Chancellor’s Message

Being your student’s parental partner


Female graduate with her parentsI have listened to many student graduation speeches over the years and have spoken with countless graduates filled with pride about what they celebrate on graduation day. I have heard stories about favorite professors, life changing learning experiences and an eagerness to put degrees to work to make a difference in our world.

Throughout those stories, I also tend to hear something else—the appreciation graduates have for caring, understanding and even questioning parents. Within the lives of college students, parents are important influencers. 

No grades, but…

Though parents do not earn the passing marks that lead to their sons’ or daughters’ degree, in various ways they contribute to those marks. Though parents do not stay up all hours of the night studying, they do tend to put in a lot of long hours cooking, laundering and performing other gestures of sacrificial love on behalf of their students. And though parents are not responsible for completing class projects, turning in papers or preparing for a team presentation, they do take on responsibility of supporting their students’ efforts in whatever way they can.

A college education is truly a partnership. Students, of course, do the heavy lifting of learning. But in the background are parents who willingly do everything they can as contributors to their students’ success. A partnership also means asking difficult questions, providing a shoulder to lean or cry on, or just offering an encouraging word of reassurance.

Being there

Parental partners do not have all the answers, but they can and do muster up amazing amounts of support. Whatever else you can do for your sons and daughters as students, there is nothing more important than being there for them.         

At Purdue Calumet, nearly 70 percent of our enrollees are first generation students. That is, pending their persistence and ability to succeed to graduation day and receive their diploma, they will become the first members of their family to earn a degree.

Counting on you

Arguably, the highlight of our Purdue Calumet Commencement Exercises is the emotional outburst expressed by family members when their loved one’s name is announced as a Purdue degree recipient.

It is a day you, too, will cherish with overwhelming pride. As a parental partner, you can help make it happen. Whether he and she yet realize it, your son and daughter are counting on you.



Thomas L. Keon




Spotlight on…Financial Aid

Graduation Cap on top of moneyWe know there are questions upon questions upon questions about the financial aid process. The good news, at this point, is that the FAFSA process has been completed, and your student knows the status of his/her financial aid award. Whether in the form of grants, loans, or even the opportunity to participate in our work study program, your student is gearing up to focus on one thing: education.

We’d like to provide you answers to many of the popular financial aid questions being asked. But before you read below the Q & A, with Tanika House, Assistant Director of Student Financial Services, we want you to take a moment. Think about your student’s education—and not think about education cost as a burden. Think of it as an investment. The money spent on education is truly an investment in your student’s future.


Q: Though I am a parent, I do not have access to my student’s financial records. How do I know if my student is handling his/her financial aid correctly?

A:  Many parents call wanting to know all the financial aid details. We only can provide general information. If login is needed to accept and/or decline awards, or if additional documents are required for processing, this information can be shared with you.  However, specific dollar amounts cannot be discussed over the phone. We are restricted from doing so by terms of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Please understand that we must comply with FERPA standards. That expressed, parents who present to us a signed consent from their student allows us to provide some additional information. We can discuss with you the parameters of obtaining this information.  


Q: If my student accepted a loan, does he/she have to accept the full amount?

A:  Students do not have to accept the full amount of a loan for which they have been granted approval to receive. But understand that the student is responsible for repaying the full amount accepted. To avoid surprises, please encourage your student to use their loan prudently in response to their educational needs only for the academic year.


Q: What is the process for staying up-to-date with my student’s financial aid?

A:  All updates to a student’s financial aid status are communicated via their MyPUC account. We no longer mail any information, as we have gone green!

Parents can call and check on the status of their student’s financial aid. To continue to receive their financial aid, students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements Should a student fail to satisfy eligibility requirements (GPA, completion rate, time frame) and, thereby, have his/her financial aid discontinued, the matter will be discussed with the student only. Please keep the lines of communication open with your student!


As you know, your student may need information from your tax statements for annual FAFSA filing. Content of the completed FAFSA form determines the amount of financial aid for which your student qualifies. Open and continual lines of communication with your student throughout his/her higher education years will go a long way in enhancing the financial aid process and helping your student succeed.   

Focus on…

Commencement: Getting Your Student There

Graduation. Commencement. Receiving a Degree!

It may seem a far way off to many of our students, but in reality—and as something we all know—time flies!

The process of getting your student walking at the Commencement ceremony may seem arduous to think about (especially as he/she is just beginning or completing his/her first semester), but keeping the mindset of reminding your student that graduation is the ultimate goal of his/her Purdue Calumet experience and “right around the corner” is a worthy message of reminder.


Talk. Conversations about your student’s upcoming semester or current classes do not have to focus just about grades. Find out areas in which your student may excel, or just have conversations about some of the coursework.

Listen. Maybe your student is not interested in discussing coursework. Perhaps he/she is more interested in campus life. Many times, students prefer not to discuss grades, or become fearful of being judged if a course/semester does not go exactly as planned. Listening to your student’s desires, fears, and concerns can keep you in the loop of his/her feelings.

Learn. Finding out what your student’s interests are can be the building block for future conversations. Think of it as a first step to “learning” or becoming educated about what your student is experiencing as a student at Purdue University Calumet.


Student Corner

Shaky hands

By: JESSICA VAN KLEY; English Writing major in the class of 2016

Student using a tabletHeart pounding and hands shaking I entered; my eyes darted around for an empty seat at this new student orientation I was told to attend.  I finally found a seat at a table of strangers, who to me seemed calm, cool and collected, as opposed to my startled, sweaty and scattered demeanor.  While attempting to listen to the speakers and not let my shaking hands drop my cup of water, I heard that we could always talk to our advisors if we had any questions. This was a terrifying notion to me.

A few weeks into my freshmen year I had started to grasp the basic layout of the campus, which meant pretending to tie my shoes in front of the campus maps less and less.  I even built up the confidence to talk to classmates outside of class.  But aside from small personal victories, which meant pretending to tie my shoes less and less, I also started to talk to my professors and advisors. This was a far greater accomplishment than knowing how to get to the library. 

My professors and advisors helped push me through my freshman year.  My professors helped me decide on a major and realize that it is alright to take a semester or two to make that decision.  My advisors helped me pick out classes that would be appropriate for my decided major. And my GNS 103 instructor, a freshman experience course most freshmen attend, helped open my eyes to what “being a college student” is like.  Teaching us the basics of the school website,, we learned how to register for classes online through MyPCStar, how to look up different classes with the online course catalog and even how to look up what careers a chosen major opens up for you.

GNS 103 also allowed me to explore the campus on more than just an academic level.  We were encouraged to explore campus events and even look out for different Purdue Calumet programs and clubs, like The Chronicle, our student paper, which is always on the lookout for reporters.  The Honors Program, a part of campus life that I was already involved in, was another opportunity freshmen were encouraged to explore and possibly pursue application, not to mention the dozens of other organizations that the campus offers, from ROTC to the clusters of sororities and fraternities.

With all of these resources at my disposal, I finally made it through my first year of college. I finished with a 3.93 GPA and hands that were a little less shaky, thanks to the advice from professors and advisors who were more than willing to make time to talk to me. I learned to use campus resources and shake off my anxiety of speaking to professors and advisors. I learned that making it through college in four years is a goal that most dedicated students can achieve.

Timely Reminders

So What’s Next on the Agenda?

By now, your student is registered for his/her classes. In fact, most students left New Student Orientation with their schedule in hand. Maybe your student is not sure of what will happen next? Maybe you are not sure of the process either?

Someone holding a "Who, What, When, Where, Why, How" signTake a breath. And make sure your student is taking a breath too.

Classes are starting, books are being purchased. Gearing up for the next semester is the goal.

Not sure about your student’s current major, or concerned because he/she has yet to declare one? Do not worry. More than 20 percent of students do not have an intended major when they enroll, and more than one-third of students who have declared a major end up declaring a new one. So what is your next step? Is your student ready to declare a major? If he/she is ready, the process is known as Change of Degree Objective (CODO).

The Center for Learning and Academic Success (CLAS) allows your student to remain in the Undecided (UND) status for up to one year. Once a student has earned 48 credit hours, he/she must meet with his/her advisor to make sure that all requirements have been made to CODO.

If your student is struggling, or if there are questions about the steps needed to make a CODO, you can visit for more information.

If your student does not complete the CODO process, he/she officially will not be considered a degree-seeking student within his/her new major. The steps outlined by the office of the registrar need to be followed and appropriate forms must be completed.

Helpful hints:

Access the course catalog at

Need to reach an advisor?

Advisor List:

Linda Atkinson:

Charnell Thomas: