About a dozen credit unions that had uninsured deposits at the failed Penn Square National Bank have been placed on a special problem list by federal regulators and four or five of them may need some form of assistance to stay solvent, sources said.

The National Credit Union Administration initially reported that there were 132 federally chartered credit unions with $104 million in deposits not covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. But the administration's executive director testified in July that reserves at those credit unions were sufficient to cover the losses, although shareholders in some might experience a reduction in dividends as the credit unions tried to make up for the Penn Square losses.

Now sources said that, in examining the records of Penn Square, regulators have found eight more credit unions with deposits in excess of the $100,000 federal insurance limit, but found that one credit union listed on Penn Square's books as being a depositor was not on July 5, the day the Comptroller of the Currency closed down the bank.

About 20 state-chartered credit unions had uninsured deposits at Penn Square as well.

A spokesman for the National Credit Union Administration said that the agency had not revised either its list of federally chartered credit unions with uninsured deposits in the Oklahoma City Bank or its assessment that the credit unions have sufficient reserves to cover their deposit losses.

But sources close to the regulatory agency said that credit union administration now anticipates that "four or five" of the credit union depositors are "likely to need some form of assistance" -- probably either special loans or even mergers with healthier credit unions.

The names of the additional eight credit unions with uninsured Penn Square deposits were unavailable, although it is known that one of them is the credit union at the Department of Commerce. Last month, the credit union told its members that it had $300,000 on deposit at Penn Square, of which $200,000 was not insured. But the credit union said that it has more than $1.3 million in reserves to absorb the expected loss of $40,000.

Uninsured depositors become general creditors of the bank and are issued special receipts for their deposits in excess of $100,000. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, which took over the banks assets and liabilities, said that those certificates could be expected to have a value of 80 cents on the dollar if they were used for collateral on a loan from the Federal Reserve Board.

All told,there were about $250 million in uninsured deposits at Penn Square when it failed. The bank had assets of about $450 million, although a large number of those assets are problem loans that may or may not be collected. There will be a large number of creditors -- including the deposit insurance corporation for the several hundred million of insured deposits on which the agency will pay. Other banks, like Chase Manhattan and Continental Illinois, that bought bad loans from Penn Square are expected to sue the bank to try to recoup some of the losses. Panel Approves Tuition Tax Credits By Mary Thornton Washington Post Staff Writer

A divided Senate Finance Committee yesterday approved a tuition tax credit bill after adding strong anti-discrimination provisions that liberals had insisted upon but some groups seeking the credits oppose.

The committee action was a victory for President Reagan, who had pressed for it. But the bill, approved 11 to 7, still seems unlikely to be enacted; House and Senate leaders have both said they doubt it can pass this year.

Finance Chairman Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) acknowledged as much. Asked about prospects, he said after the committee session, "I'm just following the urging of the president. He hasn't been here long enough to know that Congress can't do things."

The anti-bias language, which is also stronger than the administration first wanted, would give the Internal Revenue Service as well as the Justice Department an enforcement role.

Fundamentalist Christian and some other groups supporting tuition tax credits strongly oppose giving the IRS such powers. The administration also had wanted enforcement solely by the Justice Department.

The committee voted Wednesday for a joint enforcement provision put forward by Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.).

But Dole said he would not send the bill to the floor with the Bradley amendment because it would be "doomed."

Dole then suggested a compromise, which the administration and Bradley accepted yesterday. Bradley withdrew his amendment, but it was agreed the tuition tax credit program would not take effect until it is also made clear, in a related issue, that the internal revenue code forbids tax-exempt status for any private school that practices racial or other illegal discrimination.

This could be done by the Supreme Court in a case before it or, failing that, by Congress.

The tax-exempt issue arose when the administration last January reversed an established IRS policy of denying such status to schools that discriminate racially. The president said the IRS lacked the authority to take such actions.

The administration has since half-reversed itself and introduced legislation to give the IRS such power. Meanwhile, the issue has also gone to the Supreme Court, where arguments are scheduled for October.

Under the provisions of yesterday's bill, parents who send their children to private elementary and secondary schools could claim half the tuition as a tax credit beginning in the second half of 1983, up to a maximum credit of $100, if the anti-discrimination language is in place by then. The maximum credit would rise to $300 by 1985. Under Reagan's original proposal, it would have risen to $500.

The Reagan proposal would have phased out the credit for families with incomes between $50,000 and $75,000 a year. But the committee voted yesterday to phase out benefits for families with a gross adjusted income between $40,000 and $50,000. Families with higher incomes would not be eligible.

Sen. John H. Chafee (R-R.I.) proposed denying benefits to parents whose children attend schools that discriminate against the handicapped. The administration opposed the change, and the amendment was watered down to provide that private schools involved in the tax credit program cannot discriminate against the handicapped in admissions, but they would not be required to provide special facilities or teachers for handicapped children.

The administration also opposed efforts by Sen. Harry F. Byrd Jr. (Ind.-Va.) to attach an amendment to deny benefits to students in coed private schools that practice sex discrimination. His proposal would parallel law now in effect for schools that receive federal money, but he was defeated.