Postdoctoral Scholars – Tuition Remission FAQ 

Frequently Asked Questions (this also applies to residents/fellows as part of the Provost’s Signature Program for tuition remission):  

 When will my balance be paid?  Your balance should be settled following submission of your tuition remission form up to 2 weeks after the beginning of the semester.  (Summer special sessions will be paid sooner to clear you for Fall registration).   

I turned in my form on time, but I received notice of late fees and/or finance charges.  Why didn’t my bill get paid and/or do I have to pay late fees? In most cases (not all), you do not owe the late fees if you turned in your form before the start of classes and registered on time. You may be charged a late fee due to the time it takes us to process all requests for tuition remission from all postdocs, residents and fellows across all schools within USC.  We will waive all late fees and finance charges that have accrued as a direct result of this interim processing period.  However, please note that once your tuition balance is paid, you will owe any remaining balance that you have not already paid (see below for information on nominal registration fees typically owed by postdocs when registering). This remaining balance will have to be paid before you incur any additional late charges.  After our process is complete (e.g. tuition paid and late fees waived), you are responsible for any additional late charges that are incurred due to unpaid registration fees that you owed. Please monitor the activity on your student bill regularly.

When is the tuition remission form due? Please submit your form to the Provost SMA portal before the first day of classes each semester.  If you need additional time, please contact the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs before the start of the semester.  Please do not submit your form by attaching to an email.   

My tuition didn’t get paid.  What do I do?  The most common reasons why tuition was not paid are: 

  1. a form was not uploaded to the Provost’s SMA portal or your form was uploaded late (after the start of the semester) – check to ensure you have uploaded and submitted your forms on time.  Please do not send your form attached as an email to the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.  
  1. Incorrect information provided on the SMA portal such as: term or number of units. If you selected the wrong semester online, your form will be routed to be paid for the term you selected.  If you entered a number of units less than what you registered for, your tuition will only be paid for the number of units that you requested in the online form.  Please contact the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and we will assist you with getting this corrected, with the understanding that the process will be delayed and that you may owe late fees as a result.  In your email to us, attach your billing statement.  
  1. Provost Postdoc Scholars – Residents and Fellows: You made an pre-existing arrangement with KSOM (Keck Extension Program) and you see only part of your balance was paid by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.  If this applies to you, please contact Keck Faculty Affairs ( 
  1. You created and/or submitted more than one application online  

 What is the difference between the student health insurance and student health fee?  If you are enrolled in a student health insurance plan, you will be charged a premium each semester for your coverage. This is what we are referring to when we instruct you to waive your student health insurance charges.  In addition to the student health insurance premium, the student health center charges a fee each semester.  More information can be found here.   

How do I waive student health insurance and/or who is my contact for this if I have questions?  Go to the USC Student Health website.  You must follow the directions found here.  Please note that Student Health oversees this process. Please follow their waiver process carefully to avoid delays.  For questions, please contact Student Health directly (

How do I know if I waived the student health insurance?  Check your bill or email. After waiving, you may receive a confirmation of that waiver. You should also note whether you see the charge on your student account.  When you register for classes, you are automatically enrolled in a student health insurance plan.  If you did not waive this and/or remain enrolled, you will see the line-item charge for this on your billing statement (e.g. a premium).  The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs does not pay this premium.  You will have to waive this before the waiver deadline.  As a postdoc, resident or fellow (including Pharmacy Fellows), you may waive this if you are enrolled in an insurance plan that meets University requirements.  This process is handled by Student Health.  If you still have questions about this, contact Student Health directly (   

Am I being charged for my postdoc health benefits on my student bill? No, you will never be charged for your postdoc health benefits on your student bill.

Do I have pay the student health fee/can I waive it?  You can waive the student health fee (SHF) yourself anytime by emailing and asking to have it waived.  If you did not waive the student health insurance and remain actively enrolled in the student health insurance plan or if you used any services at the student health center, your student health fee cannot be waivedIn this case, you will owe the student health fee.    

Can I use services in the student health center?  No, you cannot use the student health center unless you are enrolled on a student health plan.  If you are a postdoc or Pharmacy Fellow enrolled in the Postdoc Scholar Benefits Program, please access your benefits and resources through your Aetna Navigator or reach out to USC Postdoc Benefits Services at: Residents and Fellows should contact their benefits administrator or department. 

Where do I pay my fees or check my bill?  All the information about understanding your bill can be found here.  Login to the system to pay your bill here

How will I know when my balance is paid so I can pay my portion?  Check your bill. You are responsible for checking your student balance regularly.  We recommend checking your balance twice weekly.  Alternatively, you may calculate how much you owe and pay your portion anytime through USC ePay Transact.  Go to MyUSC, login and go to Pay my Bill.    

What is the portion that I owe?  Do I owe all these registration fees?  Which fees do I owe?  All tuition remission scholars owe nominal registration fees.  In almost all cases, fees should not total more than $150, but there may be certain exceptions, depending on the class you are taking.  The fees may include (amounts subject to change):   

  1. Norman Topping Student Aid Fund  
  1. Grad programming Fee 
  1. Tuition refund insurance (if purchased) 
  1. Transportation Services Fee
  1. Other fees that are posted (please contact the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs if you see fees other than a. through d. above)  

I would like to waive the transportation services fee because: I’m not in LA, I’m in a online or hybrid program, I don’t drive to campus, etc.: Please follow this link to learn whether you are eligible for a waiver. Any questions should be directed to the USC Transportation Office.

I would like to pay my portion now, I’m not sure what exactly I owe or how to calculate.  You will owe the sum of the following:  

  • any registration fees listed in 1. through 5. above that have posted to your bill 
  • *student health insurance charges only if you didn’t submit the waiver to student health and are actively enrolled in a plan. (Contact 
  • *You may owe late fees if you had unpaid fee balances that remained posted to your student bill after the office of postdoctoral affairs paid your tuition balance.  Please contact us (   

I already paid my bill, including the late fees and finance charges that I didn’t owe OR I think I may have overpaid. What do I do?  If you already paid your bill and/or overpaid because (for example, you paid a late fee that we later waived) your student account will be credited for the amount you overpaid. You may contact the USC Student Financial Services cashier to process the refund.  

I don’t remember purchasing tuition refund insurance.  Can I get this removed?  When you registered, you were asked to make a selection on whether to purchase or waive.  If you would like more information on purchasing/waiving, go here.   

 I uploaded 2 forms and/or created 2 application requests for tuition remission on Provost SMA Portal, one was incomplete/had wrong information but the second was corrected.  Will that be okay?  No. To avoid unnecessary delays or the processing of the incorrect form, we recommend you go to your dashboard and delete the entire application request with the incorrect information and restart (see screenshot below).  If you already submitted your application, you will not be able to delete it.  In this case, start a new application and upload the corrected form asap.  Then, please contact for help deleting the incorrect form/application.  Please reference the application numbers in your email. 

I’m taking more than 1 course.  Do I need to submit more than one form?  Please submit only one form.  List all the classes you are taking on the tuition remission form, line by line, with the number of units for each course.  In addition, you’ll find that we ask you to enter the number of units in a textbox online. Put the total number of units you are requesting.  Your benefit through the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs will be capped at 4 units per semester.   

I’m a Pharmacy Fellow.  Am I eligible?  Yes, if you hold an appointment letter with the title of Postdoctoral Scholar- Fellowship trainee.  You may follow the same process as all other postdocs.  

I’m a Keck Resident or Fellow, not a postdoc.  Am I eligible?  Yes, but only if you have been approved.  Do not register for classes with the expectation of receiving tuition remission without prior approval.  Please contact Michelle Najera, KSOM Institutional Coordinator for Graduate Medical Education or your department administrator to start the approvals process.  Once you have been approved to participate in the program as a Provost’s Postdoc Scholar, then you may register each semester for the duration of your appointment.

I’m from CHLA.  Am I eligible?  CHLA residents and fellows must first contact Cynthia Levya, CHLA Institutional Coordinator for Graduate Medical Education.  Do not register for classes with the expectation of receiving tuition remission without prior approval.  CHLA residents and fellows follow the same approvals process as Keck Residents and Fellows.  Once you have been approved to participate in the program as a Provost’s Postdoc Scholar, then you may register each semester for the duration of your appointment.   

 What do I do with the tuition remission form?  You must upload your form to the Provost IT secure online portal ( Once you have logged into the Provost SMA Portal, search for USC Postdoctoral Tuition Remission on the dashboard of all USC Programs.  Then click Apply.  Complete the task items (estimated time to complete: 2 minutes) 

I’m having login issues with the portal.  What do I do?  You may be trying to login with your USC net ID.  The online portal does not take your USC/CHLA ID.  Recall that you created a username and password for access to this platform.  Click ‘Forgot Password’ to reset.  If the problem persists or you are having other issues, please submit a Provost IT Service Request here.    

I need D-Clearance.  Who do I contact?  You must contact the department that is offering the class.  There should be a home department administrator who can grant D-clearance.  You may also contact the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.  We keep a list of Admin responsible for D-Clearance and may be able to connect with someone directly (not always).  The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs cannot grant you D-clearance for classes.  

I plan on taking classes next semester.  Do I need to do this each semester?  Yes, you will need to login to the Provost SMA Platform and submit a completed and signed tuition remission form before the first day of classes each semester that you are taking classes. Uploading your form should take less than 5 min.    

As a Provost Postdoctoral Scholar (Resident/Fellow), do I have to take classes?  The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs does not require you to take classes. Please check with your Program Director.

I have a registration hold.  How do I clear?  When registering, if you have hold on your account, login to USC Oasis to check the status of the hold and instructions on how to clear it.  Common reasons for holds are: unpaid fees from the previous semester and unfinished, mandated training on TrojanLearn.    

Is there a limit to the number of courses I can take without formally applying to a degree program?  Yes. If you have not formally applied to a degree program, you are considered limited enrollment status. As limited enrollment status, you may not count more than 12 units toward a degree that you later apply to. Graduate Certificate Programs may not allow you to count more than 6 units toward the certificate.  Plan accordingly and reach out to degree program administrators early to ask about the program and requirements.     

Is there a limit to the number of units that will be paid under this benefit?  The benefit caps your tuition remission at 4 units per semester up to 20 total units.  Therefore, you will owe tuition in excess of 4 units in a semester or starting on your 21st unit.    

I read that the staff tuition assistance benefit has a waiting period and payback period.  Does that apply to me?  No. The staff benefit policy is different from the postdoc benefit policy.  You do not have a waiting period and you do not have a payback period.  

May I audit the class? For the purposes of tuition remission, you may NOT audit courses. Your tuition will not be paid. You must take the course for credit (Grade or P/NP option). If you are enrolled in a certificate or degree program, please check with them as well.