NTSAF Mission

The central mission of the Norman Topping Student Aid Fund is to empower our Topping Scholars and Fellows to realize their full potential at USC, in their communities, and in life beyond the University. To achieve this mission, the Fund provides support and guidance, community-building programs, and financial assistance. The Fund advocates for equity in higher education by selecting students with high-financial need who exhibit an extraordinary commitment to community.

The ultimate goal of the Fund is to help develop a sense of community within the university for all Topping Scholars and Fellows. To achieve this goal, the NTSAF provides the following programs and services to students:

Signature Events in the Fall

The New Scholar Welcome Breakfast officially welcomes the new Scholars and their families to campus as Topping Scholars. It is an opportunity for the new cohort to meet and become familiar with the Topping Family as a primary resource in their college success. Topping Scholars and their guests are treated to breakfast, a presentation about the Norman Topping Student Aid Fund and guest speakers associated with the Fund, including remarks by current and past scholars.
The Topping Scholar Retreat is an opportunity to spend a weekend to familiarize the incoming cohort of scholars to the Fund, update continuing scholars on changes to the Fund or its policies, and serve as an avenue to connect all scholars to the academic mission of the university. The retreat is an opportunity for community building among all scholars and USC campus colleagues; to establish our Topping Family and kick off the new academic year.
The Norman Topping Student Aid Fund, in collaboration with the City of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation, organize the annual Safe Halloween event to provide a safe celebration for children in the local community. In coordination with the Hoover Recreation Center’s staff, the scholars annually plan and provide a one-night extravaganza with a haunted house, inflatable rides, candy and treats for neighborhood youth.
The final exam period can be a stressful experience for many students. The NTSAF provides dinner, snacks, masseuses, and academic materials to help Topping Scholars take a relaxing, fun break from studying before that final study push.

Signature Event in the Spring

For over 45 years, the NTSAF has celebrated the accomplishments of our USC Topping Scholars. At the Annual Recognition Banquet, Scholars, their respective family members and friends gathered to celebrate the successful completion of another academic year as a community. In addition, graduating Scholars are honored for their tenure with the Fund.

Events Throughout the Year

The NTSAF offers a series of academic seminars to facilitate the transition of incoming Topping Scholars to the University. The goal of these seminars is to fully integrate scholars into university life while at the same time introduce them to the wide array of resources available on campus.

Faculty members play an integral part in the retention and success of college students. As such, our luncheons are an opportunity for students to interact with faculty members outside of the classroom in a comfortable environment.

To encourage Topping Scholars to eagerly embrace the responsibility of student service at USC, they are required to complete 20 hours of community service each semester. From tutoring students in neighboring elementary schools to providing support through such programs as the USC Mobile Clinic and local homeless shelters, Topping Scholars offer hundreds of hours of service to the communities surrounding the University Park and Health Science campuses.
Outreach is an integral part of the Norman Topping Student Aid Fund’s commitment to offer supplemental scholarships to incoming students, particularly those from the surrounding community. The Topping Scholars and staff volunteer their time and efforts to promote the Fund and the University by visiting high schools and community colleges immediately surrounding the University Park and Health Sciences Campus to promote the NTSAF scholarship as well as higher education in general.
Topping Scholars receive academic, personal, and financial guidance as well as personal referrals to professional counseling, academic advising, financial aid counselors, and other university offices throughout their tenure with the program. The Norman Topping Student Aid Fund serves as a home base for Topping Scholars. Our office has a Scholar lounge and computer lab for student access throughout the day. 
The purpose of the Exceptional Funding Program is to provide financial assistance to Topping Scholars as they advance in their chosen field of study. Exceptional Funding encourages Scholars to take full advantage of University sponsored opportunities to enhance their higher education experience. Such opportunities include funding for conference travel, study abroad airfare, and honor society membership fees.
In collaboration with USC Financial Services, the NTSAF offers an emergency loan program. Scholars are able to borrow money without interest for two months to cover any unexpected expenses.

We believe that mentorship is essential to the personal, educational, and professional success of students and that NTSAF alumni serve as the ideal conduits of social capital-sharing to encourage scholars to exercise their own potential regardless of social and economic constraints. The Topping Mentor Program aims to empower current scholars personally, educationally and professionally by connecting them with a mentor that will provide support and guidance. The mentors are former Topping Scholars, USC alumni and working professionals seeking to share their experiences and expertise through one-on-one meetings and participation in workshops.