Page 18 - Campus Technology, October/November 2020
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Student Services
4) Run Contests and Hand Out Money
Earlier this year, HACC ran contests to give away tuition money. First, it was $500 for entries that asked students to post videos about how the pan- demic affected them. Then it was $1,000 for filling out a form. Then 40 $2,000 scholarships were given away for the fall semester. More recently, the school handed out 100 $500 tuition give- aways to current students.
“It caused a good buzz,” said Ski. “Our students raise families, work jobs and come to HACC to create a better future. The pandemic has left some current and future students unemployed or caring for family at home. A $2,000 giveaway covers nearly nine credits and can have a life- changing impact on a student.”
The contests are also a way to draw in stu- dents who might be “on the fence,” Ski offered. “We’re hearing a lot of people talk about taking a gap year. I don’t know what they would do in a gap year since nothing’s really open. But if they’re an incoming freshman or sophomore, maybe they’ll decide to take a couple classes at HACC and transfer those classes when the four- year schools open up. It’s an opportunity to come to HACC, see that they can do a lot here instead of going to their four-year school. So we’re happy about that.”
Funding for all of these was provided by the HACC Foundation. “I’ve worked at three institu- tions, and this truly has been the most generous, the most thoughtful, the most caring, the most creative, most innovative foundation board that I ever worked for,” Ski asserted.
Then there have been the other donations:
• A $100,000 contribution from HACC’s Student Government Association has provided stu- dents with resources to address food and housing insecurity and financial crises through a new Consultation, Advocacy, Referrals and Empowerment (CARE) Center, set up by HACC to connect students remotely to resources in
the community and at the college;
• 50 $100 gift cards from PNC Bank to help stu-
dents with food, housing and other necessities;
• Portions of federal stimulus checks from two
Remote drop-in advising appointments are available online or by phone.
generous employees to assist students with
tuition; and
• Five full-ride scholarships to future students
who are frontline workers or unemployed.
5) Forgive Loans
The foundation also provided more than $70,000 in “fresh start grants,” intended to eliminate the past-due balances of 515 students who were financially affected by the pandemic. For some of them, the balances may have been as low as $20, said Ski. But even that amount can be “insurmountable” for people who have been laid off or are suffering from other economic set- backs, he suggested. “[We don’t want to] hold them back from applying.”
For similar reasons the college has done away with application fees. “We heard from students that it was more than they could handle,” he said. “They had to cover bus fare. They had to take care of their kids’ daycare. They had food and shelter to pay for and all the rest of it. To burden them with a $20 or $30 fee that could stop them from applying, changing their lives, finishing their degrees — $20? Really?”
6) Broadcast Availability of Advising
The same week in March that the college moved to remote delivery of instruction, it also launched its “remote drop-in advising.” Advising appoint- ments are available online or by phone. The count increased from about 700 in February to

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