Parent Newsletter
Spring 2017, Issue 2View past issues

Contents

  • Spring Commencement
  • Parent Initiatives
  • College Store
  • Dining Services
  • Res Life
  • Counseling Services
  • Financial Aid
  • Facilities & Events
  • What It Means to Be NCAA Division III

Spring Commencement

Commencement

Is your student graduating this May? Spring 2017 Commencement will honor graduates during three separate ceremonies, all taking place at the Community Arts Center:

  • Friday, May 12, at 3 p.m. for graduates in the schools of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies and Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communication
  • Saturday, May 13, at 10 a.m. for graduates in the schools of Construction & Design Technologies and Health Sciences
  • Saturday, May 13, at 1:30 p.m. for graduates in the schools of Business & Hospitality and Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies

Special seating requests (such as accommodations for a wheelchair or a walker) should be made at Commencement rehearsal. Rehearsals will take place on April 24 and 25, at 3:30 p.m. at the Community Arts Center. After that, requests may be made by calling the Registrar’s Office at 570-327-4772. Special seating requests should be made prior to the Commencement ceremony so that the Community Arts Center can properly accommodate the request.

Parent Initiatives

Join the Penn College Parents Facebook Group! The group is a great resource. It is a place to ask questions, get advice, and share your experiences as a Penn College parent.

College Store

Penn College Book Store

The College Store reminds all that Spring Semester Textbook Rentals are due back to the Store by the end of final exams. Avoid penalties and fees by ensuring rentals are returned on time.

The College Store will be conducting the end of semester textbook buyback starting April 26 and running through the end of final exams. Sell unwanted textbooks to the store, even those titles you bought from other sellers, and receive CASH on the spot.

The College Store annual Sidewalk Sale will be held the afternoon of Thursday, April 27. Sidewalk Sale merchandise will be 50%-75% off.

Dining Services

Wildcat Wishes Featured Package

Exam Cram - $20
Exam Cram

Exam coming up? This snack pack will help your student "power" through their exam. Package includes Pop-tarts, microwave popcorn, Snickers bar, Nutri-Grain bar, Power Bar, almonds, and two Rockstar energy drinks.

Order this package   See Additional Packages

Res Life

End of Year On-Campus Residence Hall Closing Procedures

Saturday, May 6 - The residence halls close at 10 a.m. for all students or 24 hours after a student’s last final exam (whichever comes first).

At the end of the academic year, residents are expected to follow standard procedures for closing down their apartment and checking out. Failure to follow closing procedures may result in charges being assessed to the residents of a particular apartment. The closing process begins a few weeks prior to the end of the spring semester and concludes after residents vacate the apartment. The closing process involves the following steps:

  1. Resident Assistants meet with each apartment resident to complete a closing contract and to perform a pre-inspection of the room/apartment (the last few weeks of the spring semester).
  2. Cleaning: All rooms/apartments should be cleaned prior to move-out to avoid cleaning charges. Cleaning supplies are available in complex offices.
  3. Checkout Options:
    1. Express Checkout - Residents drop off their keys at a designated location when they are ready to leave. Residents who choose an express checkout waive the right to appeal damage and cleaning charges.
    2. Long Checkout - Residents schedule an appointment for a room/apartment inspection with a Resident Assistant 24 hours prior to the time they plan on leaving.
  4. Post Inspection: All rooms/apartments are inspected by Residence Life and General Service staff after residents vacate the apartment.

Counseling Services

Countdown to Final Exams and Summer Break

Spring has arrived on the Pennsylvania College of Technology campus, and students are beginning to focus on the end of the semester and the well-deserved break that follows. This is a time in the academic year when students may experience anticipation about the summer break and anxiety about what they need to do before they can relax. Papers and final projects are due; final exams consume the last week of school. Students cope with academic stress in a variety of ways – some more effectively than others. You may sense that your son or daughter is struggling, or you may receive a more direct message such as a frantic call in the middle of the night. Either way, this article provides ideas about how to help your son or daughter successfully navigate the academic challenges ahead. You may find that some of the ideas help you as well!

Your first response when your son or daughter is upset may be to give advice. Certainly, you will want to do just that. However, do not underestimate the value of simply listening. Often having the opportunity to vent and perhaps get a little support and sympathy can reduce stress and allow your student to refocus on schoolwork. If you believe that a little advice will be appreciated, read on!

Often the best approach is to be proactive – talk with your son or daughter before you notice a problem. You may want to include the following hints in your conversation. Encourage your son or daughter to:

Maintain healthy self-care habits. Eat sensibly – a balanced diet will provide all the necessary energy needed during the day. Be mindful of the effects of excessive caffeine and sugar on nervousness. Be sure to get sufficient rest at night.

Get organized. Develop a schedule of daily activities that includes time for work, sleep, relationships, and recreation. Use a daily "things to do" list. Set realistic and attainable goals. Be careful of procrastination – breaking tasks into smaller units and prioritizing will help get things done.

Practice time management. Allow plenty of time to get things done. Plan his or her schedule ahead of time.

Learn to relax. Throughout the day, take “minibreaks." Sit down and get comfortable, slowly take a deep breath in, hold it, and then exhale very slowly. Unwind by taking a quiet stroll, watching a sunset, or listening to calming music.

Exercise. Physical activity provides relief from stress. Develop a regular exercise program to help reduce the effects of stress before it becomes distress. Membership in the Penn College Fitness Center is free to all students. This is a great opportunity!

Talk to friends. Friends can be good medicine. Daily doses of conversation, regular social engagements, and occasional sharing of deep feelings and thoughts can reduce stress quite nicely.

Take advantage of Penn College’s resources and support services. This could be the most important piece of advice that you can give your son or daughter.

  • Classroom instructors – Instructors are available to assist students when they are having trouble understanding the course material and are often willing to work with students who have fallen behind in their work. However, students need to let instructors know when they need help. Instructors have regular office hours and can be contacted via email.
  • Academic Success Center – Located in Room 141 of the Klump Academic Center (ACC), this office offers workshops, tutoring, and personalized attention to any Penn College student.
  • Counseling Services – Located in Room 204 of the Bush Campus Center. Counselors are available to assist students with academic and personal issues.

A few students sail through finals week with no visible signs of stress. Many, if not most, students experience low to moderate levels of stress, which fade quickly once the week is over. However, some reactions to finals week, and the end of the semester in general, are longer lasting. If your son or daughter has not done well academically, he or she may remain stressed even after finals are over.

It is important to note that academic stress can trigger a more serious response. Depression and anxiety are not uncommon in the college population. Symptoms such as decreased energy, changes in sleep and appetite, lack of interest in interacting with friends and family, sad or anxious moods, and hopelessness lasting more than two weeks may be signs of a more serious problem. Community resources are available if you feel like your son or daughter may need professional help. Experiencing final exams is a rite of passage for all college students. And, though it may not seem like it in the moment, the week passes quickly and students are free to enjoy a well-deserved break.

Financial Aid

What the SIS Can Tell You

Your student and, if s/he gives you guest access, you, can learn a lot about the status of your student’s 2017-18 FAFSA and financial aid awards from the College’s Student Information System (SIS). Note that different types of aid are awarded at different times; refer to this timeline for detail.

After accessing SIS:

  • Go to ‘Financial Information’
  • Proceed to ‘View Financial Aid Information’
  • 'Continue’ to the ‘Financial Aid Award Summary’ for 2017-18

Here you can learn about the following information:

  • FAFSA
    • 'Received' or 'Not Received'
    • 'Complete' or 'Incomplete'
  • Federal Verification
    • ‘Verification Required,’ ‘Verification Received,’ ‘Verification Processing,’ or 'Verification Complete'
  • Federal Direct Loan and Private Loan Status
    • 'Received' or 'Not Received'
  • Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan
    • Credit check: 'Approved,' 'Denied,' or 'Not Received'
    • Master Promissory Note (MPN): 'Received' or 'Not Received'
  • Grants, Loans, Scholarships, and Veterans Benefits Award Amounts Once They Have Been Awarded
    • Click on 'Grants' and then 'PHEAA (PA State Grant)' to learn if and why a PHEAA Grant is on a 'Hold' status
  • Estimated Cost of Attendance (COA)
    • Tuition and fees are estimated for 15 credits a semester
    • Tuition and fees will be underestimated for students who enroll in more than 15 credits a semester

Encourage your student to always check the SIS before contacting the Financial Aid Office. You also can have your student give you guest access so you too can check his or her financial aid status.

Pennsylvania Residents and PA State Grant News

During May, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) will notify students with a complete FAFSA about their 2017-18 state grant eligibility. First-time students must also have completed their Pennsylvania State Grant Form in order for PHEAA to determine eligibility. In May, PHEAA will email students and parents via the email addresses provided on the FAFSA or on PHEAA’s records. The PHEAA emails will direct students to its secure Account Access site to learn about eligibility. Later in May, after PHEAA notifies all students, the Financial Aid Office will receive students’ PHEAA State Grant award and eligibility information, which students can then view via the SIS.

Per PHEAA regulations, the Financial Aid Office must then do further review of all students awarded by PHEAA. If we determine a student does not satisfy all policies, we must inform PHEAA, which will then reduce or remove the award. The most common PHEAA policies are:

  • PHEAA Satisfactory Academic Progress (for those that had a previous PHEAA award)
  • Limits on the number of semesters of PHEAA Grants in a program of study
  • Distance Learning Policy

Now is a good time for first-time students to make sure that their State Grant Form is complete by logging on to Account Access, found at www.pheaa.org. If not complete, follow the directions as quickly as possible.

Students beyond the first year are sometimes selected for a PHEAA process called ‘Validation’ or PHEAA may have questions that need answered before it can determine eligibility. When this happens, PHEAA will email or send a paper letter that states what is needed. If you or your student have any questions about the State Grant Form or Account Access or any communication from PHEAA, contact PHEAA at 800-692-7392.

Also, note that the email 'domain' that PHEAA uses is @pheaa.org. You and your student should “whitelist” this domain in both of your email accounts so PHEAA messages will not go to Spam or Junk folders.

IRS DRT Is Unavailable

Avid readers of prior parent newsletters as well as those very familiar with the FAFSA know what a big time-saver the Internal Revenue Service Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) is when completing a FAFSA. Unfortunately, the IRS DRT has been unavailable for several weeks due to security concerns. A recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Education states that the DRT will not become available again until the start of the next (2018-2019) FAFSA season, which is October of 2017.

While the temporary inability to use the IRS DRT on a FAFSA is unfortunate, students and parents may still complete a FAFSA, correct a FAFSA (if needed), and complete the process for Federal Verification if selected. For any questions about the FAFSA or Verification process, contact the Financial Aid Office.

Facilities & Events

Penn College Summer Camps

High school students can experience Penn College’s unique majors and explore our degrees that work® with these fun, interactive, and hands-on summer camps.

Campers earn valuable scholarships! Penn College tuition scholarships are offered to students entering grades 9-12 who complete these camps.

Detailed camp information, workshop descriptions, registration form, and photos from past camps are available online. Camps focus on:

  • Architecture
  • Automotive Restoration
  • Culinary & Baking
  • Engineering
  • Gaming & Information Technology
  • Graphic Design
  • Health Careers
  • Horticulture
  • Law
  • …And More!

What It Means to Be NCAA Division III

NCAA Division III

As many of you know, Penn College is a member of the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) within NCAA's Division III.

But do you know what that means?

Most of us hear news and watch highlights from NCAA Division I schools (like Penn State, Pitt, Notre Dame, etc.). Athletics in Division III is much different than at these large, scholarship-driven institutions. At Penn College, and in Division III, the student-athlete experience is primarily about their academic pursuits. We don't offer scholarships and virtually all students will go professional in some other field.

We are committed to providing a rewarding experience that enriches and promotes academic and athletic success, sportsmanship, fair play, accountability, amateurism, integrity, and teamwork for student-athletes. Our Coaches and Athletic Department always place academic success, fair and equitable treatment, and the health and welfare of student-athletes first in all decisions. While we are most proud of our student-athletes when they walk across the stage at graduation, we are also delighted at their success on the court or field.

Learn more and follow the Wildcat teams on the Athletics website.

Want more? Read daily news items at PCToday, the source for news and information at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

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