Systems and Procedures
A Division of The Corporate Controller's Office

Procedure GS2001 - Graduate School Application Fee Procedure

The Graduate School

Policy Steward facilitating procedure: Dean of the Graduate School

Table of Contents:



Applicants interested in receiving an advanced degree, (master's, doctoral, or teacher certification) beyond the baccalaureate degree, must complete an online application and any supplemental materials required by the graduate program. To apply to a graduate program at Penn State, an applicant must check the instructions and requirements on each program's individual web site. Programs' sites can be located at:

A non-refundable fee is required for processing and evaluating applications for admission to the Graduate School. All fees are approved by the Corporate Controller.

Applicants may pay the application fee by one of the following methods:

An application will not be processed until the fee is either paid or waived according to policies established by Graduate Enrollment Services.


Applicants interested in taking graduate-level courses for personal enrichment, professional development, instructional II public education certification, or later want to apply for degree status must seek admission as a graduate non degree student by accessing the online application at

The non-refundable fee is required for processing and evaluating applications for non-degree admission to the Graduate School. All fees are approved by the Corporate Controller.

Applicants may pay the application fee by one of the following methods:

An application will not be processed until the fee is either paid or waived according to policies established by Graduate Enrollment Services.

This procedure outlines the processing of fee payments and necessary controls to account for the income received.



Applicants apply for admission via the Graduate School on-line application. The application data uploads into ISIS through a nightly batch procedure. Graduate Enrollment Services is notified the following day that the applicant applied for admission. If the applicant paid the fee on-line using a credit card, is ISIS status will read GRINC . On a daily basis, the fee collector reviews the applications and credit card transactions to reconcile and verify receipt of the fee. The fee collector then processes a Report of Cash Receipts (ROCR) in accordance with the instructions for Report of Cash Receipts on IBIS. If the applicant does not pay the fee with a credit card and chooses to pay by check or money order through the mail, Graduate Enrollment Services still receives notification of the submitted application; however, the ISIS status is GRMI1 (missing fee). This ISIS status will remain as GRMI1 for 20 days, then automatically changed to GRMI2 and a letter is sent to the applicant requesting the fee. After the fee is received, the fee collector deposits the check, prepares a ROCR, changes the paid source on ISIS to PD (paid) and changes the status on ISIS to GRINC.


An applicant may only complete a down-loadable application if he/she cannot access the on-line application and must pay the fee by check or money order. A Graduate Enrollment Services staff person must hand-key the application information into ISIS . The fee collector processes the application fee and stamps "paid" on the application and enters "PD" on ISIS AGR screen as the fee source.


Credit Card

Credit card payments may only be used to pay the fee during submission of the on-line application. The credit card transaction is processed through PSU pay when the applicant applies for admission. The Graduate Enrollment Services fee collector reconciles the credit card payment using the e-Commerce report with the submitted application. A Report of Cash Receipts (ROCR) is prepared and funds are credited to the appropriate budgets.

Check or Money Order

All correctly remitted payments are endorsed according to University Policy FN01 and the application status is changed to PD (paid) on ISIS . In some cases, University departments may pay the fee for applicants via an Interdepartmental Charges and Credits ( IDCC ). This notation will be entered on the AGR comment section "Paid by IDCC."


In rare instances, cash may be received for payment of an application fee instead of by credit card, check or money order. In all such cases, the Graduate Enrollment representative receiving the payment will immediately issue a Pre-numbered Receipt . A carbon copy of the Pre-numbered Receipt will be retained for eventual filings with an ROCR prepared in accordance with the instructions for Report of Cash Receipts on IBIS. The cash will be secured in the safe until deposited within 48 hours. The original Pre-numbered Receipt is retained for reconciliation purposes as discussed in "Deposit and Reconciliation of Application Fees." The application status will be changed to PD (paid) on ISIS .

Fee Waivers

If the fee is being waived by the Office of Graduate Educational Equity, a notation is put on the AGR comment screen ( ISIS ) and one of the following codes in entered: "WC" for CIC Applicants, "WD" for OGEEP, "WN" for McNair Scholars, "WS" for SROP participants, and "WG" for Other waivers that are granted on a case-by-case basis by Graduate Enrollment Services.


An ROCR , referencing all Pre-numbered Receipts will be prepared. The fees will be credited as appropriate to the following account numbers: 001-67, Fund 1001 (Fees Income - Central Budget), object code 020 and 231-17, Fund 1001 (Fees Income - Graduate School), object code 020 and approved by the Director or Associate Director of Graduate Enrollment Services. All created reports will be filed by date for future reference. In accordance with the Financial Officer Procedures Manual, the Financial Officer will periodically verify the numeric sequence of all Pre-numbered Receipts issued by the designee.

To facilitate processing of the large volume of applications, all check payments received will be deposited within 48 hours. (This is a specific exception to the daily deposit requirements of University Policy FN01 , because of the low dollar amount of individual check and cash payments received and the small area over which applications must be transported for subsequent processing).

Collection, deposit, and reconciliation of application fees at Harrisburg and the Great Valley Campus are the responsibility of the Financial Officer (at Harrisburg) and Business Manager (at Great Valley Campus), respectively.


When checks received for payment of application fees fail to clear the bank, the Bursar will return the checks along with a "Returned Item Memo" ( Exhibit "A" ) to Graduate Enrollment Services. Graduate Enrollment Services will notify the applicant via a "Returned Check Letter" (RCL - Exhibit "B" ) that his/her application will not be processed until the returned check is made good. A copy of the RCL and the bad check are scanned; a second copy of the RCL will be placed in a bad check file along with the Returned Item Memo, pending corrective action by the applicant. Additionally, the payment status on the student's AIS record will be changed from "paid" to "billed" to prevent the student from being admitted to the Graduate School and from registering for classes. When payment is received, the remittance will be reviewed and prepared for deposit. Once the repayment successfully clears, the repayment date will be noted. The Returned Item Memo, however, will be retained for accountability purposes in accordance with Record Retention section of this procedure.


A refund of the application fee can be issued to the applicant as deemed appropriate by Graduate Enrollment Services, e.g., mishandling of an application due to an administrative oversight. The fee source in ISIS will be changed from PD (paid) or RG (refunded) and a notation will be entered on the AGR comment screen that a refund was issued.

If the fee was paid by credit card, the fee collector issues a credit via the e-Commerce system.

If the fee was paid by check, money order, or cash, a Refund Request Form is completed and a Special Request for Check ( SRFC ) is processed on IBIS. The graduate Enrollment Representative requesting the refund will submit the completed form to the Associate Director or Director of Graduate Enrollment Services for approval signature. Upon approval, the Refund Request Form is delivered to the Financial Officer. The Financial Officer verifies that the request is properly authorized, initials and dates the request form as evidence of review, and approves an SRFC.


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.


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.

Upon expiration of a stated period of time, documents must be discarded and/or destroyed, unless permission is granted by Records Management Officer or designee to retain the records. Archival records created more than 20 years prior to the current date must be reviewed before destruction. Units should also contact the University Archivist before discarding any document which may be of permanent or historical value to the University. To safeguard the privacy of individuals, documents that contain salary information, personally identifiable information (PII), or student records must also be shredded. See Policy AD53 - Privacy Policy and AD22 - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act for additional information regarding privacy and the protection of an individual's personal information. For documents that must be shredded, departments may arrange for Blue Bag service by contacting the Blue/White Shredding Program of the Office of Physical Plant. Exceptions to the practice are as follows:

Additional questions may be directed to the University Archivist or the Records Management Officer.



For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this procedure, please contact the Financial Officer, The Graduate School


Procedure Status:

Date Approved: 09/16/09

Most recent changes:

Revision History (and effective dates:)