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September 08, 2016

Area colleges reach out to students caught in ITT Tech shutdown

Education College
ITT shutdown Sept 7 2016 Hayden Mitman /PhillyVoice

The ITT Technical Institute, near Seventh and Chestnut Streets in Philadelphia, sits shuttered on Sept. 6.

Several higher education institutions in the region are reaching out to students displaced by the recent shutdown of ITT Technical Schools.

Peirce College in Center City is offering a free course as a way to allow them to continue their education.

Announced Tuesday, ITT's shutdown has left more than 35,000 students with a school and more than 8,000 employees without a job.

Peirce has a long history of working with adult education students and offers online and on-campus classes that can nearly mirror what had been offered at ITT, according to Rita Toliver-Roberts, vice president of academic advancement for the college.

"I think we will be a good fit for these students," she said in an interview Wednesday.

ITT students interested in continuing their education at Peirce will meet initially with a counselor to determine whether any ITT course credits may transfer and figure out what other academic courses are required to earn a degree, Toliver-Roberts said.

"It's not a one-to-one thing," she said. "We have to look at each individual."

In a statement, ITT Educational Services Inc., blamed the "actions of and sanctions from" the U.S. Department of Education, for ending the school's approximately 50 years of operations. On Aug. 25, the DoE halted ITT's ability to enroll new students using federal financial aid, as officials said the school "had become a risk to students and taxpayers."

ITT was also ordered to pay $152 million within 30 days to help cover student refunds and other liabilities if it closed, according to the Associated Press.

To make a transfer to Peirce easier, Toliver-Roberts said ITT students can apply at no cost. Students will be provided a free course — a "Peirce College Success Seminar" mandatory for all students — as well as $100 in vouchers for school books.

The course offers information on the school, programs available to students and information about financial aid programs to help students decide if Peirce is right for them, according to Toliver-Roberts.

"We want to make sure that we are there for students who are going through this disruption," she said.

Peirce has scheduled an ITT Tech Student Information Session at its 1420 Pine Street campus provide prospective ITT students with more information about available academic programs.

The Community College of Philadelphia is also seeking to make it easier for former ITT students to resume their studies. It will hold a "Fast-Track to Enrollment for ITT Students Day," on Tuesday, Sept. 13 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the school's main campus, on 17th Street between Spring Garden and Callowhill streets. Register for the event, here

In the suburbs, Montgomery County Community College plans information sessions about its programs and opportunities. Students still have time to enroll this fall in MCCC’s 10-week courses that begin on Sept. 28 and 7-week courses that start on Oct. 26. Winter session classes begin on Dec. 22.

The first information session will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 14, from 4 to 7 p.m. at MCCC’s West Campus, North Hall Gallery, 16 High Street, Pottstown. Register here.

The second session will be held on Thursday, Sept. 15, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Central Campus, Advanced Technology Center, Room 101, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Register here.

Representatives from MCCC’s academic advising, financial aid and admissions departments will be available to answers questions and provide direction.