Finances, Tuition and Fees

Los Angeles is a lively and vibrant city with a lot to offer in terms of opportunity, experiences, and lifestyle. Unfortunately, the cost of living can also be relatively high, which can be challenging for students. Estimates claim $8,000 for one semester and $16,000 for two semesters is sufficient to cover expenses. The costs below are mere estimates.  These estimates can differ dramatically based on your life-style, your expectations, currency fluctuations, as well as the activities you choose to participate in. Please be sure to work out a budget prior to your departure.

Approximate Living Costs (in $USD)

On-Campus Room & Board $600 – $900/month (depending on housing assignment)
Food (if renting without a meal plan) $400 – $500/month
Books & Class Reading Materials $300 – $500/semester
Local Transportation Varies: Bicycles are recommended for local use
Spending, Shopping, Fun, & Activities Depends on activities: Approx. $200 – $500/month

Please remember that these costs are approximate. The more activities in which you partake, the more money you may wish to bring with you.

Tuition and Fees

As this is an exchange program you are NOT liable for tuition.  We will pay your tuition costs (also referred to as a flat-fee tuition) once your clear passport and visa verification.  However, you will be responsible for any additional class fees (such as lab fees, or participation fees) associated with classes from the language departments, Physical Education, Cinema, and a few other non-Business School departments.

In addition, there are a number of additional costs that you will be billed for by USC. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Marshall OIS Fee – $150
  • Orientation Fee – $150
  • Topping Student Aid fund – $8
  • Student Programming Fee – $57.50
  • Student Health Center Fee – $244
  • Health Insurance – $451
  • Dental Insurance – $136 (OPTIONAL, you do not have to purchase)
  • Student Services Fee – $18.50
  • Rent – Varies. Rent is assessed in a one-time fee at the beginning of the semester.

Please note: The fees quoted above are from Fall 2011 and are subject to change without notice.

Students will be expected to settle your fees (i.e. pay off your existing balance) by the University fee payment deadline which is normally the day of the IEP Orientation.  This balance consists of a number of non-tuition fees, such as insurance, the mandatory Health Center fee, an activity fee, and a few others.  If you do not pay these fees by the specified date, you will be assessed a $100 late fee for each week that they remain unpaid.  The USC Cashier’s Office accepts all forms of payment (credit cards, cash, and cheques in US currency).

We strongly suggest that students settle their fees prior to arrival.   Visit the following Web site for information on various payment options (online, phone, mail, etc.).  You will need your USC ID Number and PIN Number.

Information on Payment Options: 

Sales Tax

The US does NOT have a VAT.  We have a sales tax that varies depending on what is being taxed and location (i.e. the sales tax in Los Angeles is different than in other parts of California).  The highest sales tax is 9 1/2%.  Therefore, when shopping please be aware that the listed price of the item does NOT include the tax and be prepared to spend a bit more.  (NOTE: Rent is NOT taxed.)

Working on campus/Internships

US law does NOT allow students on either an F-1 OR J-1 visa (remember a student J-1) to receive pay for work, other than on campus. Unfortunately, the majority of student jobs on campus are taken by US students who qualify for a special program to help pay for their educational costs.

Students who will be at USC for longer than six-months (so longer than 1 semester) are eligible to hold a paid internship or position under a program called Curricular Pratical Training (CPT). This special program requires that the student be enrolled in a special course that requires the student to hold an internship as part of its research component. To enroll in the course, students must have located an internship prior to enrollment. For more information on CPT, please click here: Information on CPT

You are qualified to hold an unpaid internship while in the US. Some companies searching for interns are specifically looking for Marshall Business students.  The Marshall Career Source is an online newsletter of internship (both paid and unpaid positions) and full-time job postings that is sent out once a week to all Marshall undergraduate students. Visit the link below to view the latest listings and to find information on how to apply for the various positions.

Marshall Career Source


What bank you choose is your personal choice. USC has a Credit Union that offers banking services. There are also ATM machines throughout Los Angeles. Note that ATMs in the US have user fees if you use a machine owned by another bank. For example, Bank of America will charge you $2 per transaction to withdraw money from their machines if you do not have a Bank of America account. As such, those of you thinking of opening an account at home may choose to open one in a Bank of America (BofA) branch. This is not an endorsement for BofA but there are 5 BofA ATM machines within a 1 KM area of campus. There is also a Chase bank ATM across the street from campus.
Note that many ATM cards are also debit cards (if it has the Visa or a MasterCard logo, it is a debit card). A debit card is accepted everywhere credit cards are accepted. However, instead of paying an interest fee, a debit card removes money directly from your account. If you have such a card, it may not be necessary to open a bank account in LA, as you can withdraw cash without a fee from most super-markets. But again, the decision is yours to make.