Procedure CR2036 - Preparing and Processing Student Tuition Bills
Office of the Corporate Controller
Policy Steward facilitating procedure: Associate Vice President for Finance and Corporate Controller
Table of Contents:
- DETERMINING THE STUDENT TUITION BILL POPULATION
- Updating Continuing Student Records
- Undergraduate/Graduate Admissions
- Bursar/Graduate School
- Updating Records for Returning Students
- GENERATION AND NOTIFICATION OF STUDENT TUITION BILLS
- PROCESSING STUDENT TUITION BILL PAYMENTS AT UNIVERSITY PARK
- PROCESSING TUITION BILL PAYMENTS AT NON-UNIVERSITY PARK LOCATIONS
- Processing "Over the Counter" Payments
- Processing Mail Receipts
- Posting of Payments to the ISIS
- Depositing Student Tuition Bill Payments
- Reconciliation of Student Tuition Bill Postings
- PROCESSING RETURNED CHECKS
- AUDIT COORDINATION - FINANCIAL AND PROCEDURAL
- RECORD RETENTION, DISPOSITION AND DESTRUCTION
- CONTACT INFORMATION
- CROSS REFERENCES
Each semester, the University emails newly admitted and returning students (at all locations), a notification that their tuition bill is available to view on eLion. (Exhibit 'A') on eLion contains the student's name, PSU ID, amount due, payment due date, breakdown of semester charges, and breakdown of estimated financial aid, if available. All areas of the University will be advised of the deadlines for preparing and processing student tuition bills. This information is necessary to give the appropriate departments sufficient time for information updating and posting of charges and payments before bill notifications are generated. Administrative Information Services (AIS) then runs procedures specific to the bill notification process based on scheduling requests from the Associate Bursar.
The following procedure discusses the determination of the billing population, plus the generation, distribution, and collection associated with the tuition bill process. Special sections on payment processing at locations other than University Park are covered under the appropriately identified headings.
The Registrar's Office coordinates the updating of semester records for continuing students. If a continuing student is (1) registered for the current semester/session, and (2) is not approved to graduate, that student is expected to attend the University in the coming semester/session. Utilizing the "Creates Future Years Semester Record" program, all continuing student semester records which meet conditions (1) and (2) will be updated to reflect this information. Students in this status who have scheduled courses for the upcoming semester will be included in the tuition bill population when student tuition bills are generated by the Bursar's Office.
Undergraduate and graduate students interested in attending the University will forward the proper forms to the appropriate admissions office. The application data will be entered in the Integrated Student Information System (ISIS). Applicants meeting the University's admissions requirements will be placed in an 'offer' status on the ISIS and notified of their acceptance by either an Acceptance Notification (undergraduate) or Offer of Admission Letter (graduate).
For undergraduate students, semester records will be created when a student returns their Acceptance Notification with the appropriate fee to the Bursar's Office and payment is posted to the ISIS. Likewise, semester records for graduate students are created when the Graduate School updates the appropriate ISIS screen indicating the student has accepted an Offer of Admission. Once a student's semester record has been created and they have scheduled courses for the upcoming semester, the Bursar's Office will generate a Student Tuition Bill.
Degree students taking a leave of absence must file a Leave of Absence form with the Registrar's Office prior to their departure, indicating the semester/session in which they will return to continuous enrollment status. The Registrar's Office will enter this information to the appropriate ISIS screens. These students will be included in the Student Tuition Bill population for the semester/session in which they return once courses have been scheduled.
Prior to the first tuition bill run, the Associate Bursar will schedule weekly tuition bill runs with AIS using the Scheduling Request System (SRS). Bill runs typically occur on Fridays. Information contained in the tuition bill request is date of the tuition bill run, date when the tuition bill is available to the student/parent on eLion, due date of the tuition bill, and expiration date of the tuition bill on eLion. Also at this time, the Associate Bursar will review the Tuition Bill Notification email that is sent to students/parents/third parties and make any necessary changes.
Once notified of the scheduling request, AIS will schedule the necessary procedures to generate a tuition bill for each student. At the appropriate time, a tuition bill and the corresponding tuition bill notification email will be produced for each student in scheduled status.
Subsequent tuition billings will run to generate a Student Tuition Bill for those students who are not scheduled prior to the initial billing. Given programming capabilities, tuition bills run during the following times:
- Spring Semester Bills - November/December/January
- Summer Semester Bills - April/May/June
- Fall Semester Bills - July/August/September
Upon receiving the notification that their tuition bill has been generated, each student should review their Student Tuition Bill for accuracy. Adjustments can be included on the remittance, if paying by check, or submitted to the Bursar's Office by using the 'Contact Us Regarding Your Bill' option that is available when the tuition bill is viewed on eLion.
The following single payment methods are available to complete a student's registration.
- Pay on eLion using eCheck (direct payment from a personal checking account)
- Pay on eLion using credit card -(MasterCard, American Express, Discover). A 2.5% convenience fee is charged.
- Pay with check, cash, or money order by mail or in person. If mailing a payment, the payment stub (Exhibit 'B') from the tuition bill should accompany the payment.
The following payment plan options are available to complete a student's registration:
- Penn State Deferred Payment Plan (Tuition bill is paid in three installments during the semester). All single payment methods above can be used to enroll in the plan.
- Tuition Management Systems (TMS) Lion-Pay Prepayment Plan (Third party prepayment plan). Only available fall and spring semesters.
Processing Cash Payments - While most Student Bills are paid by eCheck, credit card, or check, cash payments are also accepted at Bursar's Office teller windows. When remitted, the Teller will prepare a 3-part receipt to formally acknowledge receipt of the payment. The first copy (white) will be returned to the student as proof of payment (Exhibit 'C') . The second copy (yellow) will be retained by the Teller and included with the Tuition Bill payment stub to support the posting of the payment, as documented in the paragraph of this section titled "Non-Batch Posting." The third copy (pink) will be retained by the teller as support when all the cash receipts assigned to the teller are used and returned to the Associate Bursar.
Review of Tuition Bill Payments/Verification of Adjustments - Payments received that do not match the amount due on the remittance are reviewed. Adjustments notated by the student or parent will be checked against the billed amount by accessing the appropriate ISIS screens. If the amount of the payment is not sufficient to allow bursar staff to complete the student's registration or the adjustment information provided by the student or parent is inaccurate or unverifiable, the Bursar's Office will return the remittance stub to the student or parent with a Correction Letter (Exhibit 'D') . Any payment received is posted to the student account. The student or parent must make the necessary adjustments and return both the remittance stub and the correct payment.
Reasons a student may receive a correction letter include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Check submitted for payment does not contain a signature
- Check submitted for payment because the legal line (written amount) on the check does not match the numerical amount.
- Payment submitted to enroll in Penn State's Deferred Payment Plan was incorrectly calculated.
- Student did not submit payment for a prior semester balance.
- Inability to verify aid the student is claiming that did not appear on the tuition bill.
Batch Preparation - Once verified as correct, the tuition bill payment stub and corresponding payment are batched in groups of 50 to 60. For each batch processed, an adding machine tape will be run on both the payment stubs and payments to confirm their totals agree. Information included on the tape is the semester, user id of the individual who put the batch together, date tuition bill payment was received, whether the payments in the batch should be charged a late fee, and whether the totals on the tape reflects the payment stubs or the payments. The batch is then placed into the 'Completed Batches' bin for further processing.
A bursar staff member will take each batch out of the 'Completed Batches' bin and will enter batch information into a batch spreadsheet (Exhibit 'E') . The batch information entered in the spreadsheet includes batch number, batch date, individual who created the batch, and amount of the batch. A bank deposit slip for the batch amount will be prepared, identifying batch number, bank bag number, and the semester to which it pertains. The batch will be set up in the ISIS by using screen ABPC to allow the payments to be posted.
Posting of Batch Payments - Another bursar staff member will take the individual batches from the 'Not Posted' bin and post them to the ISIS by using screen ABPE. Information entered on ABPE prior to posting the batch include Batch Number, Batch Date, Transaction Type and whether the payments in the batch are to be enrolled in Penn State's Deferred Payment Plan.
At this time, payments remain with the batch in case a student's record contains an 'R' byte signifying the account has had previous payments returned due to non-sufficient funds. If an 'R' byte account is identified, the payment and payment stub are removed from the batch and the student is notified that payment needs to be made by cash, certified check, money order, or credit card.
Once payments for the whole batch are entered, the batch can be closed by pressing 'F12' and the batch card and payment stubs are placed in the 'Posted' bin. If the amount entered does not match the batch amount, the batch will not close. Once closed, the payment amounts in the batch will be posted to the appropriate student accounts that night, completing their registration.
For all batches successfully entered on ABPE, a 'Batched Transaction Activity Report' (Exhibit 'G') will be generated the following day via the Electronic Document Distribution System (eDDS). This report is used to verify the amount posted equals the amount of the batch entered on the batch spreadsheet at the time the batch was created.
Non-Batch Posting - Unlike batch posting, student tuition bill payments may also be posted one transaction at a time, for immediate update to a student's bursar account. This is typically done by the tellers (or other users, as authorized by the Bursar) during registration, and accomplishes the following:
- (1) If students are in scheduled status and have no holds on their account, posting a student tuition bill payment will move them from SCHEDULED to REGISTERED status, allowing them to maintain their spot in their courses.
- (2) If students are not in scheduled status (example: Non-degree students), posting a student tuition bill payment will allow them the ability to schedule courses.
Postings are made to the ABAN screen for the amount remitted. While the posting of a student tuition bill payment will place a student in registered status on the ISIS, it is the responsibility of the teller/authorized user to insure that all matters relating to a student account (such as prior balances owed, holds, evidence of sufficient aid, etc.) are resolved before such a posting is made.
NOTE: Postings to the ISIS will reflect all types of payments received, not just student tuition bill payments. However student tuition bill payments will be specified as such when posted to the ABAN screen.
The following day, the user will print from eDDS a copy of their 'Not Batched Transaction Activity Report' (Exhibit 'H') which will contain the previous day's postings and will be used to confirm the amount for deposit. The user will also prepare a Batch Control Card (Exhibit 'I') that contains the posting date, amount entered, Julian date, and user id. The batch card is included with the Not Batched Transaction Activity Report and the payment remittances from that day.
A bank deposit slip for the total of all non-batch transactions posted the previous day will be prepared by the user who posted the payments. The user will also endorse the payments in preparation for deposit. Additional information provided by the user on the deposit slip is the user's id, Julian date of transactions, and the bag number the deposit was placed in. The deposit will be placed in the bank bag to be transported for processing. When the deposit has been processed, the user will receive back from the bank the carbon copy (yellow) of their deposit slip. The copy of the deposit slip is then placed with the batch card, Not Batched Transaction Activity Report, and the payment stubs. These items are then filed and retained in accordance with the 'Retention' section of this procedure.
Students are permitted to submit their payment and Student Tuition Bill Stub to any campus/college Financial Office (or Business Services Office if there is no Financial Officer), or to the Bursar's Office at University Park. If submitted to the Bursar, remittances will be processed as documented in "Processing Student Tuition Bill Payments at University Park." Payments made at other University locations will be processed within the guidelines specified in this section of the procedure.
The campus/college Financial Officer ultimately maintains fiscal control over the payment process. This includes (1) monitoring fee collection, (2) safeguarding and depositing payments within University Policy guidelines, and (3) insuring that adequate records are maintained to support such deposits.
While payment processing, depositing, and recordkeeping duties may be delegated to subordinates on a daily basis, the Financial Officer must periodically review the work performed to insure that these functions are being handled appropriately. Review will be evidenced by the Financial Officer's initials and date on the key documents which comprise that particular function.
The Financial Officer (or designee) will review the remittance and its corresponding Student Tuition Bill for correctness. Once verified as correct, the top and bottom portions of the tuition bill will be marked paid. Also indicated will be the type of payment and the date received. The bottom portion (i.e., the Student Tuition Bill Stub - (Exhibit 'B') will be retained by the Financial Officer (or designee), along with the payment and be prepared for posting and depositing.
The Financial Officer (or designee) will review all payments and Student Tuition Bill Stubs when received. If payments are incorrectly completed, or Student Tuition Bill Stubs are received having adjustments that are incorrect or unverifiable, the student will be notified that such discrepancies must be resolved before their registration can be completed.
Once screened (and discrepancies resolved, as necessary), remittances will be restrictively endorsed. Remittances and their corresponding Student Tuition Bill Stubs will then be prepared for posting and depositing.
Using the Student Tuition Bill Stub (or Pre-numbered Receipt copy), payments may be either batch posted, or posted directly to each student's account, using the appropriate screens. The campus/college Financial Officer will authorize the method of posting used, taking into account factors such as available staff, number of payments received, availability of terminals, peak times, etc.
Batch Posting - Batch Posting - Each batch will be assigned a batch number. In order to maintain sequential continuity and provide a sufficient audit trail, the campus will keep record of the batch along with the corresponding batch date, amount, batch type, and user id. Payments will then be entered to the ISIS, using the ABPC and ABPE screens.
NOTE: Other types of payments may be logged and posted as well, as all batches must be recorded for accountability purposes. However, only the posting of Student Tuition Bill payments is discussed in this procedure.
The corresponding batch number and batch date will be indicated on all source documents supporting each batch that is posted.
Non-Batch Posing -Payments may be posted on-line for immediate update to a student's account, using either the ABAN or ABAS screen.
NOTE: Non-batch posting to the ISIS can reflect all types of payments received, not just Student Tuition Bill payments. However, Student Tuition Bill payments will be specified as such when posted. Source documents supporting all on-line transactions will be labeled ABAN (or ABAS), along with the date of entry.
Deposits will be made to the University depository account designated for the applicable campus location. A Bank Deposit Slip will be prepared in triplicate, within the following guidelines:
- If "batch" posted, each clerk who posts payments must prepare a separate deposit slip for each batch posted that day.
- If "individually" posted, each clerk must prepare a separate deposit slip for the total of all non-batched transactions he or she posted that day.
- Each deposit slip prepared must include:
- (a) the batch number (for deposits relating to payments that are batch posted).
- (b) if a "not-batched" deposit, write ABAN or ABAS,
- (c) the clerk identification code.
- (d) the cycle date corresponding to the date of posting.
NOTE: Preparation of a Report of Cash Receipts is not required since these deposits directly affect the student accounts receivable. Posting of the payments to the ISIS provides sufficient notification to the Bursar that payments have been received.
The Financial Officer (or designee) will transport the payments and Deposit Slips to the bank. Deposit Slip copies will be validated, evidencing receipt of the funds by the bank. The original Bank Deposit Slip (white) will be retained by the bank. The remaining (yellow and pink) copies will be returned to the Financial Officer (or designee).
A legible copy will be forwarded to the Financial Reporting Department on a monthly basis for further processing as discussed in "Reconciliation of Student Tuition Bill Postings." The remaining copy will be retained by the Financial Office.
Once payments are posted to the ISIS, the following day the following summary reports will be generated by AIS and appear on eDDS:
- "Batched Transaction Activity Report" (Exhibit 'G') for transactions that were batch posted.
- "Not-Batched Transaction Activity Report" (Exhibit 'H') for transactions that were posted directly to a student's account.
The Financial Officer (or designee who did not post the original) will compare each report total to its corresponding Bank Deposit Slip. If a variance exists, the Student Tuition Bill Stubs corresponding to that deposit will be pulled, the account(s) in question analyzed, and the variance resolved.
All variances will be called to the attention of the Financial Officer. As evidence of review, the Financial Officer must initial and date the correction before it is forwarded to the University Auditing Department.
Each month (by the third working day), Bank Deposit Slip copies for the prior month's activity will be forwarded to the Financial Reporting Department to aid in reconciling the General Ledger and monthly bank statements. For those deposits involving variances, a copy of each Deposit Correction Memo must be attached to its corresponding Bank Deposit Slip to facilitate the reconciliation.
The Financial Officer is responsible for ensuring that procedures pertaining to the accountability and safeguarding of all cash receipts, cash funds, and other assets are established and followed in accordance with approved University policies and procedures. Regular audits relating to advances, cash, travel, equipment accountability, and other expenditures provide a means to protect University assets. The Financial Officer is responsible for working with Internal Audit when audits are being performed in the administrative area, as well as performing an annual audit that is submitted to the Assistant Controller.
Record retention must be managed in accordance with Policy AD35 - University Archives and Records Management , and records schedules approved by the Records Management Advisory Committee, Office of General Counsel, and Office of the President. These retention requirements are the University's retention criteria, either derived or based upon federal, state, and local statute or regulations, industry standards, and business needs. Retention beyond recommended time periods require justifiable reasons and warrant review by the Records Management Officer or designee. All documents must be maintained in such a manner so as to provide ease of access for review, and to provide a suitable audit trail for all transactions.
- Documents subject to a Legal Hold (see AD35, Legal Hold). A legal hold will remain in effect until it is released in writing by the Office of General Counsel.
- Documents under audit or review, either internally or externally. The retention period extends until released by the Corporate Controller's Office. The Financial Officer will be notified regarding any accounts which are under audit; the Financial Officer will be responsible for contacting the department.
Additional questions may be directed to the University Archivist or the Records Management Officer.
- Exhibit A - Tuition Bill
- Exhibit B - Payment Stub
- Exhibit C - Proof of Payment
- Exhibit D - Correction Letter
- Exhibit E - Batch Spreadsheet
- Exhibit F - Estimated Bill Payment Batch Card
- Exhibit G - Batched Transaction Activity Report
- Exhibit H - Not Batched Transaction Activity Report
- Exhibit I - Batch Control Card
For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to the procedure, please contact the Associate Controller.
- Policy AD22 - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
- Policy AD35 - University Archives and Records Management
- Procedure CR2002 - Processing Returned Checks
- Blue/White Shredding Program
Date Approved: 04-05-12
Most recent changes:
- Revision - 2 - dated 12/08/11. Revised to address electronic processing and to change title from "Preparing and Processing Student Estimated Bills".
Revision History (and effective date:)
- Rev 1. Dated 01/06/88
- Original - Date unknown