Principles Related to the Registration Process
- Prior to registration, students must agree to and accept the Financial Responsibility Agreement (FRA), which affirms their commitment and understanding that registering for courses means they agree to pay all tuition charges and fees when billed by the University. Completing the FRA enables the student to proceed to register for specific courses. The FRA is completed once each semester prior to initial registration.
- Prior to any registration activity, students are encouraged to meet with their designated academic adviser or appropriate advising center personnel, to plan a course of study. Both the adviser and advisee share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed.
- Students should complete the registration process and finalize course schedules prior to the first day of the semester.
- The registration system enables students to register for courses at more than one campus in the same semester through Multi Campus Registration as detailed in section 11. This process requires approval from the non-home campus and is normally limited to classes that have unused capacity the week prior to the start of classes. Additional restrictions may apply.
- Students must be registered for a course during the semester in which they complete the course requirements. If a course has requirements in multiple semesters, then students must register for the appropriate course in each of these semesters in order to complete all the requirements.
1. Registration System
One registration system registers all students at all locations for credit courses offered through the resident instruction, continuing education, and World Campus delivery systems. Non-credit courses follow different registration procedures.
The campus Registrar is responsible for providing semester-by-semester registration instructions to students, advisers, faculty, and staff. Registration instructions are published on the web.
The registration process is continuous in nature. Students are encouraged to begin the registration process by meeting with their academic adviser. Each student is assigned a "first date to register.” Starting with this first date, the student may initially register and subsequently adjust the registration as appropriate and necessary. The fundamental goal of this process is to finalize course registrations before the first day of the semester.
Students may register for courses using the following options:
- Using the student self-service online registration system
- Requesting, via in-person or written requests, that the appropriate campus office schedule on their behalf. This action will require a student to sign the FRA prior to enrolling in a course. In instances where students do not have electronic access to the online student system and a paper form is signed, the Bursar's Office will curate the form and release the registration hold thereby allowing courses selected by the student to be added by the appropriate campus office.
2. Cancelling Registration
Students who choose not to attend classes in a semester after they have already registered may cancel their registration prior to the end of the regular drop/add period. No tuition penalty will be assessed during the regular drop/add period. Students who received a Student Aid refund associated with that semester must return these funds.
If students choose not to attend classes after the drop/add period, they should withdraw (see AAPPM J-1: Withdrawal).
3. Financial Obligations
Students are obligated to pay applicable tuition and fees once they are registered for courses.
Students who have registered for courses receive a statement of tuition and fees from the Bursar's office. This statement includes the amount due as well as possible credits resulting from applicable scholarships, loans, grants, and other forms of financial assistance. In some cases, because of possible financial credits, a student may not be required to make payment to the University. In other cases, a student may be due a refund from the University.
Consequences of Non-Payment: Failure to complete payment of tuition and fees may result in a hold as defined in AAPPM N-2: Holds on Student Registrations. In addition, non-payment could have any or all of the following implications:
- Prevention of registration for future semesters
- Cancellation of future semester schedules
- Withholding of official transcripts(s)
- Withholding of diploma(s)
- Assessment of the University-approved monthly finance charge on any outstanding balance owed to the University
- Collection activity on delinquent accounts
A campus may cancel registration for students who are not in good financial standing or regularly attending classes. Good financial standing is defined as a student who has an account balance of less than $100, has approved or anticipated financial aid, or has made satisfactory payment arrangements. Should students become past due for the current semester and the campus cancels their current registration, future semesters also may be cancelled.
4. Credit Limitations
Students must consult with their academic adviser before registering for a credit overload. Students are not permitted to register for more than 19 credits prior to the first day of the semester. After consultation with their academic adviser, students may register for more than 19 credits during the first six calendar days of the semester.
5. Registration Calendar
The campus Registrar is responsible for developing a registration calendar for each semester. Consultation should occur among those campus Registrars at campuses where students typically enroll at multiple locations.
The registration calendar is prioritized according to the following scheme:
- Students with priority needs (authorized categories include honor students, students with disabilities, veterans and student athletes);
- Graduate degree students;
- Undergraduate degree students (descending order of total credits completed);
- Nondegree students (register on a space-available basis).
The process for determining priority registration needs for categories of students is as follows:
- Requests for priority registration shall be endorsed by a university dean/chancellor or delegate or the administrator with responsibility for that group of students.
- Requests for priority registration shall be in writing and submitted to the Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education.
- The request shall specify:
- the group of students for whom priority registration is requested,
- the rationale for priority registration status and how the request meets the criteria guidelines (see below),
- the number of students in the group,
- the requested time frame for implementation.
- Guiding principles used in considering requests:
- Compelling Scheduling Need - some factor of the group restricts the times that the group may take classes.
- Overall benefits outweigh detriment to the university community at large.
- The Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education will appoint a committee consisting of the University Registrar and two ACUE deans, who do not represent the unit making the request, to make a determination. The Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education will notify the unit making the request of the outcome of the decision.
- One appeal will be considered. In such cases, documents will be reviewed by the Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education. Appeals will be considered using the guiding principles.
- If a cohort is granted priority registration, the Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education will notify the University Registrar for implementation.
All student cohorts granted priority registration must re-apply for the privilege every five years. A written proposal should be submitted to the Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education by the dean justifying the need for the practice to continue. If approved, priority registration for the requested cohort will be extended for an additional five years.
6. Late Registration
Late registration is defined as registering for the first time on or after the first day of the semester. A late registration fee, however, is only assessed when late registration occurs after the end of the regular drop/add period.
The last day to perform a late registration is the published end date for the semester in which the course was offered and taken. After the last day of class for the semester, registration for that semester is closed.
7. Registration Adjustments—Before the First Day of the Semester
After the initial registration, students may adjust their course registration as appropriate and necessary using any of the methods available for registration.
8. Registration Adjustments—First Six Days of the Semester
The first six calendar days of the fall and spring semesters are defined as the regular drop/add period. For full semester courses, the Course Drop period is the first six calendars days of the semester. The Course Add period ends one calendar day after the end of the Course Drop period. During this period, students may add and drop courses. No processing fees are assessed and no limits on courses and credits are imposed.
The time period for the regular drop/add period is pro-rated for courses offered for other than a fifteen-week semester calendar, including summer session.
9. Registration Adjustments—After the Course Drop and Add Period
Adding a course after the end of the Course Add period is a Late Add and requires approval of the course instructor. Students requesting a Late Add should be carefully advised and cautioned regarding missed work. Late Adds must be processed in person or by written request at the appropriate campus office. A processing fee is charged for a Late Add. The last day to late add a course is the "last day of class," as it appears in the Schedule of Courses for the semester in which the course was offered and taken. Any late add after that date must be handled via a petition to the University Faculty Senate.
Dropping a course after the Course Drop period and through the end of the twelfth week of the semester is a Late Drop. For courses offered for less than a full semester, the late drop period ends after 80% of the course has been completed. Students requesting a Late Drop should be carefully advised and cautioned regarding the potential impact of delaying normal progress towards graduation, possible loss of some forms of student aid, and potential ineligibility of coverage on parental insurance policies. Late Drops must be processed in person at the appropriate campus office or using the student self-service online registration system. A processing fee is charged for a Late Drop.
The time periods for Late Add and Late Drop are prorated for courses offered for other than a fifteen-week semester calendar, including summer session.
10. Administrative Course Cancellation
The Administrative Course Cancellation procedure is available to correct administrative errors. It is not to be used as an alternative to normal registration procedures.
If a student identifies a course for which registration was not intended and the student did not attend any classes or participate, the student must contact the department offering the course. The department staff will initiate an Administrative Course Cancellation form and ask the student to sign the request. The department staff forwards the form to the course instructor. If the instructor has no evidence that the student participated in the course and makes this declaration of non-participation by signing the form, the form is returned to the department office, for forwarding to the campus Registrar's office. The campus Registrar will remove the course from the student's academic record. This procedure is available one semester beyond the semester in which the error occurred. After this time, the Faculty Senate must act on the course cancellation request.
11. Multiple Campus Registration
Each campus creates its course schedule with the goal of serving students enrolled at that campus. Likewise, each student is assigned a home campus at which the student must be registered; this registration requirement does not apply to adult learners as they are defined in AAPPM M-4.
Students first register for courses offered by their home campus. Permission to register for course(s) at any other campus is required from the non-home campus. Campuses first ensure that all of their students have an opportunity to register before allowing students from other campuses to enroll in their courses. The next priority is given to graduating seniors in their last semester who have a different home campus and who need the course to satisfy a graduation requirement. The third priority is given to adult learners who have a different home campus. The last priority is all other students. To manage these priorities, campuses normally limit registration for students from other campuses to begin 7 days prior to the start of classes. Academic units can waive this restriction to address unique circumstances.
To request permission to schedule a course(s) at a non-UP campus, students contact the registrar's office of that campus. Permission is granted based on availability of seats in the course and the priorities outlined above.
If a non-University Park student wants to take a course(s) at University Park, the student contacts the department offering the University Park course for permission. Registration permission priorities follow the ordering stated above. Once permission has been granted, the department forwards the request to the Registrar for the course(s) to be added to the student's schedule.
If multi-campus registration results in the majority of a student's credits being scheduled at a campus other than the home campus, the student must request a temporary change of campus, as outlined in AAPPM D-5, Early and Temporary Change of Campus. This temporary change of campus requirement does not apply to adult learners. When students change their schedules and the result is the majority of a student's credits being scheduled at a campus other than the home campus, the temporary change of campus will be done administratively.
12. Section Changes
A section change is an administrative change to a student's registration that results in moving a student from one section of a course to another. Section changes may not be initiated directly by the student. All section changes must be processed by a Penn State staff member.
Section changes may be processed through the last day of classes. When processing a section change, late drop/add fees are not applicable.
Revised: ACUE (3-4-99)
Revised: Editorial (9-29-00)
Revised: ACUE (4-7-05)
Revised: ACUE (6-7-07)
Revised: Editorial (11-1-07)
Revised: ACUE (6-5-08)
Revised: Editorial (1-28-09)
Revised: Editorial (3-25-09)
Revised: Editorial (6-2-11)
Revised: Editorial (8-19-11)
Revised: ACUE (11-3-11)
Revised: ACUE (2-2-12)
Revised: Editorial (6-6-12)
Revised: ACUE (4-4-13)
Revised: ACUE (5-2-13)
Revised: ACUE (9-4-14)
Revised: ACUE (6-4-15)
Revised: ACUE (11-5-15); Effective Fall 2016
Revised: Editorial (2-4-16); Effective Spring 2017
Revised: Editorial (10-12-16); Effective Spring 2017
Revised: ACUE (6-1-17)
Approved: ACUE (7-21-20)