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World Campus Course Registration for Graduate Assistants, Graduate Fellows, and Graduate Trainees and STAP Recipients

Administrative Policy GSAD-XXX

Purpose: to describe how graduate assistants, who are required to be registered as resident instruction students, as well as graduate fellows and trainees, who are assessed graduate assistant rate tuition, may register for World Campus courses during the fall, spring and summer semesters; and how eligible graduate students can apply for Summer Tuition Assistance for World Campus courses. Graduate students who are eligible to apply for the Summer Tuition Assistance Program (STAP) do not need to hold an assistantship, traineeship or fellowship over the summer, but must have been appointed to a graduate assistantship, traineeship or fellowship for both the previous fall and spring semesters.

Scope: all graduate students appointed on a graduate assistantship, fellowship or traineeship who would like to register for a World Campus course during fall and/or spring semesters, and graduate students who are eligible to receive Summer Tuition Assistance via the Graduate School’s Summer Tuition Assistance Program who would like to register for a World Campus course in the summer using STAP funding.

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 Background

Resident instruction students may want or need to take a World Campus course for a variety of reasons. Students often want or need to take World Campus courses online over the summer when they are away from campus. In some programs, some required courses are only offered via World Campus in a given semester (even if they are sometimes offered via resident instruction at different times), and for a given student, that semester may be the most advantageous time to take the course. For programs with limited enrollment or infrequently offered elective courses that help students specialize their studies, taking courses via the World Campus, when they are offered, aids students in making academic progress and gaining skills and knowledge important to advancing their studies that may not be available to them if they were unable to enroll in a World Campus course. Previously, graduate assistants were at a particular disadvantage in these cases, as they were unable to register for World Campus courses if appointed to an assistantship (because they are required to be registered as resident instruction students to be appointed to an assistantship) and, during the summer, the Summer Tuition Assistance Program only paid the tuition for eligible resident instruction courses. The STAP program did not pay for World Campus courses.

Beginning in fall 2017, the University Budget Office and World Campus revamped the RI/CE reporting tool to properly calculate tuition income and route it appropriately when a resident instruction student takes a World Campus course. This change will facilitate graduate assistants and eligible graduate students applying for Summer Tuition Assistance Program taking World Campus courses when needed. This is consistent with current Registrar policy that students may enroll for applicable courses at any campus during summer semesters regardless of residency. There are still course controls and enrollment instructions in place based on the academic partner/college’s parameters for some World Campus courses.

In implementing this allowance, it is important to take steps to ensure resident instruction students are able to enroll in World Campus courses only when doing so will not jeopardize the ability for a World Campus student to register for the same class. (Notably, graduate students who are not graduate assistants are not prevented from enrolling in World Campus courses, so this allowance is specifically targeted to ensure the addition of graduate assistants, fellows and trainees, as well as graduate students who are eligible for Summer Tuition Assistance, do not overwhelm the system, and students enrolled in degree programs delivered via the World Campus have priority for enrollment in World Campus courses in fall and spring semesters.)

During fall and spring semesters, the student information system does not allow for dual campus enrollment and students from other campus locations must call the World Campus Registrar office to be manually enrolled. (Registration timetables and enrollment dates are set by the Office of the Registrar.) For the summer semester, because of reduced enrollments generally, dual campus registration is permitted and all students register concurrently, regardless of campus designation. However, World Campus representatives do not believe that allowing graduate assistants, trainees and fellows, as well as graduate students utilizing Summer Tuition Assistance to register for World Campus courses in the summer semester on the current registration timetable, will displace World Campus students. For individual courses during the summer semester for which high enrollment could be a concern, World Campus currently places course controls on these courses that would limit registration to certain programs or require a student to call the World Campus Registrar office to be enrolled manually. This method, though less than ideal for registrants, provides a mechanism for managing enrollment in courses for which World Campus students must be given first priority.

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 Definitions

World Campus: Penn State World Campus is the centralized online delivery unit of Penn State that works with academic units and colleges to deliver undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs online to learners at a distance.

Graduate Assistant: Graduate Assistants are graduate students enrolled in residence in a graduate degree program within the Graduate School and registered for the appropriate number of credits towards their Graduate School degree; students appointed on a graduate assistantship receive stipend, tuition remission and a subsidy towards the premium for the Penn State Student Health Insurance Plan during an 18 week appointment.

Graduate Fellow: Graduate fellows are degree-seeking graduate students in a graduate degree program within the Graduate School and registered full time. For the purpose of this policy, Graduate Fellow refers to students appointed on a graduate fellowship via Workday and receive stipend, graduate assistantship rate tuition/tuition remission and a subsidy towards the premium for the Penn State Student Health Insurance Plan for the duration of the appointment.

Graduate Trainee: Graduate trainees are degree-seeking graduate students in a graduate degree program within the Graduate School and registered full time. For the purposes of this policy, Graduate Trainee refers to students who are appointed via Workday on a graduate traineeship and receive stipend, graduate assistantship rate tuition/tuition remission and a subsidy towards the premium for the Penn State Student Health Insurance Plan for the duration of the appointment, funded by an institutional pre-doctoral training grant.

Summer Tuition Assistance Program/ Summer Tuition Assistance: The Summer Tuition Assistance Program (STAP) is designed to provide tuition assistance to graduate students enrolled in a degree program in the Graduate School who have been appointed through the University on graduate assistantships, fellowships, or traineeships for both the preceding fall and spring semesters, so that they can continue graduate studies towards their Graduate School degree during the summer. While receiving Summer Tuition Assistance, students are not appointed as graduate assistants or trainees; students may be appointed as fellows and be eligible for STAP if tuition is not covered by their fellowship. Summer Tuition Assistance is administered by the Graduate School in coordination with academic colleges and campuses.

Policy Statement

  1. All graduate assistants, fellows and trainees who would like to register for a World Campus course during the fall, spring or summer semesters may do so provided the equivalent course is not offered via resident instruction at the student’s resident campus in the same semester. Important Note: Only 3 credits of online courses per semester can be counted towards full time enrollment for international graduate students, per visa regulations.
  2. Graduate students who would like to register for a World Campus course over the summer and who are eligible to receive Summer Tuition Assistance via the Graduate School’s Summer Tuition Assistance Program may apply for Summer Tuition Assistance to cover course tuition and fees via the Summer Tuition Assistance Program site if the course is a required course for the student’s degree program and the equivalent course is not offered via resident instruction at a resident campus accessible to the student in the same semester. Approval for Summer Tuition Assistance is granted through the aforementioned website.

Process

All graduate students, including graduate assistants, may register for resident instruction and World Campus courses, when allowable by Registrar policy, using the student information system in the normal manner.

Graduate students eligible for Summer Tuition Assistance should apply in the normal manner using the Summer Tuition Assistance Program website, and may include World Campus courses in their application.

Procedure

For registration, refer to the Registrar’s website.

For Summer Tuition Assistance, refer to the Summer Tuition Assistance Program website.

Forms

Summer Tuition Assistance Program website for eligibility, policy, and application.

Revision History

Last revised: February 9, 2018

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