Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

HACC announces tuition increases, cost cuts to close budget gap

HACC’s Midtown 2 building in Harrisburg

HACC has adopted a spending plan for next school year that will raise some tuition rates modestly and freeze many full-time salaries to close a substantial budget gap.

The five-campus community college announced late today that its board of trustees approved a $140 million budget for the 2019-20 academic year that will raise tuition an average of 2.1 percent.

The budget includes a $5-per-credit-hour increase for non-sponsoring school district campuses and out-of-state tuition rates. Tuition would not increase for HACC’s 22 sponsoring school districts, which include most districts in the immediate Harrisburg area.

“The 2019-20 budget reflects initiatives to increase revenues as well as several cost-saving measures,” said HACC President John J. “Ski” Sygielski.

HACC faced a revenue shortfall of about $9.7 million for the next school year, according to the college.

The tuition increase will yield additional revenue of $1.2 million, according to HACC. Last year, HACC raised tuition an average of 2.9 percent for the current, 2018-19 academic year.

HACC also plans internal cost-savings measures to save another $5.5 million. These include freezing salaries of employees earning more than $40,000 annually, freezing or eliminating current open positions and increasing minimum class sizes.

Employees earning less than $40,000 a year will receive a 2-percent salary increase, according to HACC.

The remaining deficit of almost $2.8 million will be covered by drawing on HACC’s reserve fund balance, Sygielski said.

In a press release, HACC stated that it suffers from issues similar to colleges throughout the country.

“Over the past decade, HACC, like other colleges and universities across the commonwealth and nation have seen a decline in their student enrollment, having a profound impact on our financial operations,” Sygielski said. “During the same time period, for example, HACC has experienced a 25-percent reduction in enrollment, a significant reduction in financial support from sponsoring school districts and very modest increases in state funding.”

Sygielski also stated that HACC is developing a new organizational structure, a “one college philosophy,” which should be fully implemented by the end of next year.

“We anticipate the new structure will better align our employee complement with the changing needs of our students and the business community and reflect current enrollment trends,” he said.

In addition to its Harrisburg location, HACC has campuses in Gettysburg, Lancaster, Lebanon and York. For more information, visit

Continue Reading