HACC moves into the last stage of the three-year reorganization plan to ensure growth and sustainability
HARRISBURG – The Board of Trustees of HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, adopted a $178-million balanced 2014-15 budget today, Tuesday, May 6, 2014, that will ensure the College remains on a path to long-term fiscal stability.
Adoption of Budget
“For 50 years, HACC has provided an accessible and affordable quality educational experience,” said HACC President John J. “Ski” Sygielski, Ed.D. “Despite less revenue from enrollment and local sponsoring school districts, HACC has approved a balanced budget.”
The adoption of the balanced budget includes the following strategies:
- Implementing cost-saving initiatives
- Implementing a modest tuition increase
Implementing cost-saving initiatives
HACC has been proactively adjusting the way business is conducted by taking into consideration the economic trends and environmental needs affecting everyday business. The following changes and project implementations will result in ongoing savings, collegewide efficiency and continued sustainability:
- Terminated Leases: On Jan. 1, 2014, HACC’s collegewide administration relocated from leased spaces in Penn Center at 349 Wiconisco St. and Campus Square at1426 N. Third St. to a permanent location at the Ted Lick Administration Building on the Harrisburg Campus of HACC. Cancelling the lease contracts will save the College more than $930,000 for fiscal year 2014-15.
- Information Technology: HACC recently changed Internet service providers, which will save the College an estimated $72,000 annually and increase network storage expansion from 250 megabytes (MB) to 400 MB. The network storage expansion will allow the College to experience system reliability and ease of operations, which will assist in communication efficiency.
- Energy Savings: HACC signed new contracts with Constellation New Energy and PPL Energy Plus, with an expected savings of approximately $375,000 over three years. In addition, the College will be able to implement energy efficiency strategies and monitor its energy usage.
- Going Green: The College has made great efforts in sustainability with its “Green and Healthy HACC” initiative. In addition to the numerous efforts HACC is making collegewide, paperless time reporting for all noncredit faculty and lockbox payment submission has been implemented, resulting in overall efficiencies, savings, an increase in cash flow and a reduction in payment errors.
Implementing a modest tuition increase
The Board of Trustees voted to increase tuition by $10 per credit for sponsored school district students, $6 per credit for all other in-state students and $9 per credit for out-of-state and international students. The technology fee will increase by $2 from $20 per credit hour to $22 per credit hour.
“HACC strives to keep tuition as affordable as possible,” Sygielski said. “To help students with the cost of tuition and books, we encourage them to apply for scholarships provided by generous donors to the HACC Foundation.”
The next scholarship application cycle for HACC Foundation scholarships is Monday, Aug. 4 through Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014.
HACC, like many community colleges, experienced a decrease in enrollment due to the continuing effects of the economy. Limiting tuition increases and focusing on enrollment growth while striving to minimize the increasing burden on our students remain the College's goals.
- Local Sponsoring School Districts: In March 2014, Senate Bill 874 was passed. The bill formalizes a four-year agreement with the 22 sponsoring school districts defining the financial support they will provide to the College’s operating budget. As part of the agreement, sponsoring school districts will reduce their support by $2 million in fiscal year 2014-15.
- Stagnant State Support: State funding has remained stagnant for the fourth straight year, and there can be no assurance that financial support from the Commonwealth will continue at present levels.
“In this case, the law is catching up to reality. The reduced levels of support are the unfortunate result of a constrained fiscal environment at the local and state levels. It is the College's hope that a state plan to adequately fund higher education is implemented in the future," Sygielski said.
Student Success and Investment
The 2014-15 budget maintains the College’s fiscal stability by strengthening and investing in marketing initiatives to support an increase in enrollment. It provides resources to strengthen student support services and help close achievement gaps.
- Student Success: HACC has established a partnership between the Lebanon Campus and Virtual Learning (HACC’s online courses) to enhance student learning opportunities in the Lebanon community through the use of academic technology. While students are getting started at the Lebanon Campus, many are not completing their degrees. To address this issue, HACC is pursuing innovative course scheduling and delivery based on students’ needs to encourage degree completion at the Lebanon Campus.
- Marketing Initiatives: HACC hired Interact Communications in July 2013 to re-evaluate the College’s advertising, branding, marketing and public relations efforts, with the goal to retain students and increase enrollment by a minimum of 2 percent in the next fiscal year.
Interact used online and telephone surveys, interviews, focus groups, on-site campus visits and a communications audit to develop a marketing campaign, which launched in April 2014.
- Strategic Funding: The College allocated strategic funds to implement several recruitment and enrollment initiatives that will focus on:
- Increasing credit-hour enrollment
- Mobilizing a team throughout communities to target prospective students
- Implementing the use of new recruitment software, which will assist in tracking and managing prospective students, provide efficient communication techniques and monitor progress and effectiveness
- Initiating the Starfish Retention Services software package – through a cooperative partnership with the Pennsylvania Commission for Community College – with beta testing to begin in June 2014. The software will provide an intuitive means of matching students with the services they need for success at HACC and monitor their performance, while bringing resources together in one platform to enhance the student experience and to promote student success
- Communication Center: The Office of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services focused its budget on the enhancement of telecommunications through a “Communication Center,” which allows questions related to all areas of the enrollment process to be answered efficiently and effectively.
Maintaining Quality Workforce
In the 2014-15 fiscal year, eligible HACC employees will receive a 2-percent wage increase, effective July 1, 2014. For impacted faculty only – employees whose salaries have not yet reached a predetermined target dollar amount in comparison to similar institutions – there will be an additional 0.5-percent increase to ensure salary equity.
Mission and Vision for the Future
The College’s mission statement distinguishes HACC as the first choice for a quality and accessible higher education opportunity. The vision statement expresses that HACC will create opportunities and transform lives to shape the future.
“The adoption of the 2014-15 budget will assist us in bringing our mission and vision statements to life,” said Sygielski.
HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, offers more than 150 career and transfer associate degree, certificate and diploma programs to nearly 20,000 students at campuses in Gettysburg, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lebanon and York and through online classes. In addition, HACC serves more than 29,000 students in noncredit workforce development, public safety, adult basic education and continuing education programs offered at all campuses and off-site locations in many communities in Central Pennsylvania. For more information on how HACC is uniquely YOURS, visit www.hacc.edu.