Paying for Graduate School

Did You Know?

  • Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and Princeton Review recommend USC for its stellar education and affordable rates.

  • More than half of our students receive financial aid.

  • Fewer than 4 in 10 take out loans to pay for school.

  • In any given year, about 50% of students are awarded GA assistantships.

Graduate students from all walks of life pursue advanced degrees at the University of South Carolina. Quality of life, scientific discovery, increased earning potential, professional advancement, artistic creation, specialized research, societal impact and personal fulfillment are a few of the reasons people invest in a graduate education. Even though for many students the opportunity to specialize in their chosen field of study is rewarding in itself, the question of how to pay for a graduate education often plays a major part in their decision of whether or not to go to graduate school and, once enrolled, their overall graduate school experience.


USC offers competitive packages to attract some of the brightest students from across the country and around the world. Most of these are awarded through home departments. The Graduate School also offers recruiting fellowships to attract and support outstanding graduate students, including the award-winning Presidential Fellowship program. All of our diversity fellowship programs feature a professional development component, as well as stipends.


The Graduate School offers recruiting fellowships, such as the Presidential and Trustee, to attract outstanding graduate students. Some of our top students also secure funding via national fellowship and scholarship competitions. Visit The Graduate School fellowship and awards and additional funding pages for full details, including eligibility criteria and nominating procedures on each available fellowship or award.


Many of our graduate students are awarded Teaching Assistantships, Research Assistantships, or Staff Assistantships to help fund their graduate education. If you would like to be considered for a graduate assistantship, please indicate this on your application by checking the appropriate box. You should also contact the Graduate Director of your program about assistantships, early deadlines, and additional forms they may require.


Colleges, home departments, professional associations, student organizations, affiliated USC institutes, and external agencies all award travel grants to support student presentation of research nationally and internationally. Each year the Graduate School also awards travel grants to support the research of students pursuing terminal degrees.


Students awarded graduate assistantships or fellowships often automatically qualify for in-state tuition.


Graduate students are encouraged to take a holistic approach to financing their education. This may include budgeting, fellowships and awards, stipends, work, work study, loans, and grants. While statistics bear out that graduate school overwhelmingly pays off, students are cautioned against taking out excessive amounts of loans. As a general rule, students are advised not to take out sums that will total, upon repayment, more than 8 percent of their monthly income. Students wishing to learn more about projected earnings will find the Career Center to be a useful resource. We also encourage all of our students to visit the Financial Literacy page. For more information on loans and other types of financial aid, visit the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships.


The following fees apply to the 2018-2019 academic year:

  • Resident Tuition: $6,825 per full-time semester or $568.75 per credit hour
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $14,598 per full-time semester or $1,216.50 per credit hour
  • Additional Fees for Resident Tuition 17 hours and above: $80
  • Additional Fees for Non-Resident Tuition 17 hours and above: $170
  • Technology Fee: $200
  • Part-Time Student Technology Fee: $17
  • Student Health Center Fee: $190
  • Part-Time Student Health Center Fee: $127
  • International Student - Per Semester: $200
  • Bench Fees for Foreign-sponsored PhD Students in STEM Fields – Per Semester: $3,750
  • Application Fee (Graduate School Application): $50

Some programs have additional program-specific fees that are not listed here. For more information about university tuition and fees, visit the Office of the Bursar webpage.


Cost of living in Columbia is well below the national average. Estimated living expenses for August to May are approximately $17,000 USD. This amount includes room and board, clothing, textbooks, transportation, entertainment, and food.


All full-time graduate students (enrolled in 9 hours or more), all graduate assistants, and all international students are required to have health insurance coverage. However, students do not have to use a particular provider. The cost for USC administered health insurance is $2,047 per year. For more information regarding this requirement please refer to Student Health Services website.