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USC is waiving tuition for students whose families make less than $80,000

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(CNN)As college tuition prices continue to increase across the country, the University of Southern California is fighting back.

USC announced Thursday that families with an annual income of $80,000 or less can attend the private university tuition-free, starting with students entering their first year this fall.

Furthermore, owning a home will no longer be considered when determining a student’s financial need, the school said in the announcement.”We’re opening the door wider to make a USC education possible for talented students from all walks of life,” said President Carol Folt in a statement. Folt was just inaugurated last fall, having previously served as the chancellor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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There are some limits to the new policy, though. Transfer students, for example, are not eligible for the waived tuition, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The step is a significant one for the school, which is in University Park, one of the poorest areas of South Los Angeles, according to an LA Times database. One year of tuition at USC is $57,256 — and that’s before additional costs such as dining, books and transportation, which can bring the total per year to upwards of $77,000, according to the school.

Meanwhile, less than 15 miles away at the public University of California at Los Angeles, tuition for California residents is $13,239, with a total cost of attendance running around $35,000.

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