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FAQ - Tuition

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General Tuition Questions

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

When the student has completed 59.1 or more course credits, including credits earned through advanced placement or transferred from another institution. Please note, depending on when the advanced placement or transfer credits are approved, a mid-semester tuition increase may result.

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.

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 visit

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. The Dependent Grant-In-Aid online form must be completed for EVERY semester or summer session in which the Grant-In Aid is to be applied for a dependent and/or spouse. 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.

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.

Why am I being charged Information Technology, Activities and Facilities Fees?

Information Technology Fee:

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

See: for further information.

Activities Fee:

The purpose of the Activities Fee is to improve the out-of-class experience and improve the educational climate at Penn State. The Activities Fee is charged to students based on their status or location.

Income from the Activities Fee is used to increase the number and quality of activities such as clubs and organizations, recreational and fitness programs, lectures, music and cultural programs, and other campus programs related to the total learning environment.

Each campus has established a student-run committee that allocates these funds.

For information on the University Park Allocation Committee, please visit

Facilities Fee:

The Facilities Fee has been established to provide a funding source for capital projects designed to enhance student activities, fitness, and recreation.

Projects to be undertaken at each campus will be identified by the appropriate campus officials. Student input will be obtained in determining priorities and ideas for potential projects through campus advisory groups that represent all constituencies.

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