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FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

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How do I decrease/remove the Stafford loans listed on my tuition bill?

Penn State has pre-certified a Federal Direct Stafford Loan for you (or your student) based on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you would like to view more information about this Federal Direct Stafford Loan, please go to the following site:

The student must complete the following steps to decrease or cancel the Federal Direct Stafford Loans:

  1. Log onto
  2. Select "Financial"
  3. Select "Loan Decrease"
  4. Follow instructions

I am experiencing difficulty reaching your office by phone. Is there another way that I can ask a question?

Yes, please click on the "Contact Us" link at the top of this page to send an e-mail message. Our staff will respond to inquiries within 1-3 business days.

How do I claim a 529 Tuition payment?

These instructions are for all 529 programs except the Pennsylvania Guaranteed Savings Plan. If you have a Pennsylvania Guaranteed Savings Plan 529, please see "How do I claim a PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan tuition payment?"

Student Instructions
  1. Log onto
  2. Select "Bursar Tuition Bills" from the menu.
  3. Select the tuition bill for the appropriate semester and click "View/Pay Bill".
  4. Print a copy of the bill to submit to your 529 plan if necessary. Print any additional copies of the bill needed.
    If the bill will be paid entirely by 529 funds, you do not need to continue to Step 5. Your registration will be complete when funds are received from the 529 plan.
    If the 529 funds will only be paying a portion of the bill, continue to Step 5.
  5. Select "Pay Other" and enter the amount you will be paying that is NOT coming from the 529 plan.
  6. Click "Continue".
  7. Select your method of payment and continue through the payment process in eLion.
    Your registration will be complete when funds are received from your 529 plan.
    Penn State cannot request funds from a 529 plan on behalf of the account owner/student.
    Please DO NOT mail your Payment Authorization Form (PAF) or PAF copies to Penn State.
    If you have a Texas Tomorrow, Michigan Education Trust, College Illinois!, or Alabama PACT Plan you should select the “contact us” link in the payment Confirmation Message to let us know about your expected 529 payment amount.


What can I do to register without paying the full tuition?

The only way to get registered without having to pay the full tuition is to enroll in the Deferred Payment Plan.

Penn State's Deferred Payment Plan allows you to defer payment of two-thirds of your tuition bill. The first one-third of tuition, fees, and room and board (if applicable) is payable by the due date of the tuition bill, and the remaining two-thirds is payable over the subsequent two months. There is a $45 fee to use this plan, payable with the first payment.

See for payment options.

I have an Assistantship or Fellowship to pay my tuition. What do I do to become a registered student?

If your approved graduate assistantship, fellowship, or traineeship is not listed on your tuition bill, please indicate this on your eBill by selecting the "Contact us regarding your bill" link and noting the change within the explanation box.

Once you have made these changes, they will be submitted to the Bursar's office for review.

You will receive a response from the Bursar's office by e-mail. You will need to pay any prior semester balance by the due date. Failure to do so will result in a $50 Late Fee being assessed to your student account.


Can I be reimbursed tuition for a semester if I withdraw due to medical reasons?

Students that withdraw from a semester due to medical reasons can petition the Bursar’s Office for a possible one-time waiver of tuition. Requests for a tuition waiver are not guaranteed. The following documentation is required when submitting an appeal for a waiver of tuition based on medical reasons:

  1. A petition letter from the student requesting an adjustment of tuition and an explanation of the medical circumstances surrounding the withdraw (a specific description of the medical condition and how the student was unable to complete the semester).
  2. A letter from the student’s physician, on office letterhead, outlining the medical diagnosis, dates treated, and prescribed treatment for the medical condition. This letter should include the recommendation of the physician to withdraw from the university.

Petitions should be mailed to 103 Shields Building, University Park, PA 16802 to the attention of the Fee Assessor.

Should I receive a discount because my mother/father or spouse is employed at Penn State?

Yes, the employee must submit a "Dependent Grant-In-Aid Form" to the Employee Benefits office to receive the discount. This form can be found online at

Once approved by the Employee Benefits office, the staff discount will appear on your tuition bill. The 75% deduction will only be applied to the tuition. The staff discount cannot be applied to room and board charges, Information Technology Fee, Activities Fee, or Facilities Fee.

If you have additional questions, please contact the Employee Benefits office at 814-865-1473.

Why am I being charged the activity and facilities fees if I am a World Campus student?

World Campus students who take courses through other Penn State campuses will be assessed the activity and facilities fee. The non-refundable fees are charged according to the total number of credits in which the student is enrolled immediately prior to the first day of the semester. Adding credits on or after the first day of the semester could result in a corresponding increase of the fees. Dropping credits on or after the first day of the semester will not reduce the fees charged.

Financial Aid

How do I get financial aid?

If you are interested in student aid, contact the Office of Student Aid or the student aid representative at your Penn State Campus.

How do I e-sign my Federal Direct Stafford Master Promissory Note (MPN)?

The Master Promissory Note for the Federal Direct Stafford Loan can be completed online or by contacting the Office of Student Aid. Information for completing this online is available at:

I was told I have an "Entrance Hold" on my loan. What does this mean?

Federal Regulations require the completion of a Loan Entrance Counseling Session prior to the disbursement of your student loan(s). Entrance counseling provides information that will help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a loan borrower, as well as other tools to assist you with managing your loans.

Penn State students other than Hershey medical students and Dickinson law students will receive an e-mail invitation to complete an Online Loan Entrance Counseling Session at

Hershey medical students and Dickinson law students will be contacted by their campus student aid representative for instructions concerning the completion of a Loan Entrance Counseling Session.


Why have I not received my refund?

There could be several reasons why your refund has not been processed. Here are some possible reasons:

  1. If a payment was made by personal check, a refund will not be processed for 14 days from receipt of that payment.
  2. If you are not signed up for "Rapid Refund".
  3. If you are signed up for "Rapid Refund", the account information provided may be incorrect.

How do I enroll in Rapid Refund?

To enroll in Rapid Refund login to and select "Refund Information" from the Financial menu, click on "Sign Up for Rapid Refund", and follow the instructions for entering your bank account information. Once your account information has been entered, click on "Add bank information". You must then "Accept" the Student Refund Authorization Agreement and re-authenticate your eLion session to complete your Rapid Refund enrollment.

How do I get a refund of the credit balance on my account?

You can choose your refund preference by logging onto and selecting "Refund Information" under the Financial menu.

For the quickest delivery of refunds, students should enroll in Penn State's Rapid Refund Program.

To enroll in Rapid Refund click on "Sign Up for Rapid Refund", and follow the instructions for entering your bank account information. Once your account information has been entered, click on "Add bank information". You must then "Accept" the Student Refund Authorization Agreement and re-authenticate your eLion session to complete your Rapid Refund enrollment.


How can I be reclassified as a Pennsylvania resident for tuition purposes?

Please see for an overview of the process.

Who makes the initial determination of a student's residency status?

The Admissions office determines a student's residency status based on the information provided on each student's application.

What is regarded as a “domicile” for determining residency classification?

Domicile is a person's existing and intended fixed, permanent, and principal place of residence.

Tax Credits

Is the amount of qualified tuition and related expenses the total amount of the tax credit I can claim on my tax return?

Not in all situations. The amount of the tax credit that you may claim will depend on your individual situation. The IRS is providing instructions on the application of the 1098-T information and eligibility requirements for the new tax credits.

Please consult your tax preparer/consultant to determine how the American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning tax credits and the Deduction for Educational Expenses affect you.

What type of circumstance would impact my eligibility to claim an educational tax credit or a deduction for educational expenses?

You may have received nontaxable grants or scholarships, tax-free distributions from an Education IRA, or tax-free employer provided educational assistance that may need to be deducted from qualified expenses to calculate the credit amount.

Can I claim an American Opportunity, or Lifetime Learning tax credit or the Deduction for Higher Educational Expenses for qualified tuition and related expenses paid in advance of when the academic period begins?

Generally, the credit/deduction is available only for payments of qualified tuition and related expenses that cover an academic period beginning in the same calendar year in which the payment was made. An exception, however, allows the taxpayer to claim a tax credit/deduction for payment of qualified tuition and related expenses made during the tax year for the academic period January, February, and March of the following year. Consult your tax preparer/consultant for tax return preparation advice.

Meal Plans

Where can I find information about meal plans and LionCash+?

Please visit the Penn State id+ Web site at for information on both campus meal plans and LionCash+. You may also visit the Housing and Food Services Web site at

Meal plan costs will be charged to your student account (tuition bill). LionCash+ is not charged to your student account and can be paid for by cash, check, or credit card.

For general questions regarding meal plans, please contact For LionCash+ inquiries, please contact


How can I have my insurance company pay my Health Center fees?

University Health Services is now participating with outside insurances. We request that you provide UHS with your insurance information prior to or at your first visit. Please check with your insurance company to verify coverage for UHS services.

Visit for more information.

I need insurance for my student, who do I speak with?

We recommend that you contact the Office of Student Insurance:


How do I request a transcript?

Transcripts may be obtained from the Office of the University Registrar:

Change of Address

How do I change my address with the University?

The permanent or local address may be updated at the Registrar's office - 112 Shields Building, at the student's college dean's office, or on eLion.

To update your address on eLion:

  1. Go to
  2. Select "Students" and login with your User ID and password
  3. Select "Personal Profile"
  4. Select "Address Information"
  5. Select "Update Address & Contact Information"
  6. Make necessary updates
  7. Select "Save Changes"
  8. Re-enter your password and select "OK" to confirm changes
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