Information for New Students
Welcome to Penn State and the Office of the Bursar
The Office of the Bursar is responsible for maintenance of student accounts pertaining to tuition billing, acceptance fees, charges, payments, financial aid disbursements, and refunds of excess funds, when available.
We hope that the following information will facilitate your transition to college life.
Accept Offer to Penn State
Accepting your Offer
To accept your offer of admission and pay your acceptance fees, login to your MyPennState account.
Your first contact with the Office of the Bursar will be after you accept your offer to attend Penn State.
In addition to the enrollment fee, all degree-seeking students must have a General Deposit on account.
If you will be residing in University housing, you will also have to pay a Housing Deposit.
These two deposits are similar to security deposits and do not offset student account charges.
The Housing Deposit is transferred to the student's account when the student leaves campus housing and the General Deposit is transferred to the student's account when the student graduates or leaves Penn State. These deposits will be used to cover any last minute charges, and the unused balance will be returned to you.
Participate in New Student Orientation (NSO), obtain a Penn State ID+ Card, and activate your Access Account
Required Placement Tests
In general, if you receive an offer of admission from the University, you will receive information about NSO two to three weeks after you accept this offer.
Beginning in March, if you have accepted your offer of admission, you will receive notification by mail to take your required placement tests online. You will be given a deadline by which you MUST take these tests online in order to have the results scored, printed, and ready for your New Student Orientation program.
The tests take about three hours or less.
Attend New Student Orientation
After you complete testing and your testing materials have been processed, you will be scheduled to participate in New Student Orientation activities at your campus of admission.
This takes place on most campuses in May or June and possible dates for which you could be scheduled run through July or August (depending on your campus of admission). You are typically notified of the date for which you are scheduled to participate in this program two weeks to one month prior to its occurrence. Additional details about these programs are included with the notification of your program date.
These details about New Student Orientation will be sent to you starting in the middle of April, but you will not be scheduled for a program or sent information about it until after you have completed your required placement tests.
The information above concerning NSO is general in nature and may not pertain to every student. Specific information of a more detailed nature will be mailed to each student individually at the appropriate time. For more information, visit the NSO website at: orientation.psu.edu..
To access financial information presented by the Offices of the Bursar and Student Aid at NSO, please view the following video:
If you attended NSO, you should already have your Penn State id+ Card. If you do not have your card, please visit http://www.idcard.psu.edu/obtain.shtml for instructions on how to obtain one.
If you attended NSO, you should already have your Access Account. If not, please visit http://ait.its.psu.edu/services/identity-access-management/identity/accounts/ for instructions on activating your Access Account.
Penn State E-mail Account
As a new student, you will receive a Penn State e-mail account. Important information from the Office of the Bursar, as well as other departments, will be communicated to you via e-mail.
Your NSO orientation will also introduce you to eLion, Penn State's Web-based interactive system. eLion provides current students access to the information and services needed to initiate and complete academic programs, review financial aid awards, view the transactions on their student account and view/pay their tuition bills each semester. Classes for the upcoming semester will be scheduled on eLion as well.
Students will not receive bill information until they have full eLion access.
Open a Bank Account
If you don't already have a bank account, open one at PNC Bank
With a PNC Bank checking account, you can link your account to your id+ card so you can also use it as a PNC Bank ATM card. You'll only need one card to carry around campus.
Visit http://www.idcard.psu.edu/students/banking.shtml for information on PNC services with id+ and opening your PNC account.
Sign up for Rapid Refund
Instructions for Signing up for Rapid Refund
For the quickest delivery of refunds, students should sign up for Rapid Refund by using eLion.
- Go to eLion
- Select "Students"
- Login with User ID and Access Account password
- Select "Refund Information" from the left-hand menu
- Click on "Sign up for Rapid Refund" and enter your bank account information
Students can also choose to have their refund mailed to a permanent or local address. Refunds that are delivered by mail will be delayed. For those students who do not indicate a refund preference, refunds will be mailed to the permanent address at a later time.
Sign up for Electronic Consent (1098-T)
*Note: New Students will not be able to sign-up until January 2014.
Instructions for Signing up for Electronic Consent
To sign-up to receive form 1098-T electronically, students should sign up for Electronic Consent by using eLion.
- Go to eLion
- Select "Students"
- Login with User ID and Access Account password
- Select "Taxes - 1098T" from the left-hand menu
- Click on the "Sign Up For Electronic Form 1098-T" button
- Read the Consent Document
- Select the "I agree to receive Form 1098-T in an electronic format" button
- Push "Continue" and a confirmation message will display
Note: You will receive an e-mail from the Bursar's Office each year when your Form 1098-T is available to view.
Grant your Parents Access to your Tuition Bill
Instructions for Online Financial Access for Parents/Other Individuals
You may authorize your parent/guardian, or other individuals to access and discuss your financial information.
To grant access, please follow the steps below:
- Parent/guardian/other goes to elion.psu.edu
- Parent selects "Parent/Other" in eLion, then chooses "Create an account"
- Parent/guardian/other provides you with his/her Penn State User ID
- You login to elion.psu.edu and select "Students"
- You select "Parent/Other Access" from the left-hand menu
- You enter your parent's Penn State User ID
Complete Registration by Paying Your Tuition Bill
When will I get a Tuition Bill?
Beginning approximately six weeks prior to the start of classes, bills will be prepared for students who have scheduled classes and have full eLion access. You will receive notification via your Penn State e-mail account that your Tuition Bill is available to view/pay or to confirm registration on eLion. Parents/Other individuals, who have been granted access to the Tuition Bill, will also be notified through e-mail that the Tuition Bill is available.
Bills are prepared mid-July for fall semester, mid-November for spring semester and mid-April for summer semester. Residence hall charges are included on the bill, if applicable. Bills are prepared on a weekly basis through the first 10 days of the semester for students scheduling later.
More billing information is available at: Paying Your Bill.
What if my student aid is not showing on my bill?
The "Anticipated Student Financial Aid Detail" section on your Tuition Bill shows your current known available aid. If you have additional scholarships, grants, or loans, please refer to this section at Financial Aid and Your Bill for information noting those changes. The Tuition Bill on eLion will reflect current information.
How can I pay my Tuition Bill?
Electronic payment options are available on eLion. The eCheck option is a fast and convenient method to pay your tuition bill directly from a personal checking account. There is no charge to pay by eCheck. You may also pay by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express). A 2.5% Convenience Fee will be charged for credit card payments made over the Web. We cannot accept credit card payments by mail, phone or in person.
If you wish to mail a check, you may print a remittance stub from eLion and mail it with your payment to Penn State. Your payment must be postmarked by the due date on your bill to avoid a Late Payment Fee. Please allow time for processing (5-7 days).
Do you have any payment plans?
Penn State offers a Deferred Payment Plan which allows you to divide your semester billable charges over three payments. Fall semester payment due dates are in August, October, and November. Spring semester due dates are in December, February, and March. The $45 non-refundable fee covers all administrative costs for the secure handling of your payments.
Enrolling in the Deferred Payment Plan is easy. When you view your tuition bill, you will be given the option to sign up. Your Tuition Bill will list your billable costs (tuition, fees, and room and board if applicable) and the financial aid that is known at the time the bill is produced. To select Penn State's Deferred Payment Plan, simply pay the first 1/3 by the due date on the bill. You may make your payment online with an eCheck or a credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express), or you may mail a paper check to the Bursar's Office with a remittance stub. Your first payment must also include the $45 deferment fee each semester and any unpaid prior balance.
A ten month Tuition Prepayment Plan is available through Tuition Management Systems. The prepayment plan runs from April until January. Fall semester payments are due April through August; spring semester payments are due September through January. This is an interest free plan which is available to everyone. Tuition Management Systems is the nation's leading payment plan provider, and they administer this plan for Penn State. To enroll, visit www.afford.com/PSU or call toll free 1-800-722-4867. There is a $28 fee to participate in this convenient prepayment option each semester, or you can enroll in the Annual Plan for $50. The Annual Plan covers both fall and spring semesters.
Completing Your Registration
The Penn State registration process consists of two steps. First, the student initiates registration by scheduling specific courses. Second, the student completes registration upon payment of tuition and fees or confirms registration electronically (when all charges will be covered by financial aid), if applicable.
In all cases, action is required to complete registration.
College Savings Plans (529 Plans)
Many financial advisors agree that 529 plans are one of the best ways for families to save for college. Many families across the country are finding that using a college savings plan to pay for college makes more sense than ever. All 50 states now offer these college savings plans.
The specific requirements for establishing and withdrawing from a plan will vary by state, so please check with your state or visit www.savingforcollege.com for links to information for all the state plans.
Pay for Current Semester Expenses – Contributions into a PA 529 account are deductible from Pennsylvania taxable income (within limits). By putting funds that a family intends to use to pay for even current semester expenses into a PA 529 account and then paying qualified expenses form the PA 529, a family can save 3.07% (the current PA income tax rate) on their expenses. There is no time limit to qualify for a Pennsylvania tax deduction; however, please keep in mind that the processing period for contributions and withdrawals may take a few weeks. Contributions of to $14,000 per beneficiary per year (up to $28,000 per couple) are deductible from Pennsylvania income tax. For more information about the PA 529 plan, please call 800-440-4000.