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23 October 2019

HACC Addresses Student Success and Wellness through Range of Services

HARRISBURG, Pa. – HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, continues to address the needs of students by providing a range of vital services to support their academic success. While the College needs to be fiscally responsible and modify or eliminate certain services, it is doing so with students’ academic success and well-being at the forefront.
Clarification of Counseling Services
The safety of HACC students, employees and visitors is a top priority for the College. Any student who expresses intent to harm themselves or others receives immediate help through HACC’s established crisis protocol, which includes HACC’s security and student affairs employees.
HACC faculty counselors and student affairs employees follow these protocols to ensure that students feel safe and supported:
  • Student is in crisis – If a HACC employee is involved in a situation in which a student may be a danger to themselves or others, the employee contacts campus safety and security for assistance.
  • Student requires non-crisis clinical mental health counseling – If a HACC employee interacts with a student who demonstrates concerning behavior but does not pose a threat to themselves or others, the employee:
    • Refers the student to the campus dean of student affairs or their designee, who then makes the appropriate referral
    • Reports behavior using the College’s behavioral report form
  • Student has concerns that do not involve crisis or clinical mental health counseling – If a HACC employee interacts with a student who may need support or guidance that does not involve a crisis or clinical mental health counseling, the employee connects the student with the campus advising office. In this office, a faculty counselor or advisor provides the appropriate support and guidance.

Faculty counselors at HACC do not offer clinical mental health counseling. Instead, they support students’ needs for:

  • Goal setting, academic planning, advising and college success skills
  • Career and transfer exploration
  • Listening to concerns
  • Balancing college and life demands that may cause stress or anxiety
  • Connections to local and community resources for food insecurity, housing needs, domestic violence situations and ongoing counseling support

HACC has connections with providers and community health partners that accept referrals of students without insurance. Further, all students who need clinical mental health services are referred to accessible community resources regardless of their insurance status. Because HACC does not provide medical services, the College does not track whether or not students have medical insurance or receive Medicaid.
The decision to end clinical mental health counseling resulted from an internal review of counseling data and HACC’s reorganization. HACC is one of four community colleges in Pennsylvania to outsource mental health counseling.
By eliminating 20 faculty counselor positions as of October 2020, the College will save approximately $2.4 million in salaries and benefits. The majority of the services provided by faculty counselors were unrelated to clinical mental health services. In 2018-19, faculty counselors provided these services to less than 1% of HACC’s 17,000 students. The additional responsibilities of the faculty counselors will be reassigned to other positions as part of the reorganization.
One-Stop Destinations for Student Services and Support
Among recent changes to better serve students is the renovated Bruce E. Cooper Student Center on HACC’s Harrisburg Campus. The center re-opened in August 2017 as a one-stop destination for students to meet with admissions counselors, register for classes, apply for financial aid and pay tuition. Student services like veterans affairs and disability services are easily accessible in the center.

The $12-million renovated center also includes an updated student lounge, student-run restaurant and student club space. It is a hub for free math and English tutoring, student-focused activities and a welcoming space for group gatherings. More than 7,500 students and countless visitors come to the Bruce E. Cooper Student Center each year.
HACC’s renovation of the Bruce E. Cooper Student Center has not impacted tuition increases or the budget deficit. Instead, it has improved the quality of student life collegewide – especially since services are centrally located.
The College financed $10 million of the renovation costs for the Bruce E. Cooper Student Center. The first debt service payment was funded by the HACC Foundation. HACC has submitted a second request to the HACC Foundation to pay for the next payment in the amortization schedule. Because the debt service has been paid with funds from the HACC Foundation, it has not impacted the budget deficit. Student tuition is currently not paying this debt service.
Expanding the services offered in the College’s learning centers and welcome centers into one-stop hubs is part of HACC’s reorganization.
Campus Improvements
In order to increase access to a high-quality affordable college education, HACC secured nine bonds between 2009 and 2016 for acquisitions and improvements at the College’s five campuses prior to the renovation of the Bruce E. Cooper Student Center.

The following chart gives the total debt service payments that were due before the College received any state reimbursement for the acquisitions and improvements. The state reimbursed HACC on average between 25% and 37% of bond payments, thus reducing the amounts of the College’s obligation.

Fiscal Year Debt Service Payments
2008-09 $6,990,440.51
2009-10  $7,480,302.47
2010-11  $9,252,283.25
2011-12  $9,023,354.23
2012-13 $13,159,766.47
2013-14 $14,794,677.81
2014-15 $12,365,515.92
2015-16 $12,509,978.33
The cost of debt service payments of the nine bonds (not including the Cooper Student Center) is included in HACC’s operating budget as part of its effort to improve and innovate programs and services to students.
About HACC
HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, is the first and largest of Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges. HACC offers approximately 100 career and transfer associate degree, certificate and diploma programs to approximately 19,000 students. Also, the College serves students at its Gettysburg, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lebanon and York campuses; through virtual learning; and via workforce development and continuing education training. For more information on how HACC is uniquely YOURS, visit Also, follow us on Twitter (@HACC_info), follow us on Instagram (@HACC_edu), like us on Facebook ( and use #HACCNews.
About the HACC Foundation
The HACC Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was established in 1985 to raise private and corporate revenues in support of HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College. The HACC Foundation provides funding for student scholarships, innovative academic programs, state-of-the art training equipment and modernized facilities. To learn more about the HACC Foundation, please visit To contribute to the HACC Foundation, please visit

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