Care and Concern

Support and Resources for Student Concerns

Your academic experience is of paramount importance. If during your education, you encounter behaviors that are worrying, disruptive, or impeding your or other students' performance, you can reach out to the World Campus Care and Concern staff. Our staff can help students who are feeling challenged by something other than a mental health concern, which can be addressed by our Mental Health Case Manager.

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.

Academic Concern 

You may experience challenges related to academic areas, like grade grievances, withdrawals, instructor complaints, and more while you are a student. We are here to help you address these challenges. Many of your questions about academic advising, withdrawal, grade deferral, leave of absence and re-enrollment can be answered on the Penn State Student Affairs website.

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

Complete 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. 

Health and Wellness Concerns 

If you encounter a health issue that disrupts your coursework while you are a student, Penn State World Campus Student Affairs can assist you. Students are encouraged to reach out to us about any concerns or questions they have about how their situation may impact their University status. Our office can help advise you on your individual needs and help you balance your personal health with your academic pursuits. 

Student Disability Resources

Student Disability Resources provides reasonable accommodations and services to Penn State World Campus students with permanent or temporary disabilities experiencing functional limitations. Examples of current functional limitations are broken bones, concussions, surgeries, etc. You may ask yourself, “Does the extenuating circumstance significantly impact my walking, my breathing, my hearing, etc.?” Students who need to request reasonable accommodations should contact Student Disability Resources to schedule an intake appointment with a disability specialist. 

Faculty Notification

In instances when you cannot notify your instructor of missed coursework due to extenuating danger & distress circumstances, our Conduct, Care, and Concern staff can send a general notification to the student's instructors. This notification informs them that the university was notified the student is currently impacted by an extenuating circumstance and is unable to send notification to the instructor.  Our staff will ask the student when they are safe and able to make contact with their instructor(s) as soon as possible to make arrangements related to their course work. We are happy to serve as a liaison until it's reasonable for you to resume your studies.

This notification is sent as a courtesy notification, letting instructors know that the student's circumstances are such that it may warrant valid time away from the course. 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 contact our Conduct, Care and Concern staff to initiate the process.

If students foresee being impacted by extenuating circumstances, the student should take the first step and reach out to their instructor to ask for consideration of extra time to complete course work, before the situation has arrived.  Some of these 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. 

Financial Concerns 

Paying for your education and managing your personal financial concerns can cause students stress and concern. If you have a question about your financial aid (e.g. scholarships, loans, grants), you are encouraged to contact the Financial Aid office first. Similarly, if you have a question related to payments and outstanding balances, you are encouraged to contact the Bursar first. In rare, extenuating circumstances, Penn State World Campus Care and Concern may be able to help you identify assistance. You can contact this team via our Care and Concern form. 

Complete the Care & Concern form

Natural Disaster & Crimes of Violence 

Students who learn online may be significantly impacted by natural disasters or crimes of violence in the community where they live. These unfortunate and often tragic events can cause distress for students, their family, and their community. 

In the event of a natural disaster where forecasted conditions may cause significant utility interruption for a student, it is recommended for them to reach out to their instructor, letting them know before the weather event, that they may be affected.   

Many situations that affect students may be unforeseeable. If an unexpected natural disaster or a crime of violence occurs, students should make contact with their instructor, when they are safe and able, to discuss their circumstances and seek guidance for completing their course work.  The first and quickest step to requesting and resolving making up course work is for a student to directly email their instructor and discuss their situation. All requests for extra time from students to complete course work are under the sole purview of the instructor. 

Students who have been impacted by a natural disaster or crime of violence can request assistance getting connected to University resources via our Care and Concern form.  

Complete the Care & Concern form