
Even with the current increase, tuition revenue still does not cover the full cost of undergraduate education. Undergraduate tuition and fees cover only 76 percent of total instructional costs, officials said. The cost to students who receive financial aid averages 56 percent of the total cost of undergraduate education.
U.S. News & World Report ranks USC among the top 40 Best Value Schools in the country.
The university is rated third in the nation for economic diversity by U.S. News.
However, the school has been rocked by a number of recent scandals, including a medical school dean accused of smoking methamphetamine with a woman who overdosed, reports that the school ignored complaints of widespread sexual misconduct by the longtime campus gynecologist, and most recently, a nationwide bribery and admissions scandal.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)
(A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the total charges for tuition.)