LAPD and USC officials will formally announce a $125,000 reward on Friday.
Friends of Ying Wu and Min Chu say that the two were frugal. She chose to live in the neighborhood, which is outside USC's public patrol area, because of the price.
"The rent fee is very low, so she wanted to save money for her family," said friend Yun Song Mu, adding that she was worried about her safety in the neighborhood. He said she was planning to move next semester.
International students say they are at a disadvantage in finding housing because they arrive just before school starts, and many apartments are already rented.
USC has plans to redevelop University Village, which is nearby. Officials estimate it could provide 4,000 more beds, but it will be two or three years before the first phase is finished. And there's no word on whether the cost will be affordable.
Students pay as much as $2,500 a month for a one bedroom within the area that is patrolled with cars and cameras.
In the public safety communications center, officers monitor activity 24 hours a day. The closest camera to Wednesday's crime scene was several blocks away, but its data has been turned over to LAPD.
"I hope we get lucky, and we pick something up that proves useful to both us and LAPD," said USC Campus Safety Capt. David Carlisle.