Friday, January 31, 2014

How to borrow your student loans responsibly

How should I pay for my college education? Is one type of financial aid better than the other? What do I need to do in order to apply for the right kind? These are just a few of the questions Peirce Financial Aid Specialist April Battle-Johnson answered at last night’s financial aid workshop, where students at all stages of their college career came to ask their toughest questions about paying for their education. In case you weren’t able to make it, we’re sharing some of the high points today.

The basics of financial aid

Students can receive financial aid to fund their education from the federal or state government, colleges and universities, private foundations, employers and private companies, and professional and service organizations. These can be:
  • Grants, scholarships, and merit awards, which you don’t have to repay as long as you meet the criteria.
  • Student loans and parent loans, which you do have to repay.
The National Student Data System (NSLDS) is a centralized national database that stores information on federal grants and loans (not private loans) to help you keep track of your financial aid. It shows how much aid you’ve received, and displays your current enrollment status. You can also look up your loan servicer (the company responsible for collecting payment on your student loan).

What it means to borrow responsibly

5 questions to ask before using information as an academic resource

The following is a guest post from Bart Everts, one of our Reference Librarians at Peirce College.

Say you’ve been assigned a research paper that requires you to use five accurate and reliable resources to back up your argument. If you’re like most of us, you’ll begin to look for those resources by entering a few search terms into Google. But how do you know if the information you find is reliable?

The ability to examine information and select sources that are reliable is called information literacy. To succeed in college and business, the ability to find, evaluate, and integrate accurate information is vital. With the amount of information available, it can be difficult to tell what is reliable and what is not. To ensure that the information you’re using comes from reliable sources, we recommend asking the following questions to help you navigate through the clutter and find the best resources.
  • Is the information current? Depending on the class, you might need an article written in the past year, or it might be OK to use materials published within the past decade. Information changes as new research is conducted and more facts are known. Ensure the resource you want to use meets the requirements your professor is looking for.
  • What are the writer’s qualifications? For college-level work, you want to know the writer has done their research. Most articles will include brief biographical information about the author, so read it over and verify that their expertise is in the correct field. When in doubt, your professor or a librarian would be happy to weigh in.
  • Is the information accurate? The best way to check for accuracy is to see if you can corroborate your resource with other resources. On the free web, if only one source is reporting information, it should alert your inner skeptic.
  • Is the information biased? Plenty of web pages contain factual information filtered through opinion or agenda. These days, even major news organizations (particularly cable sources) might report stories in a way that encourages taking a side. Be on the lookout for opinion passing as fact. Bias may also take the form of sponsored information or press releases.
  • Is the information useful? Finally, you need to make sure the information is useful for your assignment. An article might be interesting or touch on your topic, but how will it aid your paper’s thesis? If the information does not contribute in a meaningful way to your argument, you should not include it.
The Peirce College Library is here to help you find and evaluate quality resources. Feel free to stop by the reference desk on the 7th floor of College Hall or call us at 215.670.9269 with any questions.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Peirce College gives back to Philadelphia elementary schools on Martin Luther King Day of Service

We love giving back to the Philadelphia community. Many of our students, alumni, faculty, and staff have lived here their entire lives, and ensuring the area thrives is very near and dear to our hearts. That’s why we strive to give back all year round, but especially on the annual Martin Luther King Day of Service.

On Jan. 20, 19 members of the Peirce community, including our President and CEO Jim Mergiotti, went to Albert M. Greenfield School in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood and Henry H. Houston Elementary School in the Mount Airy section of the city. Volunteers painted, cleaned, organized, and helped upgrade the interior of the schools. Check out these shots we snapped of our volunteers getting involved:

Created with flickr slideshow.

We’re always looking for ways to help our community flourish, and are very proud that we could help out on Martin Luther King Day of Service. One of our core values is to encourage growth, and that happens inside and outside of the classroom. When it comes to volunteering, you get just as much as you give back.

If you’d like to join us in future volunteering efforts, send us an email and we’ll provide you with more information.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Hot occupations for college graduates in 2014

TOP JOBS: How you can get into one
of the top jobs of 2014
Good news; employers will continue to hire in 2014! Even better -- they will be looking for candidates with a broad range of skills to fill jobs across various industries. According to Kiplinger, "economic growth will strengthen in 2014, starting with first quarter and averaging about 2.6% for the year.” So what does this really mean? Jobs, jobs, jobs! But which jobs will be highest in demand?

Healthcare will continue to be one of the fastest-growing industries in 2014. The healthcare and social assistance sector is projected to grow at an annual rate of 2.6 percent, adding 5 million jobs between 2012 and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employees in health information technology, medical coding, and healthcare administration will be in demand, as home health aides, medical assistants, physician assistants, and physical therapists are at the top of the recruitment list. Registered nurses are also in demand at this time.

Additionally, CareerBuilder and EMSI (Economic Modeling Specialists, Intl.), have identified some of the hottest jobs in 2014 based on industry performance over the past three years, projected growth, and whether they fall within a higher-wage category of $22 per hour or more:

Monday, January 27, 2014

‘60 Minutes’ highlights how Year Up is reducing joblessness in the US

Fourteen million good jobs will go unfilled in the next 10 years. At the same time, 6.7 million young adults have the talent companies are looking for but don’t have the opportunity to start these careers. This dilemma is widely known as the opportunity divide, and its Year Up’s mission to close it by training young, often disadvantaged, job seekers to have the skills necessary to succeed in the positions companies are looking to fill.

60 Minutes” highlighted this mission and more in its segment on Year Up last night. It illustrates how young people are thriving as a result of the Year Up program nationwide, and the positive impact the program has made on Fortune 500 companies’ talent acquisition efforts. Since its founding in 2000, Year Up has served over 8,000 young adults. To learn more about Year Up, watch the segment in its entirety below.

Thanks so much to “60 Minutes” for featuring the Year Up program! For eligibility requirements and to learn more about Year Up at Peirce College, please click here.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Mark your calendars for new Session 3 workshops from the Walker Center

It’s time for a fresh start in the New Year! Session 3 has begun, and there’s still time to take advantage of resources available to students through the Walker Center for Academic Excellence.

We’re offering on-campus workshops about time management, strategies for classroom success, budgeting for financial stability, and much more this session. If you can't make it to campus, we're offering two online workshops as well. These are designed to help you develop good study habits and better understand how to achieve work-life balance.

To register for any of the workshops listed below, contact the Walker Center at 888.467.3472, ext. 9251, or email

Thursday, January 23, 2014

U.S. News names Peirce College to its Best Online Bachelor’s Programs list for third year in a row

U.S. News and World Report releases a list each year of the best online bachelor’s degree programs in the country to help students make smart choices about their online education. It’s a great honor that Peirce College’s online bachelor’s degree programs have been named to U.S. News’ 2014 list -- the third year in a row we’ve been included! U.S. News began creating these lists in 2012, and Peirce’s presence highlights the strength of our online degree programs.

Peirce College was among the first to pilot online classes in 1999 and began offering degree programs in 2000. Since the program’s inception, we’ve squarely focused on offering quality, affordable online education with flexibility that works for traditional and adult students alike. With 72 percent of Peirce students enrolled in at least one online course, we’re constantly working to improve our offerings to prepare students to meet employers’ needs.

For the full list and the methodology for how the rankings were created, visit U.S. News & World Report's website.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Meet PTC Philadelphia’s new Executive Director

is the new Executive Director of Year Up
At the beginning of the school year we told you all about our new partnership that brought Year Up’s Professional Training Corps (PTC) to Philadelphia to help close the opportunity divide for young people in the city. Year Up's mission is to close the opportunity divide by providing urban young adults with skills, experience, and support through a high support, high expectation model that combines marketable job skills, stipends, internships, and college credits.

And now we’re excited to introduce Diana Campbell as Executive Director of Year Up PTC Philadelphia, who will lead the charge and ensure young Philadelphians are given the tools they need to succeed. We’ve invited her to share a little bit about herself on the blog today.

Q: Can you share a little bit about your background with us?

A: Absolutely. Immediately before this position, I was Vice President of Teaching and Learning at the Philadelphia Education Fund right here in Philadelphia. I was the founding director of Philadelphia Teacher Residency Program, which is a program that helps people with strong math and science backgrounds, but no teaching experience, become math and science teachers in Philadelphia’s secondary public schools. We were partnered with University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and Drexel School of Education. The model was very similar to Year Up in terms of connecting talent to workforce needs and opportunities. Math and science education programming within and among universities has been a thread in my career pathway.

Q: Why are you excited about becoming the Executive Director of Year Up Philadelphia?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Peirce and The University of the Arts partner to increase students’ marketability

In today’s job market, employers are looking for a well-rounded skillset that showcases the value you can provide across multiple areas. Providing students with this breadth of knowledge has always been our mission at Peirce, and we’re continuing that rich tradition today by announcing a new partnership with The University of the Arts (UArts).

This partnership lets Peirce College students take select courses at The University of the Arts in fine arts, dance, graphic design, multimedia, music, photography, and theater, infusing their degree programs with electives that align with their personal and professional interests. Meanwhile, UArts students will be able to bolster their business background by taking a range of business, information technology, and healthcare courses at Peirce College.

By combining forces with our academic neighbor to offer a wide range of class offerings, students will be able to build their cross-functional skillsets, learn new subject matter, expand their academic experience, and ultimately improve their marketability to employers.

Classes in this partnership will begin this month, so speak with your Academic Advisor now if you’re interested in taking certain classes at UArts during the spring sessions. Peirce students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or above, earned at least 12 college-level credits, and completed any applicable developmental courses.

We also issued a press release today to share more on this exciting partnership. A full list of course offerings is available here. For more information, contact your Advisor at or 888.868.4269 ext. 9177.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Lifelong learner has no plans to slow his educational journey

LIFELONG LEARNER: Steve Amster has blazed an
educational trail for himself and his family
It’s not always easy to blaze your own trail. But those who do usually end up inspiring those around them to follow their own dreams. That’s the case for Steve Amster, a Peirce College graduate student who was a first-generation college graduate. Steve never gave up on his educational dreams and now he’s inspiring those around him to follow suit.

Steve was born in Philadelphia and grew up in northeast Pennsylvania. He moved to the Collegeville area and graduated from Methacton High School in 1988. He decided to attend Montgomery County Community College, majoring in Business Administration. However, he left school before completing his associate's degree and entered the workforce as a recovery analyst.

Ten years later, Steve had the opportunity to attend Peirce through his job at SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories. He wanted to complete the associate's degree he started so he could move up the ladder and provide a better life for his family. However, after completing a few classes, his company was sold and he wasn’t able to continue toward his degree. His educational dreams were once again placed on the back burner.