Penn State University Policy on Pre-Admission, Re-Enrollment and Continuing Enrollment Review
The Pennsylvania State University is an institution of higher learning and a community of persons with a common purpose. To protect the educational process and to provide for the safety of members of the University community and the institution’s property, the University has the responsibility to set and maintain standards of conduct for members of that community and for those seeking admission into that community. Therefore, a review is required when known facts suggest that the prior behavior of an applicant, candidate for re-enrollment, or current student may indicate that the applicant may endanger the health and safety of University community members; jeopardize property of the University, its members, and/or visitors; and/or adversely affect the educational mission of the University.
If the University learns that a current student or applicant for admission* or re-enrollment has been involved in prior misconduct, has been incarcerated, or has engaged in illegal activities, the University reserves the right to determine whether that person may be a student at the University. The current student or applicant is subject to review procedures, outlined below, administered by the Office of Student Conduct, which will work closely with other offices, including the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, Office of the University Registrar, Graduate School, University Health Services, or Center for Counseling and Psychological Services, as appropriate.
It is important to note that the presence of prior disciplinary or criminal history DOES NOT automatically preclude the applicant from admission. In fact, the vast majority of pre-admission and re-enrollment reviews of persons who indicate a criminal or disciplinary history are approved for admission consideration. In rare circumstances, however, the review may result in the student being denied admission, or, if the review is of a current student, the University may prevent the student from enrolling in a subsequent semester.
*These review procedures apply to nondegree-seeking, degree-seeking, and provisional admission; as well as changes from nondegree-seeking/provisional to degree-seeking status.
- Applicants will not be considered for admission or re-enrollment in residential instruction while incarcerated in any federal, state, county, or city prison or jail, including youth detention centers.
- Incarcerated individuals enrolled in non-residential University programs or courses are subject to review procedures prior to consideration for a change from non-residential to residential instruction.
- Individuals on parole, probation, or any type of intermediate punishment or house arrest program may be subject to review procedures.
- Individuals with disciplinary history resulting in separation from a previous school may be subject to review procedures.
- Individuals with known emotional and/or psychological problems who have violated the law, or engaged in misconduct related to the policies of another university or secondary school that was disruptive or threatening to the functioning and well-being of self or others, are subject to review procedures.
- Individuals who provide inaccurate information throughout the review process, including any misleading or false responses to the criminal, disciplinary, and academic integrity questions contained in the University’s admission application or re-enrollment form, may be subject to immediate revocation of admission and/or enrollment.
- To be considered for admission, re-enrollment, or continued enrollment, consistent with the above rationale and guidelines, the following review procedures may be required. Additional information may be required based on the nature of the misconduct and/or specific facts of an applicant’s or student's case.
- Letter of explanation clarifying the nature of the offense(s) and consequences experienced (including prior school or court resolution); any counseling, diversionary, or other programs completed (including documentation or independent verification); current status (e.g., incarcerated, supervised, eligibility to return to prior institution); and the applicant's or student's plan for future success.
- Release of information from parole or probation supervisors, prison officials, treatment specialists (e.g., counselor, psychiatrist), case workers, secondary or post-secondary school administrators, and/or other professionals/references may be requested when the information has a direct bearing on the applicant’s or current student’s behavior and suitability for enrollment at the University.
- Depending on the nature of the facts with respect to the applicant or student described in Guideline #5, special requirements may be stipulated, such as, but not limited to, a personal review; a signed release with any treating psychologist, counselor, or psychiatrist; a psychiatric or psychological evaluation by University counseling staff; or a comprehensive diagnostic/treatment report from a duly recognized mental health practitioner of the University’s choice.
- After documentary and testimonial materials have been collected, the Senior Director of the Office of Student Conduct will render a final decision, notifying the applicant or student as well as appropriate University offices and departments (e.g., Undergraduate or Graduate Admissions, University Registrar). Depending on the nature of the misconduct or relevant concern, the decision may be made in consultation with the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services, University Health Services, or another health care provider chosen by University staff. If the decision is to approve the applicant for enrollment consideration, there may be additional requirements or expectations upon enrollment.
All circumstances and correspondence relative to the above reviews shall be directed to the Senior Director of the Office of Student Conduct, 120 Boucke Building, University Park, PA 16802.