Frequently Asked Questions


How do I check my account/refund online? 

Visit using your CWID and password.


Where do I go to add or drop a class?

Students can drop courses online through the sixth day of a normal academic term. 

Students cannot withdraw from courses online after the add/drop period ends.  Also, students cannot drop their last class via the web.  This function must be completed for undergraduates through the scheduling center in Noss Hall, Room 210  724-938-1608 and for graduate students through the School of Graduate Studies and Research in Eberly Hall, Room 202. Global Online students should contact Global Online at 724-938-5958.

I dropped a course and added another course. Why did my charges increase?

For undergraduate students, the dropped course was not within the time period for an adjustment to the tuition charges if attempted hours are less than 12.  Students are charged based on the number of credits attempted.  The academic support fee is a per credit charge, so the fee will be adjusted based on the number of credits attempted.


Why haven't I received a bill?

A paper bill is mailed ONLY ONCE per semester to the student's PERMANENT address approximately two weeks prior to the first payment due date. If an address correction is required, complete the "change of address" form and send it to Academic Records along with a copy of your updated driver's license. All other bills during a term are electronic bills, and notifications are sent to the student's PennWest California e-mail address.

Where will my tuition bill be mailed?

Bills are mailed to the permanent billing address you provide at the time of registration.

My first bill listed a Federal Stafford Loan as estimated financial aid, but my loan has not been receipted to my tuition account. What happened?

All first-time PennWest California loan borrowers must complete online loan entrance counseling. You must also complete your Direct Stafford Loan Master Promissory Note using your federal personal identification number.  Also, check for missing documentation on the VIP "financial aid" tab (especially if chosen for verification).

My bill listed grants and scholarships as estimated financial aid, but these are not applied to my tuition account. What happened?

Check your financial aid account online for missing or incomplete documentation. You may also contact the Financial Aid Office at 724-938-4415. If outside scholarship payment has not been received, check with the issuing agency.

I am receiving a scholarship but it is not listed on my billing statement. Why?

Documentation from the outside scholarship agency must be supplied to the Student Accounts office (formerly the Bursar's Office) in order to defer the scholarship amount until the payment is received.


What is a Campus-wide ID Number (CWID)?

The Campus-wide ID Number (CWID) is printed on all student billings and is required by the Student Accounts Office (formerly the Bursar's Office) when inquiries are made about the student's account. When students log onto with their Social Security number, the CWID number will be displayed immediately.

What is FERPA?

FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) clearly defines a student's right to privacy and confidentiality, strictly limiting the disclosure of personally identifiable information from records kept by schools. Billing information can only be released to the student unless a student has given written consent to disclose this information to a third party. Students may enroll parents or other third party guests through the Banner Self-Service Proxy Access available through the VIP Portal.  This requires a passphrase which must be used in conjunction with the CWID when the third party or student requests information via the telephone.

Can you give me a letter for insurance purposes stating that I am a full-time student? Or, I need a copy of my transcripts.

All students should contact the Academic Records Office this information.

How can I change my address?

Undergraduate requests to change a permanent address must be made in writing to the Academic Records Office. Permanent addresses for graduate students can be changed by contacting the Graduate School.

How can I find out about work-study jobs?

Contact the Financial Aid office at 724-938-4415, or click here for a list of current work-study positions.


Why can't I register for classes or see my grades? What is a hold? [14]

A hold, or seal, is placed on a student account by a department if his/her account is not in compliance with University policies. For example, a hold from the Student Accounts Office (formerly the Bursar's Office) reflects tuition payment problems; a Parking Office hold reflects unpaid parking tickets or public safety issues; an Advising Office hold reflects registration issues; a Library hold reflects unpaid library fines, etc.

Students are unable to see their grades or register for classes until the issue is resolved with the office that put the hold on the account.


Can I set up a payment plan?

Yes, the University offers four different payment plans for the Fall and Spring terms.

The five-payment plan consists of five payments, each 20% of the total due, less financial aid that you have been awarded, plus a $30 fee per semester due with the first payment. Available until the day prior to the first due date of the term.

The four-payment plan consists of four payments, each 25% of the total due, less financial aid that you have been awarded, plus a $30 fee per semester due with the first payment. Available on the first due date and until the day prior to the second due date of the term.

The three-payment plan consists of four payments, each 25% of the total due, less financial aid that you have been awarded, plus a $30 fee per semester due with the first payment. Available on the second due date and until the day prior to the third due date of the term.

The two-payment plan consists of two payments of 50% each of the total due, less financial aid that you have been awarded, plus a $30 fee per semester due with the first payment. Available on the third due date and prior to the fourth due date of the term.

Enrollment in all payment plans is done via the VIP portal billing tab for a limited time at the beginning of the term. Reducing or cancelling any awarded financial aid must be completed prior to enrolling in a payment plan; otherwise, your enrollment will be blocked or calculated inaccurately.

What happens if I miss a payment?

If you miss two payments or are late paying the scheduled payments, the payment plan becomes void and the account balance becomes due immediately. Late fees of $50 per month will be charged, and there is a possibility that you will need payment method prior approval before registering for future terms.

The University reserves the right to institute additional penalties where appropriate if payments are not made according to the University payment policy.

How do I know the amount to pay if my financial aid is incomplete? 

Payments should be made according to the amount due. If no financial aid is available to reduce the total amount due, calculate the payment amount based on the total amount of the bill.

If I never attended a class, am I responsible for paying for that class?

Yes. You must officially withdraw from a course during the drop period listed in the refund section for any tuition adjustment.

When is my financial aid credited to my tuition account?

The initial crediting of financial aid grants and loans is after the add/drop period for the fall and spring terms, as noted in the Academic Calendar. Grants, loans and scholarships are credited as received during the rest of each semester.


When is my refund coming?

Beginning Summer of 2018, the University requires direct deposits of refunds. This allows the student's refund to be deposited directly into their bank checking or savings account electronically. Students should monitor their accounts. When the account shows "refund," allow  3-5 days for the ACH direct deposit refund (depending upon the banking institution involved). No refund information can be given over the telephone and no refund check can be picked up in person. To set-up direct deposit, visit VIP and click the billing tab, then direct deposit. You can then enter the routing number and bank account number.


If I withdraw from a class, am I responsible for paying for a course I withdraw from?

Yes. Students who reduce their credit hour load after the end of the drop period are not eligible for a refund of tuition charges. The drop period is six days into a normal academic term or less than 8.5% of the term.

Adjustments for complete withdrawal from the University are made for a limited period.  For more details, refer to our Refund Policy.

Full-time students who are concurrently enrolled in both the normal academic (15-week classes) and late-start or short session classes will be treated as normal academic session students for the purposes of this policy. If the student drops a late-starting course prior to the beginning of the course, refund for the course will be provided in accordance with this policy.

Refunds are made to the amount of the charge, not the amount that has been paid to date. For exact dates, or for late start/short session adjustment amounts, contact the  Office of Student Accounts.

Keep in mind you are charged based on the number of credits attempted. Any total number of credits attempted within the 12-18 credit range for an undergrad student is a flat charge.

If I withdraw from all of my classes, what portion of my charges am I responsible for paying?

Adjustment to both tuition and fees - with the exception of the technology fee - follows the same refund schedule as listed above.

Financial aid awards must go through a Title IV review process to determine how much, if any, financial aid must be returned or repaid.

What is the difference between academic, financial and financial aid penalties for withdrawing from a course?

Academic penalty involves the grade assigned to the student's transcript. Financial penalty involves the tuition and fee charge adjustments. Financial aid penalty involves Title IV adjustments to aid awarded.