FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

In this page you will find answers to the Bursar's most frequently asked questions by students and families. You can click on the "Category" drop down menu below or type a keyword in the "Search FAQ" box, then click on "Apply Filters" to see the results. You can also scroll down to view all FAQs.

If the answer to your question is not listed here, please submit a Contact Us form. A Bursar representative will respond as soon as possible.


General Questions

Why am I being charged an Information Technology Fee?

Information Technology Fee:

An Information Technology Fee is charged to all undergraduate and graduate students at all campus locations.

EFFECTIVE SPRING 2020: Penn State will eliminate the Information Technology Fee as a separate line item on the student bill and instead incorporate the fee as part of the tuition rate. This action has not impacted overall cost. Click here for more information.

The IT fee supports digital services such as internet access, e-mail, security, help services, software, computer labs, library resources, and wireless networks. Even if the student is not physically studying on campus, their e-mail account is still active and they have full access to the internet and other services. This is a mandatory fee.



Does my family qualify for a tuition discount if two or more children attend Penn State?

Penn State does not provide tuition discounts for families if two or more children attend.

If you need assistance with the cost of education at Penn State, please visit the financial aid office for your campus:

University Park


Directory of Financial Aid Offices at All Campuses


When does an undergraduate become an "upper division" student?

When the student has completed 59.1 or more course credits. All advanced placement or transfer credits placed on the Penn State transcript will count towards the total number of credits a student has accumulated, even if some of those credits do not meet the course requirements for graduation.  

Please be advised that a student’s tuition will increase when the Penn State transcript reflects 59.1 total credits. If the credits you are transferring or have transferred place you above 59.1 credits after the start of the semester, your tuition will increase immediately. You will receive a bill for the additional tuition in the first week of the following month.

Why are upper division and graduate instruction more expensive?

Instructional costs are determined by who teaches the course, by the number of students enrolled in the course, and by the subject being taught. Upper division and graduate courses are smaller in size and taught by senior faculty. These courses involve more specialized instruction within the student's major.

Do I have to pay tuition if I am auditing a course?

Yes, any student that audits a course is subject to pay the appropriate tuition and fees.

I dropped a course, but did not receive any tuition adjustment. Why?

Your credits must be reduced to less than full-time (12 credits) before any adjustment is considered. The effective date of the drop, in conjunction with the length of the course, determines if an adjustment is due. For more information about tuition adjustments, please review the Tuition Adjustment Policy.

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

Students who withdraw will receive a tuition adjustment in accordance with Penn State’s Tuition Adjustment Policy. Students who are granted a retroactive withdrawal will be responsible for 100% of tuition due. Students who withdraw from a semester due to medical reasons can petition the Bursar's office for a possible one-time waiver of tuition. Petitions will only be accepted up to one calendar year after the end of the academic semester in which the medical circumstance(s) prevented the student from completing the semester. For example, if a student withdrew from a spring semester, the petition would be accepted up to the last day of the following spring semester. For instructions on the petition process, please submit a Contact Us form.  A Bursar representative will respond as soon as possible.

Students at the Harrisburg campus, please contact the Harrisburg's Bursar's office for information on the required documentation and submission of the one-time waiver of tuition petition at (717) 948-6009, or by email at [email protected].




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

Yes, eligible spouses and dependent children up to the age of 26 are eligible to receive a tuition discount of 75% of the Pennsylvania in-state tuition cost, as outlined in Policy HR37.  Penn State Human Resources now offers a fully automated tuition discount process for eligible spouses and dependent children beginning with the fall 2021 semester.  The only action required is to ensure that your dependents’ Social Security Number is entered into Workday AND that the dependent has entered their Social Security Number at accounts.psu.edu.   For additional information visit: https://hr.psu.edu/benefits/educational-privileges

Once all the information is processed by the Employee Benefits office, the staff discount will appear on your student account. The 75% deduction will only be applied to the tuition. The staff discount cannot be applied to room and board charges, and Student Fee (Student Initiated Fee).

Grant-in-aid will NOT be applied retroactively to previous semesters. If you have additional questions, please contact the Employee Benefits office at 814-865-1473.

Why am I being charged the Student Fee if I am a World Campus student?

World Campus students who take courses through other Penn State campuses will be assessed the Student Fee. The Student Fee is a non-refundable fee 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.

What is the Student Fee (Student Initiated Fee)?

The Student Fee (Student Initiated Fee) combines the previous Student Activities Fee and Student Facilities Fee. The Student Fee supports student-centered activities, services, facilities and recreation to improve student life and is the result of a student-led initiative to be more involved in the creation and allocation of student fees. The Student Fee is calculated in the same way as the previously separate fees, based on the campus and the number of credits in which a student is enrolled. The Student Fee is mandatory, just as the previous fees. Adding credits on or after the first day of the semester could result in a corresponding increase of the fee. Dropping credits on or after the first day of the semester may not reduce the fee charged. For questions regarding the Student Fee, go to www.studentfee.psu.edu

Other Fees - Not charged through the student account


Sponsored students are defined as those students with full or partial funding support from a foreign government, corporation, or nonprofit organization.

To offset additional institutional costs for services required by sponsoring organizations, all sponsoring organizations will be assessed a $300 per semester fee during the fall and spring semesters, and a per semester fee of $150 during summer, for each sponsored undergraduate and graduate student enrolled at Penn State.

For additional information on the services provided to sponsoring organizations by Penn State, please click HERE.