HACC to shut its student’s mental health services amid budget problems

It is no secret that the higher education system today, irrespective of the country, demands a lot from students. Hence there are numerous reports of students suffering from panic attacks, depression, anxiety and even suicides in extreme cases. On one hand, we have this pressing issue, on the other hand, Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) has decided to shut down its on-campus counseling services for the students. 

Student enrollment has been massively hit this year. Meanwhile, universities and colleges offering 3 or 4-year programs are focussing on providing their students with mental health services because they have the finances to do so. However, community colleges are massively underfunded and with a downfall in the student enrollment, they have no choice other than to close their mental health counseling services.

HACC is Pennsylvania’s biggest community college

The enrollment in HACC has fallen by almost 3000 students in the past 5 years. To add more to its misery, the reputed community college already faces a fiscal deficit of almost $10 million for the year 2019-20. Thus, the board decided to stop providing mental health services in order to continue to provide quality education to its students.

According to the president of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), Kevin Kruger, community colleges, in the upcoming time, will be the first to take away their mental health and campus counseling services. 

As per NASPA’s survey in 2019, the number one issue raised by the students was mental health. 28% of student-affairs professionals opted for mental health services over other pressing issues like low enrollment or increasing drop out/incompletion rates. 

The HACC statement also explained that the faculty and staff members of HACC will work with the students more carefully and provide with every facility they possibly can. 

Today, out of 50 states, Pennsylvania stands at 49th position in terms of college fundings. Under those circumstances, community colleges are bound to be poorly funded. As per the reports too, community college fundings have not been revised for a long time.