USC will award $4,000 scholarships per semester to students who stay at home

Students could receive up to $8,000 in scholarships if they choose to stay home.

The University of Southern California's financial aid office announced it will award up to $8,000 in scholarships to students who would normally receive financial aid for housing but decide to stay home this school year.

"For most of you, it has been difficult to plan for the year ahead without knowing where you will be living in the fall," USC's Dean of Financial Aid Thomas McWhorter said in an email to students on Tuesday, obtained by CNN.

"With COVID cases on the rise in Los Angeles, there continues to be uncertainty in our fall plans, and we realize that is a particular challenge to students receiving financial aid."

The scholarships will be awarded after student housing plans are finalized, according to McWhorter's email. Students are eligible to receive $4,000 for the fall semester and another $4,000 for the spring.

Undergraduates who are not living at home, but off campus, will also receive the maximum amount of financial aid credit from the university, the letter said.

"We're all in this together, as one Trojan Family. We are listening to your concerns and will be in touch with updates as we have them," McWhorter wrote.

Earlier this month, USC changed its plans for fall undergraduates classes to mostly online courses.

After a surge in coronavirus cases in the Los Angeles area, USC said that it needed to "dramatically reduce our on-campus density and all indoor activities for the fall semester" in a letter sent to students on July 1.

Some classes will use a hybrid format, the letter said, combining both in-person and online class sessions. But only 10% to 20% of classes will be in-person, the university said.

CNN's Dakin Andone and Stella Chan contributed to this report.

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