Penn State Mark

Parent Information

Academic Verifications
Degree Progress
General Information
Grades and Transcripts
Graduation
Registration
Penn State Parents & Families

General Information

1. Is there an academic calendar available for specific semester dates?

Yes. The Registrar's office publishes the University's official academic calendar.

2. How can I get information on financial aid for students?

Parents and students may obtain information concerning financial aid through the Student Aid Web site, calling 814-865-6301 or writing to, The Office of Student Aid, The Pennsylvania State University, 314 Shields Building, University Park, PA 16802.

3. Where can I get my questions answered concerning my son or daughter's tuition/bill?

Questions concerning a student's bill, refund or payments are referred to the Bursar's Office. You may contact them at 814-865-6528, accessing the Bursar's Web site or writing to, Bursar's Office, The Pennsylvania State University, 103 Shields Building, University Park, PA 16802.

4. I have questions concerning on-campus housing, whom should I contact?

The Housing Assignment Office is responsible for all on-campus housing. They may be contacted at 814-865-7501 or writing to, The Assignment Office, The Pennsylvania State University, 201 Johnston Commons, University Park, PA 16802.

5. I'd like to make arrangements for my student to return home after the end of the semester. How can I find out when he's finished with classes?

It's important to understand that the semester doesn't end with the last day of classes. Final exams are offered the week following the end of classes during fall and spring semesters. The Academic Calendar shows the final exam dates for each semester. Although not all courses offer comprehensive final exams during this week, your student should not make plans to leave campus until he knows exactly when his final exams are scheduled.

For University Park students, the final exam schedule is published at the beginning of the fifth week of the semester. Your student will be able to view his final exam schedule in eLion and, if necessary, resolve any conflicts at that time. Once the conflicts have been resolved, his final exam schedule will be finalized and he can make arrangements to return home.

Please review Final Exam for more information.

6. What is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)?

The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 identifies the rights of students and their families with respect to student educational records kept by institutions. As part of the requirements of FERPA, the University has a Policy on Confidentiality of Student Records (policy AD-11). The University has also developed related policies that concentrate on the use of institutional data (policy AD-23) and computer and network security (policy AD-20).

When the student reaches the age of 18 or begins attending a postsecondary institution, regardless of age, FERPA rights transfer from the parent to the student. This means that parents may not obtain any of their student's education records without the written consent of the student.

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Degree Progress

1. What is a Degree Audit?

The Penn State Degree Audit Report is a computer-generated report that matches the degree requirements of an undergraduate degree program with a student's course work taken. The audit identifies those graduation requirements completed as well as those requirements needing completion prior to graduation. The purpose of the audit report is to provide each student and his/her adviser with a degree progress monitoring tool to assist in academic planning and appropriate course scheduling each semester. Students can obtain an audit of their current major or explore other majors by seeing how their completed course work matches with the requirements of other majors.

Degree audits can be obtained from:

Graduation

1. How can I confirm if my son or daughter is on the graduation list?

You may instruct your son or daughter to access the "Graduating this Semester" application on eLion, or to contact their academic college, the Graduate School for graduate students, or the Registrar's office.

2. When is my son or daughter's graduation ceremony?

The schedule of commencement ceremonies at University Park is prepared approximately one year in advance. For information on ceremonies at locations other than University Park, contact the Registrar's office at that location.

3. How do you order announcements, cap and gown?

Students should contact the Penn State Bookstore at 814-863-3558 or 814-863-3589, to order their caps and gowns, and to order their personalized announcements.

4. How many guests are allowed to attend the graduation ceremony?

There is no limit on the number of guests that may attend the graduation ceremony. Tickets are not required.

5. How long does the ceremony last?

Ceremonies average one and one-half to two hours in length.

6. Will my son or daughter receive their diploma at the ceremony?

Diplomas for doctoral candidates and undergraduate college marshals will be distributed at the ceremony. Diplomas for all other approved candidates will be mailed approximately four weeks after the commencement ceremony to their permanent residence or eLion diploma mailing address.

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Grades and Transcripts

1. How can I obtain a copy of my son's or daughter's grades?

Students have access to their semester grades on eLion or by requesting to have their grades mailed to their permanent residence using eLion.

Penn State's policy on Confidentiality of Student Records is designed to comply with the 1974 federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This federal law prohibits disclosure of student records information without prior consent of the student. Through eLion, students may provide consent for their parent to view grades as follows:

  1. A parent must have a Penn State User ID. Parents who do not have a current Penn State access account may obtain a "Friends of Penn State" account. Simply go to eLion and select "Parent/Other." Select "Create an Account" and follow the instructions to obtain a "Friends of Penn State" User ID.
  2. Parents must provide their Penn State User ID to their student.
  3. The student must grant their parent access in eLion by selecting "Personal Profile" then "Parent/Other Access" on the left-hand menu, selecting "Continue," and following the instructions to grant access to the Grades function.

Once access has been granted by the student, the parent may log into eLion as Parent/Other, and select "Grades."

2. My son or daughter received a letter stating he/she has been dropped from degree status. What does this mean?

This is a serious matter. Because of poor academic performance, your son or daughter is no longer in a degree status. Your son or daughter may continue to enroll at Penn State as a nondegree student. This means a limited class load and ineligibility for student aid. If your son or daughter demonstrates positive academic progress, they may be reinstated into degree program status at a later time.

3. As a parent of a student, why can't I request their transcript?

Penn State policy on Confidentiality of Student Records is designed to comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). This federal law prohibits disclosure of student records information to a third party without written consent from the student.

4. Will you fax a transcript?

No, transcripts are not faxed for several reasons:

  • Official transcripts are printed on safety paper to prevent tampering. The fax process would eliminate this security measure.
  • The recipient cannot be assured from where the faxed transcript originated, therefore there is no way to authenticate the transcript received.
  • We do offer special services when requesting a transcript; including accepting fax requests, and next business day delivery (FedEx). Currently enrolled students may also request an official transcript on the Web.

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Registration

1. Is my son or daughter registered?

The Penn State registration process consists of two steps. First, the student enrolls in specific courses. Second, registration is complete upon receipt of payment and fees. There is more information concerning registration on our Web site.

2. Can I register for my son or daughter?

No. Each student is responsible for their own registration.

3. My son or daughter has become ill and will not be able to finish the semester. What do we need to do?

The procedure your son or daughter will use is academic withdrawal. Undergraduate students can process the withdrawal on the Web using the eLion system or by contacting their college deans office. Graduate students must contact the Graduate School.

4. My son or daughter has decided not to return to Penn State. What should he/she do?

If your son or daughter has made this decision prior to paying the semester bill and before classes begin, he/she may simply drop all courses for the semester through eLion. However, once classes begin for the semester, your student must contact the campus Registrar; or send a letter to the Office of the University Registrar, Enrollment Services, 112 Shields Building, University Park, PA 16802; or send a fax to 814-863-1929; or send an e-mail (esmail@psu.edu). If the decision not to return is made after the semester bill has been paid, then your son or daughter will need to process a withdrawal. A tuition refund schedule can be found on the Bursar's Web site. It is highly recommended that your son or daughter contact the Housing Assignment Office if he/she is living on campus, and the Office of Student Aid if he/she is utilizing financial aid. In all cases, your son or daughter should contact their college to inform them that he/she will not be returning.

5. I have paid my son or daughter's tuition and he/she has decided not to return. How do I receive a refund?

All refunds are processed through the Bursar's Office.

6. My son or daughter did not attend last semester and would like to return. What does he/she need to do?

Your son or daughter must file for re-enrollment.

7. My son or daughter has not applied for admission but would like to register for a course at Penn State. What should he/she do?

Students wishing to take courses at Penn State, but who do not intend to pursue a degree at Penn State, attend as a nondegree student. Nondegree students enroll on a space available basis and are not guaranteed admission into a degree program.

8. Why wasn't my son or daughter able to register for a particular course?

There may be several reasons why your son or daughter could not register for a particular course:

  • Not all courses are offered every semester.
  • Some courses are offered to students in selected colleges one semester, and to students in other colleges the next semester.
  • The course may have been full at the time the registration request was made.
  • The department offering the course may have placed an enrollment control on the course so they can specifically monitor who enrolls in the course. In those cases, the department offering the course would need to be contacted.

9. If my son or daughter needs a course and was unable to register for it, what should they do? Who can they talk to?

If a course is required for the student's major and they are not able to register for it, they should first contact their adviser for assistance. Then they would need to contact the department office that offers the course.

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Academic Verifications

1. Our family insurance company (or my employer) is requiring proof that my son or daughter is enrolled at Penn State. What do I do?

Insurance companies, financial lenders or employers may require proof that a student was or is currently enrolled at Penn State. An academic verification provides proof of enrollment, graduation, student status, and other related information.

Academic verifications are now available to parents via the eLion Parent/Other menu. However, parents must first be granted access by their student(s) as follows:

  1. A parent must have a Penn State User ID. If you do not have a current Penn State access account you may obtain a "Friends of Penn State" account. Simply go to eLion and select "Parent/Other." Select "Create an Account" and follow the instructions to obtain your "Friends of Penn State" User ID.
  2. Provide your student(s) with your Penn State User ID.
  3. The student must grant their parent access in eLion, select "Personal Profile" then "Parent/Other Access" on the left-hand menu, select "Continue," and follow the instructions to grant access to the Academic Verification.

Once access has been granted by the student the parent may log into eLion as Parent/Other, and select "Academic Verification."

The Office of the University Registrar will not complete agency supplied verification forms. Rather the official University academic verification statement will be attached to the original agency supplied form.

2. Will you fax a verification?

No, academic verifications are not faxed for several reasons:

  • Verifications are printed on safety paper to prevent tampering. The fax process would eliminate this security measure.
  • The recipient cannot be assured from where the faxed report originated, therefore there is no way to authenticate the validity of the document received.
  • We do offer special services including accepting fax requests, and next business day delivery (FedEx).

3. Will you verify information over the phone to a company? If so what information?

No, we do not verify enrollment information over the phone.

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