Central PA Community Colleges

Central Pennsylvania is lucky to have a number of well respected colleges and universities in the area. But before heading straight for the big name school (with the big name tuition), smart students start their college education at one of the local community colleges. There are two community colleges in the area, Harrisburg Area Community College and Reading Area Community College. Both are commonly known by their respective nicknames, HACC and RACC and have been offering great educations to area students for decades.

Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lebanon, Gettysburg and York are all home to Harrisburg Area Community College campuses. As Central PA’s largest community college, HACC offers a myriad of educational opportunities in several communities. Established in 1964, HACC offers classes for transfer, associate degrees, diploma, and continuing education to over 15,00 students across ten counties. Of these students, approximately half will continue on to a four year institution. Programs of study can be found at http://www.hacc.edu/Academics/index.cfm and include the following:

Art: Visual Arts, Fine Art, Crafts Marketing, Jewelry Repair, Graphic Design, Photography
Biology: Biology, Bio Technology
Business: Accounting, Auctioneering, Business, Court Reporting,Entrepreneur, Finance, Management, Marketing, Real Estate
Communications and Foreign Language: Media Studies, Speech, Arabic, French, Spanish, German
Computer Technology: AOS, CIS/CISE, Computer Networking, Computer Repair Technician, Web Developer
Education: Early Childhood, Elementary Education
Engineering: Architecture, Bldg Construction, Civil Technology, CAD, Electronics, Engineering, G-Technology, Geospatial, Mech Design, Mech Drafting, Nanofabrication
English: English (reading, writing, literature); ESL
Global Studies: Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Gov’t and Politics, History, Military Science
Health Careers: Health career programs and Human and Social Services
Hospitality and Tourism: Baking and Pastry Arts, Culinary Arts, Dietary Manager, Hotel and Lodging Management, Hospitality Management, Restaurant and Food Service Management, Travel and Tourism
Human Development: Human Development
Humanities: Humanities, Philosophy, Music, Theatre
Legal Studies: Criminal Justice, Police Science, Paralegal Studies
Mathematics: Mathematics, Computer Science
Nursing: Nursing
PE, Nutrition, Health: Health, Nutrition, Physical Education
Physical Sciences: Astronomy, Chemistry, Geology, Environmental Science, Meteorology, Physics, Physical Sciences
Psychology: Psychology
Sociology and Human Services: Human Services, Social Services, Sociology
Technology: Automotive/GM, Cabinetry, Electrical Technology,
Fire Science, HVAC, Home Bldg & Remodeling,Independent Electrical Contractor, Industrial Automation, Industrial Maintenance, Metalworking, Welding

Benefits of attending HACC include an early admission program for high school seniors, honors program for exceptional students,tuition and the convenience of campus locations. Tuition is well below that of the state universities. HACC tuition is determined based upon what school district the student resides within. If the student resides within one of the 22 sponsored districts, the cost per credit is $92.50 per credit. For students residing in non-sponsored districts, the cost per credit is $171.00 per credit. Scholarships and financial aid are also available to those who qualify. Within the region HACC is well respected and a great choice for beginning or continuing your education.

The region’s other community college, Reading Area Community College or RACC, is located at 10 South Second Street in Reading, Pennsylvania on the banks of the Schuylkill River. Originally a hotel, RACC has grown since its inception in 1971 and now has seven buildings sprawled across campus. In order to meet the community’s educational needs, RACC offers a wide variety of programs of study for associate degree, certificate and diploma programs. The health careers programs, including the Registered nurse and medical laboratory technician program are popular. Nanoscience is a new cutting edge major offered at RACC. Other offerings include business administration, communications, social services and early childhood education. Complete academic offerings can be found at http://www.racc.edu/Academic/programs.aspx.

RACC is a great option because of their wide array of programs and because of the low cost of tuition. Residents of Berks County only pay $74 per credit for classes at RACC. Out of country students pay $148 per credit. These fees are significantly less that those at the state universities. There are also scholarships and financial aid assistance for those who qualify. For Berks County students, RACC is a great place to gain skills that will translate into a success career.

In the state of Pennsylvania, community colleges like HACC and RACC are great options if you plan to transfer to larger State Universities because of the State System of Higher Education Passport program. The passport program ensures that classes taken at Pennsylvania community colleges will transfer to State Universities without an issue. This is a great benefit to students to know that the classes they take at community colleges will count towards their bachelors degrees. Both HACC and RACC also have open enrollment, which means any adult with a diploma or GED is eligible to attend.

The mission of these two community colleges to offer high quality and affordable education to area residents is a great benefit to the residents of Central PA. As a former student of both, I appreciate the value of the education I received at these institutions and know that it was the right choice to choose a community college as part of my educational journey.