Should you return to school?

Adults return to school for two primary reasons: either professional development or self-enrichment. Maybe you've reached a point in your life where you think you need additional formal education. You're thinking about a career change, a promotion at work, or perhaps re-entry into the work force.

Penn State, The Lancaster Center can help you. We have a number of noncredit professional development certificate programs, undergraduate credit certificate programs, and graduate certificate programs. We offer the flexibility you require: you may take one course or work toward an entire certificate or degree. Few of our programs require sequential course study. Classes are offered throughout the year. If you can't take a course during a given semester, you can always pick it up the next time it is offered here or at another Penn State location.

How to get your employer to help sponsor your tuition

If you ask, you may be able to get your employer to pay for some or all of your course expenses.

Here's how:

  1. Put the request in writing.
  2. Show how the program goals match organizational or departmental goals.
  3. Point out how the program will help you in your job - or will prepare you for a position that might be open in the future.
  4. Attach a description of the program and highlight parts relevant to your work and to your organization.

You still might be turned down, but your superiors know that you are serious about your work. And they're sure to notice when your classroom learning is put to work on the job.

Counseling Services

All students are encouraged to consult with our counselor. Because of the variety of credit and noncredit professional development courses offered, counseling is recommended to help determine which courses or programs can best meet your needs. A professional counselor is prepared to provide educational and vocational information, to explain opportunities and procedures for part-time study, and to assist with program planning. All students, especially new students, are urged to take advantage of these services, preferably prior to registration. If you are:

  • Undecided about how college courses could be of benefit to you
  • Thinking about returning to school but are worried about going back to the classroom, studying for exams, and writing term papers
  • Need help in deciding which course(s) to take
  • Have taken college courses in the past and wonder if they will be accepted toward a degree
  • Just want to talk to someone about your educational or career questions, concerns, problems, and successes

...we can help. Please feel free to call our counselor to ask questions or to make an appointment. To schedule an appointment, call 717-299-7667 or 800-828-6233.

Placement Testing

Placement tests are designed to help you determine the appropriate level of introductory courses to take in English, math, and chemistry. Most students have already taken these tests on-line prior to starting classes. If you haven't taken the placement tests, you may take them on-line, by contacting the Advising and Career Center (ACC) (717-771-4053). The ACC will give you access to the on-line placement testing system. You can then take the tests at any computer of your choice - at home, school, library - at any time. The ACC will give you more details on appropriate internet browser and computer requirements. After you've completed the placement tests, you'll need an appointment with an adviser in the ACC to go over the results.

If you aren't sure whether you need to take the placement tests, call the ACC to discuss your situaatioin with an adviser.


Graduates of accredited high schools and students with High School Equivalency Diplomas (GED) may register for courses, provided course prerequisites are met.

Reenrollment with Academic Renewal

A student desiring reenrollment to the University after an interruption in enrollment of no fewer than four calendar years may be eligible for "academic renewal". If approved, the new cumulative grade-point average will start when the student reenrolls in the University. The prior academic record will remain on the transcript, and an appropriate notation of academic renewal will be entered. Courses passed with a grade of "C" or better during earlier registration and approved by the appropriate dean of the college may be used to fulfill graduation requirements. Procedures for requesting reenrollment with academic renewal can be obtained from our advisor.


Students may choose to audit a course - no tests, grades, credits, CEU's or certificate points(where applicable). The audit fee is the same as the course tuition.

Dropping a Course

The Lancaster Center must be notified in writing to officially drop a student from a class. Information can be given by phone, but must be confirmed in writing. See tuition adjustment policy regarding amount of refund.

Grade Requests (Credit Students)

Penn State had added a new service called Grades Update. Students may obtain their grades by calling (800) 876-0354 or checking online at This Web site provides students with several options to obtain grades. More detailed information will be available the first night of class or upon registration.


To obtain an official transcript, the student must make a request in writing to: The Pennsylvania State University, Transcript Department, 112 Shields Building, University Park, PA 16802-1271. There is a $6 fee for each official transcript. Written requests should include the following information: complete legal name, all prior names, Student ID #, dates of attendance, degree levels of transcripts requested (graduate, undergraduate, or medical), complete name and address of where the transcript should be sent, student's return address and daytime telephone number, a check or money order for $6 for each official transcript requested, and the student's signature.

Students can also request official transcripts via the World Wide Web. This application is available daily from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. (EST) @

For additional information, contact the Registrar's Office, 814-865-6357.

Advising Transcripts - free to currently enrolled students for academic planning. They can be obtained through eLion or at the Registrar's Office in the Main Classroom Building.

Enrollment Verification - Available to currently enrolled students for academic planning. They can be obtained through eLion, by completing a Request for Enrollment Verification form at the Registrar's Office in the Main Classroom Building or online at .

Limited Enrollment and Cancellation

A maximum class size is established for most courses. The University reserves the right to cancel or postpone any class because of insufficient enrollment or for other unforeseen circumstances. If a class is canceled or over-subscribed, registrants will be notified. Students in classes cancelled by The Lancaster Center will have the option of registering for a different class (if applicable) or receiving a refund. Please provide a daytime telephone number on your registration form for this purpose.

Credit Courses

If you are a graduate of an accredited high school or hold a high school equivalency diploma (GED), you may register for undergraduate courses as a nondegree student or you may apply for admission to a degree program. If you take courses as a nondegree student and later seek admission to a degree program at Penn State, the credits you earned as a nondegree student may be applied, where appropriate, toward a baccalaureate or associate degree. Enrollment in a class does not, by itself, imply admission to the University. For further information about application and admission procedures, contact The Lancaster Center's adult counselor.

Noncredit Courses

Noncredit courses offered through Penn State Continuing Education, include professional development seminars and workshops, conferences, certificate programs, and short courses. These are courses that do not carry college credit. They are often part of a certificate program or designed to meet the needs of specific skill development.

Course Location and Schedule Changes

Most Penn State courses are offered at Penn State's Lancaster Center, located in the Greenfield Corporate Center. Because of the growth of enrollments and course offerings, some courses may be assigned another location. The University reserves the right to change class times or instructors due to unforeseen circumstances. Registered students will be notified of any change of this nature.

Certificate Request Forms

Students taking classes toward a credit or non-credit certificate program must submit a request for certificate when they have completed their last course. The University will review the student's transcript to confirm that all required courses have been taken, then issue a certificate after completion of the last course. An average grade of "C" or better must be maintained for completion of the certificate. Grades are given in all non-credit professional development courses unless otherwise noted.

Employer Billing

The University can bill an employer only if written authorization from the employer is presented at registration. The completed registration and authorization letter may be mailed or faxed to 717-396-7181.

Tax Deductibility

Expenses involved in program participation may be deductible for federal income tax purposes. Consult with your tax adviser.

Financial Aid

Financial Aid may be available to students taking as few as three credits. Students interested in obtaining information about financial aid should contact the Office of Student Affairs at Penn State York 717-771-4045. Only students admitted as degree or provisional will be eligible for financial aid.

Tuition and Payment

Total tuition is due at registration and should be paid by check, money order, VISA, or MasterCard. Procedures do not allow for cash payments. Textbooks (if required) are additional and must be purchased separately. Make check payable to Penn State.

Tuition Adjustment Policy

1. Credit Courses
Adjustment of tuition is based upon the date of the last class attended provided an official notification is made to the Registrar's Office within one calendar month of that date. Otherwise the adjustment will be based on the date the official notification is made to the Registrar. Adjustment of tuition for withdrawal from the University will be made only if the student notifies The Lancaster Center at 717-299-7667 or 800-828-6233. All withdrawals must be confirmed in writing. Students who meet these conditions are entitled to receive adjustments of charges for tuition for the semester based on the percentage of the course that has elapsed before the withdrawal as follows:

Duration of Classes Tuition Adjustment Percentage
1 Week or less ....................................0

2-3 Weeks .........................................1st week 50%
2nd week 0

4-5 weeks ......................................... 1st week 70%
2nd week 40%
3rd week 0

6 weeks ............................................ 1st week 70%
2nd week 40%
3rd week 20%
4th week 0

7-10 weeks .........................................1st week 80%
2nd week 60%
3rd week 40%
4th week 20%
5th week 0

11 weeks or more .................................80% 1st week and
a decrease of 10%
thereafter up to and
including the 8th
consecutive calendar

2. Noncredit Courses
Refunds can be arranged upon official notification to The Lancaster Center 24 hours prior to the start of class. There are no partial refunds for noncredit courses. Students must contact The Lancaster Center at (717) 299-7667 or (800) 828-6233 to officially withdraw from a noncredit course or seminar. Withdrawals must be confirmed in writing.

Library Resources and Services

The primary library service available to students of Penn State, The Lancaster Center is the ability to borrow virtually any book from the combined collections of all the Penn State Libraries, currently numbering approximately 4 million titles. Access to these materials through LIAS (Library Information Access System), the computerized catalog of the Penn State Libraries, is located at Penn State's Lancaster Center in the computer lab. Students are also able to obtain, at no cost, photocopies or articles from any journal within the Penn State libraries. A CD-based index of articles contained in the past five years of over 400 college-level journals is available to locate materials.


The Lancaster Center telephone number is 717-299-7667 or 800-828-6233. If a family member needs to reach you during class time, they will need to know the name of the course and/or the instructor's name so you can be quickly located.

Emergency Class Cancellation

In time of snow, severe storm, or other emergencies, official word on class cancellation will be broadcast on the following:

  • WLAN FM 97
  • WARM FM 103.3
  • WROZ FM101.1
  • WRVV FM 97.3
  • WLAN AM 1390
  • WHP AM 580
  • WHP AM 1230
  • WLPA AM 1490
  • WSBA AM 910
  • WGAL TV 8
  • Internet:

Smoking Policy

Penn State has adopted a no smoking policy in all offices, classrooms, and conference facilities.

Textbook Sales and Returns

Textbooks may be purchased at the Penn State York Bookstore or through the mail with a bookmailer. Texts are then sent to your home or work address via UPS. This process takes approximately 3-4 days. There is a service charge to have books shipped to your home or work address.

Textbooks from dropped or canceled courses must be returned within 14 calendar days from the start of the semester. For a full refund, the textbook must be unmarked and be accompanied by a receipt. Cash refunds can only be processed at the Penn State York Campus Bookstore. (The University is not responsible for problems associated with textbooks purchased outside the Penn State Bookstore system).

Veterans Under G.I. Bill

Do you know what your Veterans Administration (VA) benefits are? Through the state, the VA, or your guard unit, you could be eligible for money to help you with your education. Veterans who plan to use G.I. Bill benefits for the first time need to obtain application forms prior to registration. Veterans should be prepared to pay the tuition at the time of registration because reimbursements are made to the individual not the University. To receive physical education and health education credits, veterans must complete the request form in the Admissions Office and include a copy of their DD 214 to have their credits evaluated. For more information, contact the Student Affairs Office at Penn State York 717-771-4045. Visit Student Affairs on the Penn State York Campus website at for more detailed information compiled by Veterans.

Workforce Education and Development for Teachers

Some courses in the program of studies for Workforce Education and Development for Teachers leading to the Vocational Instructional II Certificate are offered and held at The Lancaster Center. Please call at 717-299-7667 or 800-828-6233 for more information.

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