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Health Promotion and Wellness

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Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (B A S I C S)

Penn State students who have a first-time alcohol violation on- or off-campus or an alcohol-related visit to the emergency department at Mt. Nittany Medical Center are required to complete the BASICS program administered by Health Promotion and Wellness..

About the B A S I C S Program

The BASICS program uses a harm reduction approach and is designed to:

Students who have an alcohol policy/legal violation on or off campus, or have an alcohol-related visit to the emergency department at Mt. Nittany Medical Center are required to take B A S I C S. These students are mandated by Penn State’s Office of Student Conduct or Residence Life. Students may also be referred by a county or district magistrate.

Students who do not have a violation can attend BASICS for free.

Time Commitment

The B A S I C S program consists of two one-hour sessions with a Health Promotion and Wellness staff member. During the first session, you will meet individually with a staff member and complete an online questionnaire. You will also be screened for alcohol abuse, depression, and anxiety. At the second session, you will discuss your questionnaire and personalized feedback with the staff member. You will receive a personalized feedback report that includes a comparison of your drinking to other Penn State students. You will explore ways to reduce future health, social, and legal risks. Additional sessions beyond the first two may be required for some students.


Students who are required to complete the program, as described above, will also be required to pay a $250 fee. You may pay with cash, a check, credit card, or Lion Cash. Effective June 1, 2017, Health Promotion and Wellness will no longer be able to charge the fee to your student account. Students will need to pay for B A S I C S at the first session.

Students who self-refer to the program will not be charged a fee. Students who have been mandated to the program are not eligible for the self-referral option.

Students who are mandated must cancel or reschedule an appointment at least 24 hours before the scheduled appointment time to avoid a $100 no-show fee. If you miss an appointment and/or do not cancel or reschedule at least 24 hours prior to your appointment you will be charged a $100.00 no-show fee. You are responsible for paying this fee (with cash, a check, credit card, or LionCash) at the time of your appointment. If you are unable to pay the no-show fee at the time of your appointment, your appointment will be rescheduled.


BASICS is located in Health Promotion and Wellness, 201 Student Health Center.


The information you share during the BASICS sessions is confidential; however, we will disclose health information about you when required to do so by federal, state or local law. We may use and disclose health information about you when necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of the public or another person. Any disclosure, however, would only be to someone able to help prevent that threat. Mandated students will be asked to acknowledge a release of information statement that will allow B A S I C S staff to verify completion with the appropriate Penn State offices.

An Evidence-Based Program

Penn State’s B A S I C S program is based on a program created by Dr. Alan Marlatt (Former Director, Addictive Behaviors Research Center and Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington). The B A S I C S program is one of the most effective alcohol education interventions with college students. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (S A M S A) has recognized BASICS as an evidence-based model program.

Contact Us

If you have questions about these programs or about the use of alcohol or marijuana, you may also call HPW at 814.863.0461 or contact them by e-mail.

Additional information about alcohol is available on these websites: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Rethinking Drinking: Alcohol and Your Health.

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