Parent & Family Newsletter
Fall 2019, Issue 1


Penn College Victorian House

For many prospective students, fall is the prime time to visit college campuses. We have plenty of opportunities to do exactly that! 

Our Exploration Days are perfect for those who have one or two majors of interest in mind. During these visits, guests can tour up to two academic areas in the morning, then choose their activities from options: campus and housing tours, Financial Aid information, and learning about student life. 

Open House is scheduled for Sunday, October 27. Our entire campus is open on this day, so visit as many labs, activities, and offices as you can. 

Find all of our fall visit dates and register to attend. Share these visit opportunities with your friends, neighbors, and coworkers!

Reminder of upcoming deadlines:
Spring semester recommended application deadline 
Spring semester final deadline for International Applicants 

Financial Aid

"Penn College" Hedge
2020-21 FAFSA Season is Here

Cool weather is here and so is the next FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)! All students who will take classes during Summer 2020, Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 Semester should complete the 2020-21 FAFSA, which is available as of October 1. Most students born during or after 1997 will also need their parent(s) to provide information and to sign their FAFSA. How do students and parents sign a FAFSA? By using their individual FSA ID .

You and your student will provide financial and tax information for calendar year 2018 on your student’s 2020-21 FAFSA. Since virtually all taxpayers previously finalized their 2018 tax returns, there is no need for delay. Talk to your student and make it a mutual goal to complete and submit the 2020-21 FAFSA before the end of 2019. That way your student will easily make Penn College’s March 1 FAFSA Priority Submission Deadline. 

Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) on the FAFSA. As many of you know, the DRT allows a student or parent taxpayer to transfer key tax and financial data from IRS records directly to the FAFSA. For security and confidentiality reasons, IRS data transferred from IRS records is not visible to students and parents on FAFSAs. 

Over the years, Financial Aid staff at Penn College and other colleges nationwide have observed the high degree of reliability due to the DRT and continue to strongly recommend its use by students and parents. The DRT process saves you and your student time and greatly increases accuracy on FAFSAs. It also reduces the odds of a FAFSA selected for Federal Verification by the U.S. Department of Education and expedites the verification process for those FAFSAs that are selected.

The Financial Aid Office will start reviewing 2020-21 FAFSAs in mid-November. At that time, here is how students can view their FAFSA status:
•    Returning students: via the Financial Information section of SIS
•    Incoming students accepted to Penn College: via the applicant dashboard
•    Incoming students who already confirmed their intent to enroll and satisfied their tuition deposit: via the Financial Information section of SIS
While preparing for or completing a FAFSA, if you or your student are unsure about any FAFSA questions, do not hesitate to contact the Financial Aid Office

Note that students starting at Penn College in our Spring 2020 Semester need to submit their 2019-20 FAFSA as soon as possible. Like everyone else, these students should also complete their 2020-21 FAFSA this autumn to get ready for their second academic year.

Free FAFSA Completion Sessions

The Financial Aid Office is offering FAFSA Completion Sessions to help answer questions and provide guidance while students and families complete their FAFSAs. We have two free sessions planned, both in Room 1049 of the Student & Administrative Services Center (SASC) on our main campus:

  • Saturday, November 9, 2019, noon-2:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, January 28, 2020, 4:30-7 p.m. 

To register or for more information, contact the Financial Aid Office. In advance of each session, registrants will receive information about what documents to bring.

In Pennsylvania, PHEAA coordinates a list of FAFSA Completion ‘Help Events’ across the state, available at this PHEAA site . Penn College students and families who need assistance completing their FAFSAs may attend any of these events. Many other states offer similar help sessions.

Greetings from the Director of Financial Aid
David R. Empet

Hello parents! I am the newest member of the Financial Aid team and have already had the pleasure of talking financial aid with a number of students and parents. 

I have worked in the state systems of higher education in both New York and Pennsylvania which provided me with a great foundation when working with such a diverse student body that we have at Penn College. Being a part of Penn College provides me the opportunity and responsibility to play a role of the growth and the success of your student. 

My staff and I are commited to helping students and families learn all they can about the financial aid process, and to maximize students’ funding which is crucial to help many students reach their educational and career goals. Financial aid can be difficult, it can be overwhelming, and it is our intention to make the financial aid journey as stress-free as possible. 

Each financial aid situation is unique and we strive to ensure every type of financial aid is explored. We work tirelessly to ensure all students have the best opportunity to explore their educational endeavors regardless of their financial situation. We are here to help and serve!

I look forward to meeting many of you and your students in the coming months, and I encourage you to always feel free to contact the Financial Aid Office anytime with your questions. 

All the best,
David R. Empet

Dining Services

CC Commons
Helping Your Student Navigate Late Night Dining

With evening classes, late night study sessions, and campus events, students often find themselves running from one place to another and grabbing a candy bar or soda to curb their hunger. While these might provide a quick burst of energy, they will not sustain all night. To help your student get the fuel they need, suggest one of these alternatives: 


GET is a free mobile app (and online ordering service) that allows students to pre-order food from select locations using their dining plan. Orders can be place 20 minutes to 5 days in advance. Visit the App Store or Google Play to download the app FREE. Menus are also available online at

  • CC Commons – Monday – Thursday, open until 9:30 p.m. (Campus Center)
    • Made-to-order signature sandwiches, entrees, and salads. 
  • Late Nite at Capitol Eatery – Sunday – Thursday, 8:30 – 10 p.m. (Dauphin Hall)
    • Students can order deli sandwiches, salads and quesadillas, along with some appetizers to go.

Fresh Grab-n-Go sandwiches and salads, hot dogs, nachos and cheese, homemade soups, frozen dinners, as well as staples such as bread, cheese, deli meats, and milk. A late-night study session wouldn’t be complete without Penn State Creamery Ice Cream, available in both locations. 

  • Wildcat Express – Sunday – Thursday, open until 10 p.m. / Friday & Saturday, open until 7:30 p.m. (Campus Center) 
  • Fuel – Sunday – Thursday, open until 11 p.m. / Friday & Saturday, open until 8 p.m. (Dauphin Hall)


The Keystone Dining Room provides the perfect place for a large study group to meet and eat. With lots of table space to spread out, students can work on a project and grab a bite to eat from Penn Central.

  • Penn Central - Monday – Thursday, open until 8 p.m. (LEC Building)
    • pizza (slices and whole), boneless wings, grab-n-go sandwiches and salads, and a selection of fountain and bottled beverages



We Can’t Stress This Enough...

Classes have begun, and students are settling into the routine of classes, papers, exams and labs. For some, it is a return to a familiar schedule, while for others, everything is new. This can be an exciting and stressful time for all. In addition to academic challenges, adjusting (or readjusting) to college socially can be stressful. Finally, the college experience requires a level of independence new to many students. Making decisions about what to eat and how much to sleep, managing money, effective time management, even doing laundry might represent new frontiers! You may sense that your student is struggling, or you may receive a more direct message such as a frantic call in the middle of the night. Here are some strategies to navigate through the challenges ahead. You may find that some of the ideas help you as well!

As concerned a family member, your first response when your student is upset is to give advice. However, don’t underestimate the value of simply listening. Often having the opportunity to vent and perhaps get a little support and sympathy can reduce stress and allow your student to refocus on school work. 

The best approach is to be proactive – talk with your student before you notice a problem. Encourage him or her to:

Maintain healthy self-care habits. Eat sensibly - a balanced diet will provide all the necessary energy needed during the day. Be mindful of the effects of excessive caffeine and sugar on nervousness. Be sure to get sufficient rest at night. 

Get Organized. Develop a schedule of daily activities that includes time for work, sleep, relationships, and recreation. Use a daily “to do" list. Use time and energy as efficiently as possible. Set realistic and attainable goals. Be careful of procrastination - breaking tasks into smaller units and prioritizing will help get things done.

Practice Time Management. Allow plenty of time to get things done. Plan a schedule ahead of time. Recognize that only so much can be done in a given period of time. Practice the notion of "pace, not race."

Learn to Relax. Throughout the day, take “minibreaks." Sit-down and get comfortable, slowly take a deep breath in, hold it, and then exhale very slowly. At the same time, let your shoulder muscles droop, smile, and say something positive like, "I am r-e-l-a-x-e-d." Unwind by taking a quiet stroll or listening to calming music.

Develop rational self-talk. Ask yourself what real impact the stressful situation will have on you in a day or a week and see if you can let the negative thoughts go. Rather than condemn yourself with hindsight thinking such as, "I should have...," think about what you can learn from the error and plan for the future. 

Exercise. Physical activity provides relief from stress. Develop a regular exercise program to help reduce the effects of stress before it becomes distress. Try participating in intramural or club sports, walking, jogging, dancing, yoga, and the like. Membership to the Penn College Fitness Center is free to all students. 

Talk to Friends. Friends can be good medicine. Daily doses of conversation, regular social engagements, and occasional sharing of deep feelings and thoughts can reduce stress and build social connections.

Take advantage of Penn College’s resources and support services. This could be the most important piece of advice that you can give your son or daughter. Often students are unaware of where to get help, or are reluctant to ask. As a result, they may struggle unnecessarily. Listed below are a few resources that students might want to utilize, not only at the end, but throughout the semester.

  • Classroom instructors –Instructors are available to assist students when they are having trouble understanding the course material, and are often willing to work with students who have fallen behind in their work. However, students need to let instructors know when they need help. Instructors have regular office hours, and also can be contacted via email.
  • Academic Success Center – Klump Academic Center ( ACC), Room 141. This office offers workshops, tutoring, and personalized attention to any Penn College student. 
  • Counseling Services –Bush Campus Center, Room 204. Counselors are available to assist students with academic and personal issues. For more information about Counseling services, visit
  • Residence Life Staff – Resident Assistants (RA’s) are experienced upperclassmen who can assist students who are experiencing stress, and they are able to provide support and helpful hints. In addition, RAs often sponsor study breaks during Finals Week, providing an opportunity for students to relax, enjoy a snack, and talk to other students. 

A few students sail through the adjustment to college with no visible signs of stress. Many, if not most, students experience low to moderate levels of stress, which fade quickly after the first month or so of classes. However, some reactions to the transition are longer lasting. If your student has not done well academically or socially, he or she may remain stressed as the semester progresses. You can help by continuing to provide support, listen and help problem solve.

It is important to note that the transition to college can trigger a more serious response. Depression and anxiety are not uncommon in the college population. Symptoms such as decreased energy, changes in sleep and appetite, lack of interest in interacting with friends and family, sad or anxious mood and hopelessness lasting more than two weeks may be signs of a more serious problem. Resources are available if you feel your student may need professional help. 

If you are feeling stressed as you read this article, you may want to refer to some of the tips above, particularly “Learn to relax” and “Practice rational self-talk!”

Celebrate your Student!

If you are looking for something fun to celebrate your student’s birthday or accomplishment - send them a Wildcat Wishes gift package. 

 View all Wildcat Wishes Packages

Wildcat Wishes Package
Birthday Bonanza Treat

Check out our Birthday Bonanza or Bouquet Collection Packages for the perfect way to celebrate. 

Wildcat Wishes Package
Candy or Cookie Bouquet Collection

Halloween is right around the corner - our Halloween: Trick or Treat is sure to bring nostalgia to the day. 

Wildcat Wishes Package
Halloween: Trick or Treat

Halloween is right around the corner - our Halloween: Trick or Treat is sure to bring nostalgia to the day.