Student Care, Concern, and Advocacy

What is Care, Concern and Advocacy?

The Care, Concern and Advocacy program provides faculty, staff and students an opportunity to share concern about a student’s academic progress, wellness, safety or financial situation. The main purpose of the program is to proactively assist students of concern and intervene early in academic, financial, or health and safety situations.

Why is this important?

Given the tragic incidents occurring in schools and the recognition by the campus community for the need to reach out to students in need, it was apparent that a system was needed to assist students. The University has a responsibility to establish avenues to identify and report signs of high-risk students.

When should I reach out?

Please contact us if you or someone you know is struggling with any of the following:

  • academic distress
  • financial insecurity
  • housing/food insecurity
  • transportation difficulties
  • death of an immediate family member
  • family emergency/crisis
  • mental health concern
  • medical emergency and/or hospitalization
  • long-term illness
  • childcare
  • unexpected events or challenges

Please remember that anyone can make a referral, including parents and other students.

What are the goals?

Early identification of students who are at risk include but are not limited to one of the following areas:

  • Academic progress that is unresolved with faculty intervention; students not responding to faculty attempts related to class attendance, course performance, etc.
  • Financial need that is unexpected and prevents students from paying tuition, purchasing books, paying rent, acquiring food staples, or making vehicle payments or repairs; situations in which financial assistance would benefit students’ well-being.
  • Personal health or wellness; students who continue to exhibit symptoms of impaired health, even after appropriate referral to health provider.

Call 9-1-1 for emergencies related to imminent danger to self or others.

Student Emergency Fund

The Student Emergency Fund is designed to provide limited, non-tuition financial help to students facing an emergency situation, such as a family member’s job loss, illness, or death; a student’s own sudden illness; an automotive breakdown for a commuter student; or other unexpected need. The hope of the Student Emergency Fund is to prevent students from abandoning their dream of earning a Penn State degree in the face of difficult personal and financial circumstances due to no fault of their own. Awards do not need to be repaid.

Please note that submission is not a guarantee of available funds or that an award will be made.

An application for consideration can be obtained in the Office of Admissions and Student Aid, 102 Ross Administration Building.


Care, Concern and Advocacy forms and Student Emergency Fund forms will be maintained in a confidential nature and shared on a strictly “need to know” basis in order to refer the student to the correct campus resource or intervene as appropriate. FERPA allows for communication to be shared among “school officials” who have a legitimate educational interest. Under FERPA, there is clear exception for any risks to health or safety.

How will this work?

Anyone can make a referral for Care, Concern and Advocacy, including faculty, staff, parents and other students to identify concern about a student’s academic progress, wellness, or safety. The Care, Concern, and Advocacy coordinator will: (1) triage submissions for priority standing, (2) facilitate referrals to the appropriate departments and/or resources, (3) provide liaison and follow-up as required, and (4) document disposition for each submitted form and maintain the records related to program utilization.

Faculty and staff 

Faculty and staff are often the front-line individuals able to identify students in need of support before anyone else. Care, Concern and Advocacy is not meant to replace individual interventions by faculty and staff and should be used if other direct methods have been tried and failed.

Please use the referral form to make the team aware of a student who you suspect may be in need of academic, health, or social intervention. You can also utilize this referral form to report an incident that occurred during a classroom or office interaction.

If your concern is related to academic performance, please raise a flag via the Starfish system in addition to your referral to the ROAR team. 

Care, Concern and Advocacy is NOT an emergency response system. Submissions will be reviewed during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and is not meant to replace individual interventions by faculty and staff and should be used if other direct methods have been tried and failed.

Submit a Care, Concern, and Advocacy form

Immediate help

Crisis situations

For immediate assistance and/or behaviors are reflecting imminent risk of harm, contact 9-1-1.

Behavior Threat Management (BTMT)

For situations where a student is not an imminent threat to self or others but is exhibiting behaviors or expressing comments that have the potential to impact the safety of self or others, contact the Behavior Threat Management Team at 1-855-863-BTMT or fill out the Online Behavior Threat Management Team Referral form.

The Red Folder

The Red Folder Initiative helps faculty and staff assist students in distress and connects them to helpful resources.