Jan 20, 2021  
Student Handbook 
Student Handbook

Student Services


Admissions Office

As the first point of contact for new students, the Office of Admissions offers many services which assist students in becoming acclimated to college life. New student outreach programs are also conducted by this office.

Career Planning and Employer Services

Research shows that students who are connected to their colleges do better academically and have an overall more positive experience. Becoming familiar with the career center and staff to develop a plan to identify and attain your career goals is an essential first step in making that connection. Students may schedule in-person, Skype, or telephone meetings with a career counselor at careerservices@pennhighlands.edu or 814.262.3850. Appointments are recommended but walk-ins are welcome. For convenience, the Center operates from 8:30am - 4:30pm Monday through Friday with evening hours on Thursdays by appointment only. Students may work independently on any career-related topic using office resources, including computer technology and reference materials. More Career Center information and resources can be found online at myPeak.


The first step in the career exploration process is to understand yourself by identifying your interests, personality, skills, and values through career assessments. By completing an assessment in Career Coach, you can start to link your interests to possible careers that may be a good fit for you. The assessment is also helpful if you are a current Penn Highlands student and want to explore changing majors or other career fields. Our career counselors can help you gather information about career choices and devise a plan to prepare for your career.


A regular schedule of programs throughout the year offers enjoyable and educational experiences for your career development, including a variety of topics:

  • “Dining and Professional Etiquette Luncheon” - Learn dining and professional networking etiquette and tips while enjoying a complimentary lunch with friends.
  • “Mock Interview Fair” - Experience different interviewing styles from real employer volunteers in a practice setting.
  • “Dress for Success” - View latest interview attire and learn how to assemble an appropriate interview outfit.
  • “Social Media and the Job Search” - Explore the role of social media in the networking and recruitment process.
  • “Writing Effective Resumes and Cover Letters” - Learn techniques to best identify and highlight your skills and experiences to grab employer attention.


Students are encouraged to schedule individual meetings with a career counselor for personal assistance with all career planning needs:

  • Develop a clear and appropriate career action plan with attainable goals.
  • Build relevant resume experience through out-of-classroom activity, including clubs, student government, committees, volunteer, athletics, and jobs.
  • Learn effective resume and cover letter writing techniques.
  • Participate in a video-taped mock interview with a career counselor who will break down the interview process to help you learn how to prepare and build confidence before the real interview. Learn how to respond to difficult questions and put your best foot forward.


Students who utilize Career Services will have an added advantage in the job search process by adequately preparing and networking with employers through many different venues:

  • College Central Network - Our online job posting board allows employers to post all degree and non-degree related job and internship openings regularly. Students may post resumes for employer review.
  • Employer Directory for Jobs, Internships, Job Shadowing, Local Wage Information, and Recommended Job Search Websites - The annual directory is available in hard copy and online and contains approximately 100 employers who have hired Penn Highlands’ students in the past or are interested in hiring for future.
  • Regional Job/Internship Fair Schedule - This listing of regional recruiting fairs is provided each fall and spring with transportation offered to select locations. Students may network with a wide range of employers at job fairs hosted by many other colleges and community organizations.
  • Internships - Hands on learning and experience within a company or organization provides a foot in the door and often leads to an employment offer.


The Career Closet is located on the College’s Richland Campus and offers a year round supply of new and gently used interview attire. All Penn Highlands students are eligible to receive and keep any clothing chosen to attend job fairs or interviews, free of charge.

Financial Aid Office

All matriculated (pursuing a degree, certificate, or diploma) students are encouraged to apply for financial aid by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.  By completing this application, the student has applied for both state and federal programs that include State PHEAA Grants, Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Federal Direct Stafford Loans and Federal Work-Study. Processing time for this form is generally one to two weeks. All students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA by April 1st to ensure full consideration and to complete all necessary financial aid steps prior to the upcoming year’s tuition due date. Once FAFSA results are received by the Financial Aid Office, students are to check their College email and myPEAK > Financial Aid for notifications regarding award letters and/or missing information needed.

Students earn their aid by going to classes and doing the work. Grades/attendance are checked at mid-semester and aid adjustments are made accordingly for “never” attending. In addition, Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress requires students to maintain a 2.0 GPA, 67% successful completion of all attempted credits and program completion within a 150% timeframe. This progress is checked at the end of each semester. Students not making progress will be placed on financial aid “warning” status; however, remain aid eligible. Students not making progress during a subsequent semester will be placed on financial aid “suspension” status and are not aid eligible; however, they will have the opportunity to a one-time appeal process.    

College scholarship opportunities are available to students who complete the FAFSA and meet individual scholarship criteria. Complete the Pennsylvania Highlands Scholarship Application and essay by April 1st. Scholarship eligibility requirements are referenced in the College Catalog and Financial Aid page (www.pennhighlands.edu).


  • Pennsylvania State Grant, First-Time: May 1 - If you plan to enroll in a degree program or a college transferable program at a junior college or other college or university (excludes community colleges), you must submit the FAFSA and the Pennsylvania State Grant Form.

  • Pennsylvania State Grant, First-Time: August 1 - If you plan to enroll in a community college; a business, trade, or technical school; a hospital school of nursing; or a 2-year program that is not transferable to another institution; you must submit the FAFSA and the Pennsylvania State Grant Form.

  • Pennsylvania State Grant, Renewal: May 1 - You must submit a renewal FAFSA and any appropriate State Grant documents indicating any changes that may affect your State Grant award, such as a change in your marital status or a change in your income.

  • Federal Deadline: June 30 - Applications must be received no later than June 30. The College must have your correct, complete information by your last day of enrollment in the 2014-2015 school year.

Registrar’s Office

The Registrar’s Office coordinates the registration process for students. All student records are managed and maintained in the Registrar’s Office. Students may obtain the following services through this office:

Students may obtain the following services through this office:

  • Transcripts
  • Enrollment Verification Letters
  • Assistance with Grading Problems
  • Course Schedule Information
  • Name and/or Address Change Forms
  • Assistance with Adding, Dropping, or Withdrawing from Classes
  • Registration Information
  • Repeating a Course
  • Auditing a Course
  • Graduation Application
  • Class Cancellations
  • Prerequisite Waivers
  • Residency Classification and Verification
  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Contact and Information
  • Educational Record Review


Pennsylvania Highlands offers a variety of classes outlined in the Course Schedule, which is produced two times per year for three terms: Fall, Spring, and Summer. Students can register online via the myPEAK portal or by paper form through a College location or the Registrar’s Office. Instructions can be found on the online registration page of myPEAK.

Upon enrollment, the student enters into an agreement to abide by the policies, rules, and regulations that govern the institution and expectations for student conduct. The student is responsible for following proper registration procedures and for satisfying the College curriculum and graduation requirements. If a student is interested in transferring, it is the student’s responsibility to coordinate the course of study between that institution and Pennsylvania Highlands. Students who are pursuing a degree, diploma, or certificate are encouraged to work with an academic advisor when scheduling courses each semester. By doing so, the student will ensure that he or she is taking the appropriate courses for completing his or her selected major.


Meeting graduation requirements is ultimately the responsibility of the student. Students are encouraged to work with their academic advisors in selecting courses to meet their educational objectives. Students must apply for graduation before the specified deadline for the semester. Application due dates are announced throughout the year and are communicated through the Registrar’s Office via the myPEAK portal. Applications are available at all locations and the College’s website. Commencement ceremonies are the culmination of the student’s program of study. Each spring Pennsylvania Highlands Community College conducts a graduation ceremony at which time faculty, staff, family, and friends come together to recognize the academic achievements of the year’s graduates. All eligible degree, diploma, and certificate candidates are encouraged to participate in commencement activities. In order to be eligible to graduate, all students must have:

In order to be eligible to graduate, all students must have:

  • Satisfied all requirements for the course of study.
  • Taken at least 1/2 of the required coursework at Pennsylvania Highlands.
  • Achieved a grade point average of 2.0 or better as required by program of study.
  • Fulfilled all of their financial obligations to Pennsylvania Highlands.
  • Filed an application for Graduation:

Application Deadline for Fall - November 1
Application Deadline for Spring - March 1
Application Deadline for Summer - June 30

Student Accounts Office

The Student Accounts Office coordinates the student billing process for all students. The Student Accounts Office also handles tuition and fee payments, third-party billing, and student refunds.

Student Activities

The Office of Student Activities coordinates and administers a wide variety of programs and activities that provide opportunities for socialization, recreation, leadership, and personal growth both within and beyond the campus community.


Be a part of the team! Athletics are an excellent way for student athletes to continue their careers after high school. Pennsylvania Highlands offers students intercollegiate opportunities including men’s basketball, men’s and women’s bowling, men’s and women’s cross country, and women’s volleyball. At Pennsylvania Highlands, you will also find an enthusiastic athletic staff who value academics and athletics and who will be committed to helping you succeed in the classroom and on the playing court.

The Black Bears participate­ in the Western Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference (WPCC) and the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).

As a member institution of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), Pennsylvania Highlands is governed by the eligibility rules and laws of the NJCAA. The majority of our competitive schedule is with other two-year college opponents as a member of the Western Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference.


Student bulletin boards can be found at all College locations. All informational flyers must be approved and stamped with an expiration date by the Office of Student Activities and Athletics before being posted. At the Centers, please visit the Center director for assistance with posting information to the bulletin boards.


The Student Senate serves as the direct communication vehicle between the student body and the school administration. Since its inception, it has relayed student input on numerous subjects related to the College and has representatives on several college committees. Student Senate representatives also provide input on student activities and suggestions on student life opportunities at Pennsylvania Highlands. The Student Senate is the coordinating body for all student organizations and its membership is comprised of up to two representatives from each student group in addition to senator’s at large (those not belonging to a particular organization). The President of the Student Senate is elected annually by a vote of the student population as a whole and serves as a Honorary College Trustee.

Student Success Center

The Student Success Center offers a variety of services at all locations to help you achieve academic success. All services are provided at no cost and are confidential. Arrangements for services at the sites and for online students may be made by calling the Student Success Center to schedule an appointment via video chat, email, telephone, or in-person.


Student Success Center counselors/advisors assist new students in developing a schedule of classes for your first semester at Penn Highlands. At the start of the first semester at Penn Highlands, you will be assigned to a faculty advisor who will then guide you through the advising and registration process during subsequent semesters. All Academic Advisors at Penn Highlands assist students in understanding course and degree requirements; discuss and clarify educational, career, and life goals; monitor student academic progress; reinforce student self-sufficiency; and direct students with educational or personal concerns to the appropriate college resources.

You are encouraged to get to know your advisor and closely monitor your progress toward your degree requirements by accessing your degree audit on myPEAK or tracking your progress on the advising worksheet for your program. It is your responsibility to make sure you are taking the courses needed to complete your program at Penn Highlands.

If you plan to transfer to a 4-year college/university after completing your degree at Penn Highlands, it is important to begin planning immediately with your faculty advisor or a Student Success Center advisor. Both can assist you in selecting appropriate transferable coursework.


Short-term personal counseling is available to assist you with personal issues and concerns that may negatively affect your academic achievement. Some of the issues with which you may want the counselor’s assistance are: stress, anxiety, study habits, family conflicts, coping with grief, and time management. Students may be referred to resources in the community if intensive or on-going support is needed. Appointments are encouraged; drop-ins are also welcome. Counseling services are confidential and can be conducted by phone or Skype for students attending classes at a Penn Highlands location.


Make-up tests are administered to students at the discretion of the instructor. Students must present a valid Pennsylvania Highlands’ student ID at the time of testing. All College test proctors in the Student Success Center and at the other Penn Highlands locations strictly follows the test administration guidelines determined by the instructor. Make-up testing can be coordinated at all locations at the discretion of the instructor.


The Student Success Center participates in the 30-Minute Matters series to help students excel inside and outside the classroom. Workshops are tailored to meet the specific needs of students. Watch for the schedule of topics offered each semester. Additional information may be provided in one-on-one sessions by a Student Success Center counselor.


Pennsylvania Highlands Community College is committed to upholding the standards set forth by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, which are designed to eliminate discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Pennsylvania Highlands is committed to making reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities.

Students with a disability wishing to request accommodations must meet either in person, via Skype or by telephone with the Counselor/ADA Specialist. Appropriate documentation from a licensed professional is required to certify that he or she has a disability and to determine reasonable accommodations. The student is encouraged to request accommodations immediately upon admission to the College, as some accommodations, require at least three weeks planning in advance of each semester. Once a student is determined eligible for accommodations and receives an official accommodations plan, the student must meet with each of his or her instructors to inform the instructor of the requested accommodations. 


The College provides tutoring at all sites in English, reading, and math based upon tutor availability. Requests for tutoring in other subjects will be accepted; however, they are filled only when an appropriate tutor is available. Online tutoring is available through Smarthinking, which is accessed at the Library’s webpage on the Student Resources tab.

If you need a tutor, please complete a Tutor Request Form, which is available on the Student Success Center tab of myPEAK. After your instructor has signed the request form, you must return the form to the Student Success Center along with a copy of your schedule.

If you would like to become a Penn Highlands tutor, you must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.8, have earned an A or B in the course in which you wish to tutor, and have a recommendation from an instructor. The application to become a tutor is also found on the Success Center tab of myPEAK.