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, please note that the scholarship is not limited to these populations.

Eligibility Checklist

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

1.  Are you applying for USC admission for fall as a full-time freshman, transfer or graduate student?
                    OR Are you a new USC Spring admit? 
2.  Do you have high financial need (expected family contribution less than $20,000)?

3.  Do you demonstrate a strong community awareness and contribute to the betterment of a community through volunteer efforts?
      4.  Are you beginning an on-campus program?

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 (3.0 for graduate Scholars), continual full-time enrollment, full attendance at all NTSAF required events, and completion 20 hours of community service per semester. The Topping Scholar’s class standing and program of study determine the maximum number of semester of scholarship eligibility.


Freshman Applicants – March 1
Transfer & Graduate Applicants – June 1

Application Instructions

Dear USC Topping Scholarship Applicant:

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, two letters of recommendation and an autobiography. Incomplete and/or late applications will NOT be reviewed. All components of the application must be submitted online by 11:59 pm PST on the appropriate scholarship deadline. Keep in mind the Topping Scholarship selection criteria, which will help when writing your autobiography:

  • Financial Need
  • Community Awareness
  • Volunteer Efforts
  • First-Generation College Student Status
  • Extraordinary Circumstances that have impacted your path to college

2) Identify two individuals 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, position/title, organization/company, email address and phone number) for each recommender. An email will immediately be sent to each recommender giving them the opportunity to post a recommendation letter to your application. These letters are also due by your application deadline. It is preferred that one letter be from an instructor, counselor or school administrator. The second letter should be from a supervisor at a volunteer organization or your place of employment (but can also be an instructor or counselor).  Both letters must be current and may not be from a relative and/or friend.

3) You will be notified via e-mail after each 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. Please note that both letters need to be submitted by 11:59 pm PST on the appropriate scholarship deadline.

4) 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.

5) You will receive a confirmation email when you submit your final application. You can always return to the application portal to print a copy of your final application submission. To view our selection timeline, click here.

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.