Information for Parents and Families

Information for Parents and Families

Our PennWest California Parents and Families

Here at PennWest California, we know that students are more likely to succeed in college when they have the support and encouragement of family members. That's why weconsider parents and families a vital part of our PennWest California community.

You are welcome to visit our Pennsylvania campus for performances and special events. Annual celebrations such as Family Day and Homecoming can be ideal times to catch up with your student and enjoy the university experience together. Use these links to see what's nearby or get directions to PennWest California.

As your student makes the transition to college life, he or she is sure to have questions - and you will, too. To connect with us directly, email your questions to or join our community of PennWest California parents and families on Facebook.

Parents and family members may also call the Office of Parent and Family Engagement at 724-938-4361.

Or use our helpful Directory/People Finder to steer your student to a faculty adviser, academic department or University office for individualized assistance.

Download the 2023-2024 Parent and Family Guide.

See frequently asked questions for parents about parking.

Your Student's Mailing Address

Between visits, students living on the California University campus may enjoy a card or package from home. To keep in touch with your resident student, address letters and packages like this:

Student's Proper Name (no nicknames)
Residence Hall and Room Number/Box Number
PennWest California
250 University Ave.
California, PA 15419

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PennWest California Parent/Guest Portal


Your PennWest California student may want to share information about his/her grades, financial aid, billing or transfer credits with you or another trusted person. These records are protected from disclosure under FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. 

Your student may use the PennWest California Parent/Guest Portal to grant permission for a parent or guest to access this protected information and make payments to the student's California University account. The Parent/Guest Portal is the only avenue for a PennWest California student to grant third-party access to his/her records.

View instructions for the Parent/Guest Portal

A PennWest California bicycle police officer makes sure PennWest California campus is safe.

Safety at PennWest California


The California University Police Department has officers on duty around the clock, every day of the year. Police headquarters is in the Pollock Building, near the railroad crossing. To reach PennWest California police, call 724-938-4299.

Learn more about safety and security at PennWest California.

PennWest California's CalCard allows parents to add money.

Adding Cash to a CalCard


The CalCard is your student's official PennWest California ID card. The CalCard provides access to campus events and activities, residence halls, Vulcan Theatre and Herron Recreation and Fitness Center. It also provides borrowing privileges at Manderino Library. CalCard holders can ride the Vulcan Flyer shuttle, as well as Mid Mon Valley Transit Authority bus routes, free of charge.

Students with a campus meal plan use the CalCard for Dine Dollars and Shop Dollars. And through an agreement between the University and the Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union (PSECU), the CalCard also serves as an ATM card, if you choose the banking option.

Log in to Blackboard to add money to your student's Cal Card. Contact: 724-938-4300.


Buying and Selling Texbooks


At the bookstore in the Natali Student Center, students can purchase or rent textbooks and other course materials, and use the Book Buyback program to sell textbooks they no longer need. The bookstore also sells:

  • School supplies (pens, binders, notebooks, art supplies, etc.).
  • Technology (computer hardware, software, flash drives, headphones, etc.).
  • PennWest California apparel and accessories.
  • Gift items and collectibles.

Find bookstore hours and other information

Student Services at PennWest California include the Herron Hall Rec Center.

Finding Student Services


Students at PennWest California have access to a variety of student services:

  • The Office of Academic Success provides scheduling assistance and a wide variety of programs to help students succeed academically. Students are encouraged to visit Noss Hall for placement testing, Starfish support, the Four-Year Graduation program, or academic support through the Writing Center or Math Lab. Programs such as Peer Mentoring and the Success Center can help your student experience academic success. Contact: 724-938-1523. 
  • The Student Health Center in Carter Hall is staffed by a medical director, nurse supervisor, certified registered nurse practitioner and registered nurses. Health and wellness services, referrals, and programs that encourage healthy lifestyles are available to all PennWest California students. They also provide the medical information form for athletes and other students, and the meningitis waiver form for students living in University housing. Contact: 724-938-4232. 
  • The Counseling Center in Carter Hall is staffed by three therapists. They can assist students who are experiencing depression, anxiety, relationship distress, alcohol and/or drug use, trauma and other concerns. The Counseling Center offers short- and long-term counseling services, crisis intervention and referrals. Contact: 724-938-4056 (during office hours) or call the Health Center, 724-938-4232. 

For emergency or after-hours support, call 911 or PennWest California police at 724-938-4357 (HELP).

  • The Financial Aid Office helps PennWest California students find grants, loans, scholarships and work-study jobs to make college more affordable. To maximize you student's chances of being considered for aid, file the FAFSA as soon as possible. The office works with each student to develop a personalized financial aid package and to assist with work-study applications. Contact: or 724-938-4415.
  • The Office of Student Accounts helps you and your student explore payment options; staff also can answer questions about tuition, fees and other costs. PennWest California students receive one printed bill each term. E-bills, payments and Automated Clearinghouse (ACH) refund enrollments are available online. Contact: or 724-938-4431. 
  • The Office for Students with Disabilities, in Carter Hall, works to ensure access and participation for otherwise qualified students with disabilities. Disabilities diagnoses from high school may need to be re-evaluated when a student enrolls at PennWest California. Contact: or 724-938-5781.

In case of emergency, students with disabilities should be familiar with these guidelines for evacuating a building safely.