Safety Policies

SY42 Missing Student Policy

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

Stephanie Delaney, 814-863-1907,

Policy Steward: 

Chief of University Police and Public Safety



Effective August 14, 2008, the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, requires any institution participating in a Title IV federal student financial aid program that maintains on campus housing facilities to establish a missing student notification policy and related procedures (20 USC 1092 (j) Section 488 of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008) for students living in on campus housing.


Student-  The University defines a student as any person enrolled in any class or program of the University, full or part time.

Emancipated Individual- A person less than 18 years of age who has been declared by a court to be independent of his or her parents.

AVP - For this policy, “AVP” refers to an Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs assigned to respond to student emergencies.


The Pennsylvania State University will provide every student living in on campus student housing the opportunity and means to identify a missing student contact to be used in the event the student is reported missing. Missing student contact information will be registered confidentially and will be accessible only to authorized University officials and may not be disclosed except to law enforcement personnel in furtherance of a missing person investigation.

In accordance with the procedures established within this policy, within 24 hours after a student living in on campus student housing has been reported missing and the student is not known to have returned to the University or otherwise been located, the AVP or his/her designee will notify the individual the student has designated as his/her missing person contact. If the missing student is under 18 years of age and not an emancipated individual, the AVP or his/her designee will also notify the student’s custodial parent or guardian.

Students will be notified annually that each residential student of the University has the option to confidentially designate an individual to be contacted by the Penn State administration no later than 24 hours after the time that it is determined the student is missing.  Penn State provides each student with the means and opportunity to register their confidential missing student contact information by logging into the University’s LionPATH system and filling out the Address and Contact Information.  This confidential missing student contact can be anyone.  This option is provided to students even if a student has already registered an individual as a general emergency contact.  The student also has the option to identify the same individual for both their general emergency contact and missing student contact.

University Police shall investigate all reports of missing students and will notify and cooperate with other law enforcement agencies, as necessary, to further the investigation.


Any individual who believes a student living in on campus student housing may be missing should immediately contact University Police. University Police may notify the AVP upon receipt of a missing student report. When receiving such report, both the AVP and University Police will attempt to determine whether the student is, in fact, missing. Among other steps that may be taken depending on the circumstances:

  • AVP or his/her designee will attempt to contact the student through all reasonable and available means.
  • University Police will investigate the validity of the missing person report and manage the information according to its established investigative standards.
  • University Police may notify appropriate University personnel and seek their aid in the investigation (e.g., Student Affairs, Residence Life, Counseling and Psychological Services, etc.)
  • Regardless of whether the student has identified a contact person, is above the age of 18, or is an emancipate minor, University Police will notify local law enforcement agencies within 24 hours of the determination that the student is missing, unless the local law enforcement agency was the entity that made the determination that the student is missing.


If, within 24 hours of the report, University Police is unable to locate the missing student and the student is not known to have returned to the University or otherwise located, University Police will notify the AVP and he/she or his/her designee will take the following action(s):

  • The AVP or his/her designee will promptly notify the individual the student has designated as his/her missing person contact and document the date and time of the notification.
  • If the missing student is under 18 years of age and not an emancipated individual, the AVP or his/her designee will also notify the student’s custodial parent or guardian and document the date and time of the notification.


University Police and the AVP will coordinate their efforts to locate the missing student. The AVP will notify the Vice President of Student Affairs and update him/her on the status of the investigation as appropriate.

When the missing student is located, the AVP or his/her designee will contact the student to offer any appropriate support, as well as the emergency contacts and/or parents to confirm the student has been located.

If the initial investigation is unsuccessful in locating the missing student, University Police will continue to investigate according to established police procedures. The AVP will decide what further action, if any, should be taken by the Office of Student Affairs.




University Park


University Police

30 Eisenhower Parking Deck



AVP for Student Affairs

Boucke Bldg



Senior Director of Residence Life

201 Johnston Commons



Dickinson Law School

Lewis Katz Bldg






University Police

107 Rydal Bldg



Director of Student Affairs

106 Sutherland Bldg





University Police

Poplar Bldg, 3000 Ivyside Park



Director of Student Affairs

103 Slep Student Center






University Police

100 University Dr



Director of Student Affairs

113 Student Union Bldg






University Police

112 Luerssen Bldg



Director of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management

14B Perkins Student Center


Behrend (Erie)




University Police

10 Erie Hall, 4651 College Dr



Senior Director of Administration and Student Affairs

135 Reed Bldg






University Police

Commons Rm 101



Director of Student Affairs and Engagement

25 Yearsley Mill Rd, 207 Student Union Building


Carlisle (Dickinson)




Assistant Dean for Academic and Student Services

S. College Street, Carlisle, PA 17103

717-240-5247 or






University Police

Hiller Bldg, St 109, 32 N 6th St



Director of Student Affairs

106 Hiller Bldg, College Pl






University Police

2201 University Dr, 121 Williams Bldg



Director of Student Services, Student Affairs

2201 University Dr.


  Assistant to Finance and Business Director 106 Williams Building, 2201 University Dr. 724-415-9342

Great Valley




University Police

Main Bldg, 30 E Swedesford Rd



Director of Enrollment Management and Student Services

30 E Swedesford Rd


Greater Allegheny




University Police

Frable Bldg, Rm 108



Director of Student Affairs

210 Student Community Center






University Police

Susquehanna Bldg



Director of Student Affairs

E131 Olmsted Bldg






University Police

West Residence Hall



Director of Student Affairs and Student Enrollment

76 University Drive






Department of Security

202 Eastmoor Bldg



Associate Dean for Student Affairs

500 University Drive


Lehigh Valley




University Police

Academic Bldg, Rm 114



Director of Student Affairs

2809 Saucon Valley Rd, Room 214


Mont Alto




University Police

White Home on Orchard Rd



Director of Student Affairs

211 Conklin Hall, 1 Campus Dr


New Kensington




University Police

IST Bldg, Office 033



Director of Student Affairs

112B Faculty and Administration Bldg






University Police

Administrative Bldg, Rm A-6, 200 University Dr



Director of Student Affairs

209-C Health & Wellness Bldg






University Police

147 Shenango Ave, Room 209



Director of Student Affairs

103 Sharon Hall






University Police

Hayfield House, H-111, Old Rt 115

570-675-9111; 570-406-2058


Director of Student Services and Engagement

44 University Drive






University Police

Engineering Building



Director of Student Services and Engagement

Study Learning Center






University Police

1031 Edgecomb Ave



Director of Student Affairs and Engagement

Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center, Suite 206



While this policy applies only to students living in on campus student housing, reports of students missing from off-campus residences will be referred to the police department having jurisdiction over the student’s local residence, if known, or the student’s permanent residence if a local residence cannot be determined, and the University will cooperate within its legal limitations with any subsequent investigation.



AD74 - Compliance with Clery Act

SY03 - Emergencies Involving Students

UPPS 2.03.05 - Missing Persons Policy

Most recent changes:

  • June 8, 2023 - Policy steward update.

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • September 26, 2019 - Editorial changes were made in Purpose section; changed the link for the Higher Educaiton Opportunity Act of 2008; in Procedures section: added new verbiage to the 4th bullet; and in the University Contact for Missing Student section: updated Berks, Greater Allegheny, and Harrisburg information.
  • September 12, 2018 – Editorial changes were made in the Content section: deleted Background, Initial Response, Investigations, Communications, Provisions, Notifications, Registering and Notifying Student Missing Contacts, and Notifying Law Enforcement; and added “Procedures”; in the Purpose section: replaced with the Background section information , added “for students living in on campus housing” to the end of this sentence, and deleted the website link;  in the Definitions section: the student definition replaced “to be” with “as”; added Emancipated Individual definition; deleted Missing Student definition; and in the AVP definition deleted “at University Park” and “or the Director of Student Affairs at a Penn State Commonwealth campus”.  Editorial changes were made to remove the standard operating procedural steps for Police and Student Affairs:  The information in the Policy section was changed and deleted Initial Response, Investigations, Communications; added “Procedures” section; and deleted the Provisions section (including Notifications, Registering and Notifying Student Missing Contact, Notifying Law Enforcement).  The University Contacts for Missing Students section information was updated, added University Police contact information for each campus, and re-formatted this section.  In the Further Information section, deleted “For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact University Police and Public Safety” and replaced with new information. In the Cross references, added the UPPS 2.03.05 -Missing Persons Policy and Student Affairs- Missing Student Notification Policy and Procedures.
  • May 11, 2016 - Editorial changes. Corrections to address information in the "University Contacts for Missing Students" section, as provided by University Police & Public Safety.
  • June 19, 2014 - Editorial changes. Addition of policy steward information, in the event that there are questions or requests for changes to the policy.
  • October 10, 2012 - New policy.
  • October 5, 2021 - Updated University Contacts Information; Subject matter expert updated.