Trojan Family Weekend costly, unnecessary for some families

Cost, distance, and the impending fall break keep some parents from visiting for the weekend

Students and parents enjoy the USC Family Tailgate in front of Doheny Memorial Library before the football game against the University of Utah. Parents and siblings of undergraduate and graduate students visit USC for the university’s 2021 Parents’ Weekend in Los Angeles, CA. (Julia Zara)

For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, USC hosted its annual Trojan Family Weekend starting this past Thursday, hosting almost 6,000 family members, according to the Twitter of the Office of the Provost. However, cost and distance prevented some families from making the trip to Los Angeles.

The regular pricing for the weekend was $125 per parent, $100 per grandparent, and $70 per child, according to the Trojan Family Weekend website. The fee included registration to over 300 events, including faculty lectures, panel discussions, Q&A sessions, performances, open houses, exhibits and tours. Families also paid for travel to campus and football tickets, if they decided to attend the game against Utah.

“Trojan Family Weekend is a self-supported event. We rely heavily on registration fees and sponsorships to create a memorable event,” the Trojan Family Weekend website says. “However, we do not want cost to be prohibitive to anyone, so we offer scholarships to any family who needs them.”

The scholarships cover the entire cost of the weekend.

Some students found the pricing was too expensive and restrictive, even prohibiting some families from coming to USC this past weekend. Gabriel Perez, a junior studying economics, thinks the Trojan Family Weekend fees should be included in the tuition.

“I do not think there should be a fee at all. We already pay $80,000 a year,” Perez said.

Even some families who live in L.A. and did not have to pay for plane tickets felt the cost was too much. Amy Liu, a freshman majoring in business administration and product design, has many friends whose families are from the L.A. area and did not come up for the weekend.

“They did not choose to come since it would cost money for them,” Liu said. “They could just drive up to visit any other weekend.”

Liu’s family was not able to make it this weekend either, but she did not mind.

While Trojan Family Weekend allowed for the reuniting of loved ones, some families were not able to make the trip out for other reasons, such as their distance from L.A. Yvette Cardenas, a freshman human biology major, said she did not expect to  see her family during Trojan Family Weekend because she lives out of state.

“I didn’t feel like there was something that needed to happen,” Cardenas said. “I’m going home for fall break anyway, so I’m going to be able to see them soon.”

International students do not necessarily have the option to see their families over fall break. Aishwarya Karan, a graduate student from India studying computer science, said she has “not seen her family in two years because of COVID” and that  she was “sad for a long time this weekend” because she saw everyone else with their families.

“But I have accepted it,” Karan said. “There are some things you can’t change about it.”

Brazil, India and China are just a few of the countries whose citizens are banned from entering the United States due to COVID-19 protocols, according to the National Association for Foreign Student Affairs. There are over 11,000 international students at USC, over 8,000 of whom are from China or India.

While this year in particular showed how difficult it is for families to make it to Trojan Family Weekend, Jaehyun Park, an international and graduate student studying aerospace and mechanical engineering, does not think USC should change its program.

“I don’t think they should add any events outside of the country,” Park said. “Many students come from various countries, so it would be very difficult.”