Refer a student you are concerned about

How to refer a student who is displaying behaviors that may interfere with their own success or disrupt the learning of others, sometimes known as a student of concern.

Remember that observing any of concerning behavior should prompt you to reach out to that student. However, we have many resources to help with that conversation.

University of Wisconsin – Madison students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to refer students who are experiencing a difficult situation related to their academic success or personal health and well-being.

The Office of Student Assistance and Support staff reviews referrals each business day, Monday-Friday between the hours of 8:30am to 4:00pm. All referrals will be evaluated to determine the appropriate follow-up necessary to address the concern(s). Staff will confirm your submission with you within 1 business day to discuss next steps. In most cases, our office will reach out to students to learn how we may be able to support them in navigating the challenges they may be experiencing and share applicable campus resources.


If you are referring a student experiencing a mental health emergency or there is an immediate safety concern, please directly contact the appropriate resource below before submitting a Student of Concern form



Refer a student of concern

What is a Student of Concern?

A student of concern is any student who is experiencing personal challenges or displaying behaviors that may interfere with their ability to be successful at the university or disrupts the learning of others.

How can the Office of Student Assistance and Support help?

The Office of Student Assistance and Support Office offers:

  • Consultation
  • Resource referral
  • Outreach
  • Coordination of outreach and information among multiple offices

Students are referred to the Office of Student Assistance and Support from a wide range of sources, including faculty, staff, family members, or other students. The goal is to avert more serious difficulties and provide support as the student works toward academic and personal success.


This list is not comprehensive and may not encompass concerning behavior that you are seeing. No two student situations are the same.

  • Missing classes or irregular attendance
  • Navigating personal challenges with broad impacts on student
  • Experiencing physical or mental health challenges
  • Significant change in behavior
  • Comments that are inappropriate or irrelevant to class discussion
  • Unable to control emotions
  • Poor hygiene
  • Appears intoxicated or smells of alcohol
  • Appears high or smells of marijuana
  • Appears tired or is constantly falling asleep in class
  • Very anxious
  • Concerning writing or art
  • Extreme change in weight
  • Extreme change in appearance
  • Unusual bruising or other injuries
  • Interrupting class discussions
  • Interfering with other students’ ability to learn
  • Making threats or threatening behavior
  • Talking or writing about suicide

What to expect after submitting a Student of Concern referral to the Dean of Students Office

The Office of Student Assistance and Support staff promptly reviews each Student of Concern referral during business hours (Monday-Friday 8:30am-4pm).

  • This referral form should not be used for emergency or life-threatening assistance until after contacting emergency services listed on referral form.  

There are several possible steps that staff may take to coordinate support options for the student based on the circumstances and information available. Though each response may follow a different path, for each referral our staff will: 

Coordinate Student Support and Outreach: 

These steps may include (but are not limited to): 

  • Direct outreach to the student via multiple means (email, phone, text) to offer support. 
  • Consult with campus partners to coordinate support. 
  • Consult with student’s academic advisor, faculty, University Housing, or other areas where student is affiliated. 
  • Utilize UW databases to determine student’s status or engagement on campus. 

Respond to the Reporter: 

To respect student privacy, we may not be able to share all details of the situation, but we may share relevant information on a need-to-know basis. 

  • Our staff will confirm receipt of the referral and share next steps, typically within one business day (if the reporter provides contact information). 
  • In most cases, our staff will provide an update to the reporter either once contact is made with the student or when we have relevant information to share. While our staff will promptly take action once a referral is made, reporters should expect that it can take two weeks or more to reach a resolution. 

*The Office of Student Assistance and Support closely aligns its practices with that of the Higher Education Case Management Association (HECMA) and the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association (NaBITA). 


Office of Student Assistance and Support

How can we help?

Call us at:

Email us at:

Line art image of Bascom Hall at the University of Wisconsin–Madison

Office of Student Assistance and Support
70 Bascom Hall
500 Lincoln Drive Madison, WI 53706-1380

Monday-Friday: 8:30am - 11:30am, 1pm - 4pm during Summer

After Hours Contacts

Crisis response:
Call Mental Health Services
608-265-5600 (option 9)
Dial 911 for immediate help from the
UW Police Department
UWPD Non-emergency line: 608-264-2677