Classes begin Monday
Aug. 22, 2009
HARRISBURG – With the start of fall classes Monday, HACC is seeing a significant spike in enrollment to an anticipated enrollment of more than 21,000 students. However, the continuing state budget impasse is limiting the availability of classes and even limiting the number of classes students need.
“Many of our students cannot find openings in the classes they need, such as reading, English, math and some sciences,” said HACC President Edna V. Baehre, Ph.D., “and without our state funding in place, we can’t afford to hire the faculty to add more sections.”
What’s more, Baehre said, several hundred students are facing other problems related to the budget impasse due to the delay or elimination of certain state grants that provide transportation and child care support while the parents are in class.
“The net effect is that this budget crisis is shutting students out of the higher education they need and it is affecting the financially most needy students the hardest,” she said. “We will feel the effects of this stalemate for years to come. Given this huge increase in our enrollments it is quite clear that the public is choosing the community college as an affordable, cost-effective and quality option.”
Even public safety is being affected by the lack of state funding, according to Baehre. Some police continuing education programs are in jeopardy because the police departments don’t have the state funding needed to pay for their officers to attend.
 “We hope this problem will be resolved shortly and that Pennsylvania’s community colleges will receive full funding,” Baehre said.
Despite obstacles with the state budget, the Harrisburg Campus, enrollment is up 11 percent. Enrollment figures continue to fluctuate until the late fall semester, which starts Sept. 28.
At the Midtown site, about 1400 students will study in any of the 26 programs in building construction, computers or engineering and architecture or complete general education requirements.
At HACC’s other regional campuses, the York Campus remains the fastest growing campus with a record 33 percent increase in enrollment from last fall.
HACC’s Virtual Campus begins the academic year with an enrollment increase of 13 percent. Students in the Virtual Campus have access to a quality college education no matter where they are in the world – Baghdad, Mexico City or central Pennsylvania.
A new distance learning initiative through HACC’s Virtual Campus begins this fall with six entry-level classes offered in Juniata and Mifflin counties.
The Lebanon Campus is holding steady with about the same enrollment as last fall with more than 1,000 students. Many students at the Lebanon Campus look to nearby Lebanon Valley College, Elizabethtown College and Millersville University if they are transferring, with significant savings. HACC’s dual admissions arrangements with many four-year colleges and universities help students transfer without loss of credits.
The Lancaster Campus enters its 20th year with a 12 percent increase over last fall. Three major educational institutions joined the campus for a degree completer program: Elizabethtown College, Immaculata University and Penn State York, all three offering certain bachelor’s degree programs.
Classes will start Aug. 31 at the Gettysburg Campus, where there is a 13 percent increase in enrollment. Students will attend classes in the newly expanded and remodeled campus. A new program in Mechatronics – a high-demand technical field combining mechanical systems and electronic controls – is offered at the Franklin County Career and Technology Center (FCCTC) in Chambersburg.
Classes in Hanover continue at South Western High School and Hanover Hospital Community Health and Education Center.
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