Students posing together in the quad


Thrive Guide

Expenses and Budgeting

Everything’s expensive! What can I expect to spend every semester?

drawing of coins

        • Books: These can cost between $400-$800 each semester depending on your course load. You’ll definitely want to purchase these books to be successful in college. Save some coins and try to find the best deals online. The Pacer Shoppe and many other places sell new, used, and eBooks for some books. They even offer rentals and will buy them back when the semester is done!
        • Class materials: There’s a lot that goes into this one. Some classes require additional materials besides the textbook, like a calculator or lab equipment, which could cost you around $350. But don’t forget the basics like pens, pencils, and paper.
        • Dorm room materials: You will have to stock some of your own basics in your new room like paper towels, toilet paper, and hand soap.
        • Entertainment: There are many restaurants and businesses in downtown Aiken that students like to frequent such as TakoSushi, Pizza Joint, Mellow Mushroom, and more. Some of these places will offer specials and discounts for USC Aiken students. Augusta and Columbia are also a short drive away. How much you spend on entertainment is up to you, but remember to spend responsibly. Remember, there are numerous events and opportunities hosted on campus that are completely free for students!


How do I get a bank account? And where should I do that?

Having your own bank account will make managing your finances easier. It’s strongly recommended that you have one. There are many local banks at your disposal in close proximity to campus:

How do I set up direct deposit?

If you receive refund money from the university after your scholarships, grants, and loans have been applied to your bill, it is strongly recommended you sign up for direct deposit. This will save you a trip to the bank to deposit your check and could possibly help you receive your refund faster. 

If you are a student employee at USC Aiken, direct deposit is required for your paychecks. 

To set up your direct deposit:

      1. Find your Account and Routing number for your bank. This can be found on your checks like in the image below.


Sample Check

2. Log in to Self Service Aiken.

3. Select “Account Information.”

4. Selecy “Sign up for Direct Deposit” and fill in the necessary information.


What steps can I take to find a part-time job?

Having a part-time job can help cover the expense of attending college while also giving you valuable employment experience. You can search and apply for jobs online at Purple Briefcase. You can also speak with the Office of Career Services for further help. They offer resume assistance, interviewing practice, and other resources that will help you be successful in your job search.

Financial Aid 

I have questions about my financial aid package. What do I do?

You can contact the Office of Financial Aid with any questions about tuition and your payment options. You can stop by their office Monday through Friday from 8:30 am - 5 pm in Penland 102. Call them at 803-641-3476 or email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Do I have a refund? How will I be refunded?

You will be awarded a refund if your loans or scholarship totals exceed your tuition bill (showing a negative balance, like -$1,025). You will receive your refund through a paper check or through direct deposit if you have set that up following the instructions found above.

Business Services

I have questions about paying my tuition bill. What do I do?

The Business Services Office handles all payments and can answer any questions you may have about your bill. You can stop by their office Monday through Friday from 8:30 am - 5 pm in Penland 114. They can also be reached by phone at 803-641-3543 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Learn more about bill payment