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Parents & Families Guide

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First-Year Student Families

As new members of the Penn State community, there is a lot of new information to learn. This page is intended to help you get started. It includes an introduction to:

New Student Orientation (NSO):

New Student Orientation (NSO) at University Park is a two-day program aimed at providing you, and your family, with an introduction to life on campus, in the classroom, and in State College. All new students are expected to attend NSO.

First–year students will receive a program invitation and instructions to complete their next steps once they accept their offer of admission to Penn State. This information will come to the email address provided on the student’s application for admission. Note: It is only through New Student Orientation that new students will meet with an academic adviser and register for courses.

A companion program for parents and family members has been designed with your transition needs in mind and because family support is an important factor in student success at the University. While NSO is not mandatory for parents and family members, we encourage you to accompany your student to campus.

For more information about NSO (including a preliminary schedule), please visit If you should have questions after reviewing the website, please contact Student Orientation and Transition Programs at 814-865-4178, 8:00 a.m.– 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, or by e-mail at


LionPATH is Penn State's student information system, which provides students with access to their academic, registration, and financial records. Your student can give you access to student information via Delegated Access. Click here to view a LionPATH tutorial.

Paying Tuition

Your student can grant you access as an Authorized Payer through their Student Center in LionPATH. This will enable you to view and pay the Student Account Statement (bill), enroll in the Installment Payment Plan, and access IRS 1098-T. Click here for more information on Authorized Payer access.

Office of Student Aid

If you and your student have submitted the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), your student can log into to view the financial aid he/she is eligible to receive. From the Student Center, click on View Financial Aid. We recommend that your student refer to the Award Summary frequently for up-to-date information about the status of his/her financial aid. If you have not yet applied for financial aid, you may still submit the FAFSA at  Please visit for information about applying for financial aid.

The financial aid that your student is eligible to receive will be listed on the Student Account Statement (bill) as a resource to help pay the bill.

If you, as a parent, need additional financial resources to help pay for educational expenses, you may want to apply for a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan. Parents of dependent undergraduate students who meet eligibility requirements may apply for the PLUS Loan.  For step-by-step instructions on how to apply for a federal Parent PLUS Loan, visit the online tutorial at

Penn State id+ Card

When a student arrives on campus, he or she should visit the Id+ Office, located at 20 HUB-Robeson Center, and bring a valid photo identification (such as a driver’s license or passport) to be issued the official Penn State photo id+ card. The id+ card is a vital part of life at Penn State, providing easy access to many University resources and services. Visit for additional information.

Housing Assignments & Arrival

First-year students admitted to University Park are required to live on campus. The student can accept the Housing and Food Service (HFS) Contract through MyPennState during the admissions process.

SAFE & AWARE Online Modules

All incoming first-year students are required to complete Penn State SAFE (Student Alcohol Feedback and Education) and Penn State AWARE (a sexual violence awareness learning module).  Incoming first-year students will receive a letter and an email in their Penn State email account with instructions for completing both of these online programs.

Parent & Family Checklist

Parent & Family Checklist


Connect through the Parent & Family Experience, a portal designed just for you, by setting up your profile

Add to your address book

Consider volunteering for the Parents Program

Connect with Penn State and the Parents Program on Facebook


  All imcoming students must submit immunization records prior to arrival on campus. Visit the Univeristy Health Services website for more information
  Remind your student to copy and bring insurance and prescription cards with them
  Remind your student to bring information about their current and maintenance prescription medications
  Consider subscribing to the Family Health Line
  Remind your student to submit their health insurance information in LionPATH

Ask your student if they received the email with the tuition bill

  Remind your student to consent to do business electronically and to sign the Financial Responsibility Agreement (FRA) in LionPATH prior to enrolling for classes

Discuss getting online access with your student, as they must delegate access in order for parents to view student information

Plan for future semesters at

Add funds to student's LionCash+ account:


Remind your student to complete online modules

Encourage your student to participate in Welcome Week activities:

Discuss campus safety and decisions regarding alcohol and drug use

Discuss time management, study skills, and mutual expectations for staying in touch

Talk about how your student will finance their education

Remind your student to read the Penn State Reads Selection

Explore programs and services available to assist your student

Provide reminder of life skills (including doing laundry, managing bank account, eating well)

Remind your student to check their Penn State e-mail account frequently. University offices or departments will communicate important information to the student's Penn State e-mail address (

Remind your student to add their cell phone number to the PSU Alert System at to receive text and/or voice alerts.


Parents & Families Weekend: October 19 - 21, 2018



222 Boucke Building | 814.863.1313 | Contact The Penn State Parents Program