Jan. 28, 2004
More than 14 thousand students started their spring semester at the four campuses of Harrisburg Area Community College. That total maintains the record pace of the fall semester which saw enrollments topping 14 thousand for the first time.

For the same period last year, the spring semester enrollment is up 11.5 percent overall with the largest percentage increases coming at the Lancaster Campus.

The Wildwood Campus in Harrisburg enjoyed a 5.8 percent increase over the previous spring bringing the total in Harrisburg to 8,490 students. The Wildwood Campus is also adding additional classrooms at space in the Penn Center complex at North Third and Wiconisco Streets in Harrisburg. The newly renovated complex once housed the Polyclinic Hospital nursing education building.

"We're very pleased with the enrollment increases," said Dr. Edna V. Baehre, president of HACC. "We've made a concerted effort to keep a quality education affordable and accessible, and these increases are a tribute to the hard work of our faculty and staff.

"The enrollment increases are certainly welcome," said Baehre, "but they come with some concerns as well."

Chief among those concerns is the impact of the state's education budget.

"The recent budget didn't keep pace with the growth in our enrollment," Baehre said. "We're actually getting less money per student than we have in previous years. We certainly hope the state's fiscal situation will improve with an economic rebound and look forward to full funding moving forward."

The Lebanon Campus currently is just shy of the one thousand student mark with 980 enrolled as of this morning. That is nearly a 12 percent increase from last Spring's enrollment figure.

"While 60% of the student body at Lebanon HACC is attracted to our college's career programs, the balance of our students are using the Lebanon Campus to pursue their interests in general studies or degree programs that they can then transfer as a junior to a four-year college," said Tony Filippelli, dean of the local campus. "Since the fall of 2000 we have experienced an increase in the number of full-time freshman and full-time sophomores while also experiencing an overall increase in total enrollments of 34.4%. The campus's growth since the fall of 2000 has been remarkable, and we're very excited to now serve so many Lebanon County students who are realizing the true value of starting a four-year degree program at their local two-year community college."

Lancaster continues to set the pace for growth with a 28 percent increase from the previous spring. The Lancaster campus now has 3,329 students. The Lancaster Campus will have additional space for continued growth in the fall when an additional building is completed. The new building will more than double the size of the campus.

"The Lancaster Campus is appreciative of the continued support of the Lancaster County community," said Dr. Michael Klunk, dean of the Lancaster Campus. "We're looking forward to the opening of the new east building in August, bringing an emphasis to studies in allied health and workforce and economic development projects."

More than 80 programs of study are available at HACC's Lancaster Campus, including careers listed among the Lancaster Workforce Investment Board's top 25 "gold collar" jobs.

Gettysburg is also seeing double digit growth with a 16.4 percent increase over the previous spring. The Gettysburg Campus is now home to 1,212 students.

"I attribute Gettysburg's strong showing to a high retention rate of transfer students who are taking more courses and staying longer before transferring to four-year colleges that are more expensive and less accessible," said Jennifer Weaver, dean of the Gettysburg Campus.

The college's year-old initiative in York continues to grow with nearly 400 students attending college classes at Dallastown Area High School and West York Area High School.

"We're pleased with the early success of the program, although we aren't surprised," said Jean Treuthart, Director of the York Program. "HACC has always had a strong base of York County students. With classes closer to home, we're able to provide educational and training opportunities to a growing number of residents."

The College is currently reviewing the potential for a permanent location in York to accommodate increasing enrollment.

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