Care and Concern

Support and Resources for Student Concerns

Your academic experience is of paramount importance. If during your education, you encounter situations or behaviors that are worrying, disruptive, or impeding your or other students' performance, you can reach out to the World Campus Care and Concern staff.

Examples of situations with which we can assist include academic distress, financial insecurity, housing or food insecurity, death of an immediate family member, family emergency/crisis, mental health concerns, medical emergency and/or hospitalization, natural disasters, and unexpected events or challenges.

If you are experiencing challenges that impact your emotional well-being, you can review the mental health services available to you as a Penn State World Campus student.

Academic Concerns

While you are a student, you may experience challenges related to academic concerns, like grade grievances, withdrawals, or instructor complaints. We are here to help you address these challenges.

Note that many of your questions about academic advising, withdrawal, grade deferral, and re-enrollment can be answered on the Penn State Student Affairs website. Additionally, you can learn about our Leave of Absence policy on the Penn State Registrar website.

If you are experiencing an academic concern, please contact our office via the Academic Concern form.

If your request pertains to a grade you received, please be aware that grades are under the purview of the course instructor. Review Penn State's grading policy for more information.

If you are unable to resolve a grade dispute with your instructor, you may be able to request grade mediation and adjudication. You will need to make this request to the associate dean or director of academic affairs of the college offering the course, no later than ten weeks following the posting of your final grade in LionPATH. If you’re not sure where to submit the grade mediation and adjudication form, you can submit the Academic Concern form.

Health and Wellness Concerns

If you encounter a health issue that disrupts your course work while you are a student, Penn State World Campus Student Affairs can assist you. You are encouraged to complete the Care and Concern form to reach out to us with any concerns or questions about how your situation may impact your status at the University. Our office can advise you on your individual needs and help you balance your personal health with your academic pursuits.  

Student Disability Resources

Our Student Disability Services team provides reasonable accommodations and services to Penn State World Campus students with permanent or temporary disabilities who are experiencing functional limitations.

Examples of current functional limitations include:

  • broken bones
  • concussions
  • surgeries
  • other injuries or procedures

To consider whether a situation you are experiencing involves a functional limitation, you may ask yourself, “Does the extenuating circumstance significantly impact my walking, my breathing, my hearing, or any other functions?”

Review our Disabilities and Accommodations information to learn more about eligibility, possible accommodations, and how to request accommodations.

Faculty Notification

In instances when you cannot notify your instructor of missed course work due to extenuating danger and distress circumstances, our staff can send a general notification to your instructors.

A Care and Concern notification to your instructors informs them that the University was notified that you are currently experiencing extenuating circumstances and are unable to contact your instructors. Our staff will ask you, when you are safe and able, to contact your instructors to make arrangements related to your course work. We are happy to serve as a liaison until it's reasonable for you to resume your studies.

This notification is a courtesy notification informing instructors that your circumstances may warrant valid time away from your courses. Any academic accommodations or arrangements to make up missed work must be agreed upon between the student and instructor.

For this notification to be sent, a student, staff member, or other stakeholder will need to initiate the process by completing the Care and Concern form.

If you foresee extenuating circumstances that may impact you, you should take the first step and reach out to your instructor to ask for consideration for extra time to complete course work before the situation begins. Some extenuating situations may include, but are not limited to, scheduled medical procedures requiring extended care, bereavement, jury duty, birth or adoption of a child, impeding dangerous weather conditions, and more.

Natural Disasters and Crimes of Violence

Natural disasters and crimes of violence may cause distress for students, their families, and their communities.  

If a natural disaster is expected in your location with forecasted conditions that may cause significant utility interruption, it is recommended that you contact your instructor before the event occurs.  

If an unexpected natural disaster or a crime of violence occurs, you should contact your instructor, when you are safe and able, to discuss your circumstances and seek guidance to complete your course work. The first and quickest step to requesting and resolving making up course work is to directly email your instructor and explain your situation. All requests for extra time to complete course work are under the sole purview of the instructor.  

If you have been impacted by a natural disaster or crime of violence, you can request assistance to connect to University resources by submitting our Care and Concern form