“This budget reflects the concerted effort of the college community, including students, faculty and staff, to keep tuition as affordable as possible while maintaining HACC’s high educational standards,” Sygielski said.
“The loss of revenue includes Gov. Corbett’s proposed reduction of 3.8 percent in funding in 2012-13 to the operating budgets of community colleges, bringing the state’s support to less than 1995-96 levels,” he said.
“We experienced a slight decrease in enrollment that further contributed to a decrease in revenue,” Sygielski said. “After more than a decade of double-digit growth, enrollment of 22,595 credit students in fall 2011 was 2.6 percent lower than enrollment of 23,210 in fall 2010.”
The board voted to increase tuition by $3 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. Sygielski said, “We know the tuition increases will present a financial hardship for many of our students. We will work with them to apply for scholarships provided by generous donors to the HACC Foundation.”
In addition, on Feb. 27, 2009, the Student Government Association (SGA) Executive Council passed a resolution to approve the increase of the student activity fee by 50 cents annually over the next four years. The HACC Board of Trustees voted to approve this SGA resolution on April 7, 2009. The first increase was instituted in 2009-10. The year 2012-13 will be the final year of the four-year increase. The remaining fees for 2012-13 will stay at the current levels.
Reduction in workforce
The board approved a modified organizational structure, which will result in a reduction in workforce. “The Cabinet and I implemented many strategies before realizing that we would have to eliminate filled positions to bring the budget into line. Unfortunately, even the personnel reductions were not enough, and the 2012-13 budget still has a deficit of $357, 670,” Sygielski said. “This is in sharp contrast to the $11.4-million deficit in the 2012-13 budget proposal we faced in January when it was initially developed,” he said.
Sygielski said he will not name the positions nor give the number of positions that will be eliminated by June 30. “Our employees deserve to hear this information first and to hear it from the college,” he said. He said the impacted employees and their departments will be notified by May 24.
“Eliminating filled positions was a last resort,” Sygielski continued. “The decision to do so has been heart wrenching and heartbreaking. Frankly, this decision – more than any other – has kept me and the Cabinet members up at night.”
Vision for the future
Since July 2011, Sygielski has held numerous internal and external open forums; conducted many meetings with students, employees, and supporters of the College; and solicited comments through online forms. In January 2012, he convened an efficiency task force of representatives from across the college to suggest ways to change the institutional structure to better serve the needs of students. During February and March, Sygielski led open forums at each of HACC’s campuses in Gettysburg, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lebanon and York to present various models proposed by the group.
Sygielski said today’s actions came “after many months of intense work on the part of students and employees. We developed a plan that will allow us to better achieve our core mission of providing our students with a quality education. There is a new normal in higher education and we will need to continually be resolute in adjusting to the needs of our students and those we serve in the community. Going forward, we will have to look for new sources of revenue to accomplish that.”
About HACC: HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, was established in 1964 as the commonwealth’s first community college. HACC offers nearly 200 associate career and transfer degrees, certificate and diploma programs to more than 22,000 credit students in a 10-county area with regional campuses in Harrisburg, Gettysburg, Lancaster, Lebanon and York, and an online Virtual Campus that reaches students on a global scale. In addition, HACC is Central Pennsylvania’s premier workforce development provider with more than 50,000 students enrolled in areas such as job training, customized company contracts, public safety, healthcare, technology, trades and computer training. For more information, go to www.hacc.edu or call 1-800-ABC-HACC (1-800-222-4222).