FAQ: Support Funds

USC has several resources available for students and employees. Eligible students can apply for assistance from the COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund and the USC Student Basic Needs Department, and eligible employees can apply for assistance from the USC Employee Support Fund. See the FAQs below for each resource. 

If you have questions that are not answered in our FAQs, please email covid19@usc.edu. Our response team will help find an answer.

USC Student Basic Needs Department

The USC Student Basic Needs Department is a university-led resource for currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students that addresses food, housing and financial insecurity throughout the year. 

Below are the answers to frequently asked questions about the department’s resources for students.

The USC Student Basic Needs Department helps eliminate life barriers such as food, housing and economic injustice that may jeopardize students’ academic and personal success. We are committed to connecting our students with the appropriate resources and support to help them thrive during their time at USC. We have several initiatives that combat food insecurity, housing insecurity and financial insecurity.

All currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students are eligible.

We realize that attending classes online and completing coursework remotely requires access to technology that not all students possess. If you need resources to successfully participate in your classes, such as a laptop or internet hotspot, you may be eligible for the university’s equipment rental program.

To apply, please submit an application. The Student Basic Needs team will contact all applicants in early August and distribute equipment to eligible applicants prior to the start of the fall semester.

The USC Student Basic Needs Emergency Relief Fund is designed to help currently enrolled students who are experiencing financial distress due to unforeseen circumstances. This fund is for students experiencing financial difficulties that jeopardize their success or continued enrollment at USC, and who have exhausted all other resources. Examples may include, but are not limited to, dental/medical costs, housing costs and unexpected loss of employment.

Funds are limited, and due to the large volume of applications that we have received, we are not accepting new applications at this time. We encourage you to reach out to your school to see if it offers other financial assistance and/or emergency grants.

We know that everyone’s situation is unique, and we are here for you. Our team is available for virtual consultations to discuss your situation and determine whether our other resources can help meet your needs. These resources include food and housing assistance along with technology rentals such as laptops and hotspots.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are conducting all of our operations virtually. Please book a 30-minute consultation via Zoom with our staff by emailing basicneeds@usc.edu.

COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund

USC received funds under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide emergency grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. These expenses included food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care. 

The application process is currently closed, and we are exploring funding options for the fall 2020 semester. We will share additional details as they become available. We know that our students are experiencing many challenges during this time, and we are all here to support you.

Below are the answers to frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated funds to support individuals and businesses/organizations affected by the pandemic and economic downturn. The Act included several sources of funds for colleges and universities, including the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.

USC received funds under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide emergency grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. These expenses included food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care.

The university’s Financial Aid Office worked closely with Student Affairs and Campus Support & Intervention to coordinate these emergency grants to students who qualified. The university aimed to assist as many students as possible in meeting their emergency financial needs during this challenging time.

The U.S. Department of Education announced on Tuesday, April 21 that it would limit this funding to students who were eligible to receive federal financial aid and were enrolled in a program that met on campus prior to the transition to online classes due to COVID-19. Under these guidelines, international students and students enrolled exclusively in an online program were not eligible to receive funding.

The application process is currently closed, and we are exploring funding options for the fall 2020 semester. We will share additional details as they become available. We know that our students are experiencing many challenges during this time, and we are all here to support you.

USC determined each student’s COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund award based on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the university guidelines for this fund, and the information you submitted in your application. The CARES Act requires that this funding be used only for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. Examples of these expenses include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care.

The university set funding guidelines to help as many students as possible, especially those in greatest need, get through this academic year. Requests for summer funding were not considered as part of this fund because they were not part of the enrolled term. We also took into account students who already received housing or meal plan refunds.

With the exception of food, we only considered requests for categories that were supported by documentation or an explanation. We were unable to fund a request if you did not provide any information in your application to support a particular request.

The USC Student Basic Needs Department provides food and housing assistance along with technology rentals for currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students who need support due to unforeseen circumstances. Please see the USC Student Basic Needs Department section below for more information.

Additional resources may also be available through your academic unit. We suggest you contact your academic advisor or program director for more information.

Please contact our 24/7 COVID-19 hotline at 213-740-6291 or email covid19@usc.edu.

USC Employee Support Fund

Many of our more than 28,000 employees are financially impacted by COVID-19 in ways we never could have imagined. We launched the USC Employee Support Fund to provide support for these employees.

Below are the answers to frequently asked questions about the USC Employee Support Fund.

The USC Employee Support Fund was created to assist employees who have an immediate need for financial assistance due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Office of Human Resources, in partnership with Campus Support & Intervention, is administering this program.

All current full-time and part-time employees, regardless of length of service, who have an immediate need for financial assistance due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible to apply.

To apply, please visit USC’s Campus Support & Intervention website.

Yes. As employees of USC, postdoctoral scholars with the following postdoctoral titles are eligible to apply:

  • Postdoctoral Scholar – Research Associate
  • Postdoctoral Scholar – Teaching Fellow
  • Postdoctoral Scholar – Fellowship Trainee
  • Postdoctoral Scholar – Visiting Fellow

If you have any questions about your job title, please email postdocs@usc.edu.

Although there is no deadline to apply, please note that funds are limited. Employees are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

There is no cap on how much financial assistance employees can request. However, please note that funds are limited. While we would like to fund every request, we may not be able to fulfill every request in whole.

The USC Employee Support Fund typically covers the following expenses, including:

  • Temporary housing assistance, including additional rent; a security deposit; short-term hotel costs incurred to relocate, quarantine or isolate; for personal safety, etc.
  • Unexpected medical, mental health and well-being, or dental costs related to COVID-19 that are not covered by insurance.
  • Unplanned travel expenses related to COVID-19 to receive medical care, to self-quarantine or to isolate. Examples could include airfare, car rental, bus or train fare, etc.
  • Temporary assistance with food insecurity resulting from COVID-19.
  • Unplanned or additional child care costs for employees required to work on our campuses during COVID-19.
  • Emergency personal or incidental expenses such as clothing, hygiene items, etc. due to COVID-19.
  • Safety-related needs created by COVID-19 such as a change of locks, legal assistance, court fees, etc.

The following types of expenses are typically not covered by the fund if not related to COVID-19, including:

  • Credit card debt.
  • Penalties, fines, parking or other tickets.
  • Non-essential expenses.
  • Expenses due to a lack of planning or overspending.

We are reviewing applications as quickly as possible so we can meet employees’ critical needs. Employees will receive an email notification from Campus Support & Intervention once their request has been reviewed.

Those employees enrolled in direct deposit will receive approved funds through direct deposit. Those not enrolled in direct deposit will receive funds through a check mailed to the employee’s current mailing address.

As of now, while federal taxes have been waived for this type of fund disbursement, California state taxes have not been waived. However, the fund administrators (Human Resources, in partnership with Campus Support & Intervention) will factor in the tax consequences for each employee so that the employee will receive the full, approved disbursement amount. For example, an employee who is approved for $1,000 will receive a net $1,000 disbursement after taxes.

Please reach out to Campus Support & Intervention at uscsupport@usc.edu. A member of the team will get back to you within one (1) business day.