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USC Dornsife Spatial Sciences Institute

USC Military and Veterans

The University of Southern California is proud to support U.S. service members and veterans. We have a long history of providing educational, financial and career support for individuals currently serving or who have previously served in the military. Having started as a training school for U.S. Army officers during World War I, we hold onto this tradition proudly as we continue to evolve as a top-tier private education institution.

We are honored to have outstanding alumni who contribute to the veteran and military communities, including through the USC Alumni Veterans Network.

USC is proud to offer a variety of services and funding options for eligible active duty and veteran students, including the Yellow Ribbon Program and the Engelstad Foundation Scholarship. In 2014, USC student-veterans received approximately $2.3 million in aid. Visit the Military and Veterans Initiatives page to learn more, including:

  • Information about housing, scholarship and financial aid opportunities for military service members and veterans
  • The latest news and events for USC’s military community
  • Academic support and health resources
  • Links to USC-affiliated military research centers and institutes
  • Information on USC’s military-related programs and history of supporting service members

GIS in the Military and Beyond

“I initially chose to complete the Geographic Information Science and Technology Graduate Certificate program that provided me a solid foundation of GIST concepts, an understanding of spatial databases and a comprehensive overview of field data collection techniques. Then, with my military service complete, I moved to a role as an aviation planner with an engineering and consulting firm, where I complete a variety of different short- and long-term planning projects at airports nationwide.”

– Robert Grotefend
Graduate Certificate in GIST, Class of 2015
Master of Science in GIST, Class of 2017
Aviation Planning Consultant and GIS Analyst at RS&H

Many of the same skills that veterans and military support staff develop in their careers are utilized in the world of geographic information science. This gives service members myriad opportunities in the field, whether they wish to advance their careers in military operations or pursue GIS opportunities in a civilian career. If you’re interested in GIS or have questions about which program would be best for your career, contact an enrollment advisor; we’re happy to provide guidance or connect you with one of our veteran faculty members.

U.S. News and World Report, 2024

Yellow Ribbon Program

The Spatial Sciences Institute is proud to offer funding to eligible active duty and veteran service members through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Yellow Ribbon Program.

What is the Yellow Ribbon Program?

The Yellow Ribbon Program is part of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. It allows colleges and universities to partner with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to help fund eligible veterans’ tuition. For more information about how institutions can become eligible, please visit the VA website.

Who is eligible for Yellow Ribbon?

Veterans entitled to the 100% Post 9/11 benefit rate or their designated transferees may receive education funding. Active-duty service members may become eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program if they have served for at least 36 months. Spouses of active-duty service members who meet these qualifications may also be considered for the funding.

There is a limited amount of funds available to active duty and veteran service members. Participants are selected on a first-come, first-served basis.

To maintain eligibility for this funding, USC students must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Remain in good academic standing with USC
  • All VA certified courses must be degree-applicable
  • Remain eligible for Post 9/11 benefits
  • Continue submitting for the Application for Semester Entitlement (ASE)
  • ASE form can only be submitted after your register for classes each term

How do I apply for Yellow Ribbon benefits?

All the required forms to apply for Yellow Ribbon benefits are available online. It is important to note that students must apply each year to receive veteran funding, and first-time applicants must submit additional documentation beyond what is required for continuing students.

For more information, you may visit the USC Veterans Certification Office website or contact the USC Veterans Certification Office via email at vets@usc.edu or by phone at 213-740-4619.

USC Engelstad Foundation Scholarship for Veterans

The Engelstad Foundation Scholarship for veterans was recently established at USC because of a generous gift from the Engelstad Family Foundation. This is the first central gift that gives scholarships to student Veterans from all schools within the University.

Undergraduate and graduate student veterans are both eligible. Preference will go first towards undergraduate student veterans, with need, completing bachelor degrees, who:

  • Have exhausted all of their VA benefits prior to USC or while at USC
  • Will exhaust their benefits while at USC and will have remaining need
  • Have a less than 100% eligibility for their VA benefits
  • Have a less than 100% GI Bill that makes them ineligible for Yellow Ribbon scholarships

Please note that you will not be able to apply for USC scholarships until you are an enrolled student. Contact military@usc.edu with any questions.

External Scholarships

A variety of organizations offer scholarships to active duty and veteran service members, as well as to their spouses and dependents. Explore the helpful resources below to assist in funding your graduate education:

Additional scholarships and resources can be found at GoGrad.org.

Request Brochure

Fill out the information below to learn more about the University of Southern California’s GIS Graduate Programs and download a free brochure. If you have any additional questions, please call 877-650-9054 to speak to an enrollment advisor.

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