Eligibility & Renewal Requirements

The Topping Scholarship is provided by the Norman Topping Student Aid Fund (NTSAF) at the University of Southern California (USC).

The purpose of the NTSAF is to assist students with high financial need who demonstrate an extraordinary level of community awareness in their pursuit of higher education at USC. First-generation college students and local area applicants are given primary consideration in the scholarship selection process. However, the scholarship is not limited to these populations.

Eligibility Checklist

If you answer “yes” to all three questions, we encourage you to proceed with the Topping Scholarship Application Instructions below:

1.  Are you applying for Fall admission consideration to an on-campus program as a full-time freshman, transfer or graduate student, or are you a new Spring/Summer admit?
2.  Do you have financial need and will submit a FAFSA or Dream Act application?
3.  Do you demonstrate a strong community awareness and contribute to the betterment of a community through volunteer efforts or other service?

Renewal Requirements

The Topping Scholarship is renewable during the student’s tenure at USC by fulfilling all scholarship requirements, which include maintaining a minimum USC cumulative grade point average of 2.5 for undergraduate Scholars and a 3.0 for graduate Fellows, continual full-time enrollment, full attendance at all NTSAF required events, and completion 20 hours of community service per semester.


First-year Applicants – Due by March 1
Transfer & Graduate Applicants – Due by June 1

Application Instructions

Thank you for your interest in the Norman Topping Student Aid Fund at the University of Southern California. Please review the following instructions before you proceed with our online application process:

1) The USC Topping Scholarship application consists of an online application, one letter of recommendation and a series of autobiography questions. Incomplete and/or late applications will NOT be reviewed. All components of the application must be submitted online by 11:59 pm PT on the appropriate scholarship deadline.

2) Your autobiography section should include descriptions and explanations of your experiences in relation to our selection criteria(initiative & achievements, community awareness, first-generation college student status, volunteer efforts, and goals while at USC) that will enable us to evaluate your eligibility for a semi-finalist interview.

Please address these topics in detail (500 words max each):

  • Summary of your personal background and experiences.
  • Description of your community awareness and your commitment to community involvement.
  • Description of what you hope to pursue and attain while at USC.

3) Identify one individual who will write a letter of recommendation on your behalf. We suggest you contact your recommender directly to ensure their availability. When completing the application, you will be required to submit the contact information (name, title, organization, email and phone number) for your recommender. Mark this step as ‘complete’, then an email will immediately be sent to your recommender giving them the opportunity to write a letter of support for you. *Note: They will need to create an account on our portal. One letter is required. (Your recommender may also email their letter to ntsaf@usc.edu).

4) You will be notified via e-mail after the recommender uploads their letter of recommendation. If you do not receive an email confirmation at least one week prior to the deadline, it is your responsibility to follow up with your recommender.

5) You may save and update your scholarship application as many times as you would like. However, once you submit the application with your electronic signature your application is final and you will not be able to make any other changes. **Don’t forget to hit ‘submit’ to send us your completed application.  NOTE: You can ‘submit’ before your letter of recommendation is complete.

If at any time you have any questions regarding our online application process, please contact the NTSAF at (213) 740-7575 or ntsaf@usc.edu.