HCC's History


Harford Community College celebrates a significant milestone in 2017: its 60th anniversary. In a formal announcement to explain the need at the time for a junior college in Harford County, the Board of Education stated in 1957, “Excessively high costs and overcrowding at regular colleges are tending to prevent a large number of worthy Harford County youth from continuing their education beyond high school.”

To meet the need, the College opened its doors in September 1957 at Bel Air High School with 119 credit students and 16 faculty members. Tuition for a full-time student was only $7 per credit hour. The first graduating class consisted of four students. From the very beginning, not only did young people enroll at Harford, but nontraditional-aged students continued their education there as well.

The Board of Education purchased the present campus site near Bel Air, Maryland, because it was centrally located and provided easy accessibility. In September 1964, Harford Junior College moved to its current location with three new buildings (Aberdeen, Bel Air and Maryland Halls), four converted buildings, and one temporary building.

The institution continued to grow, and in 1971 became Harford Community College. By the time HCC celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1982, it enrolled over 10,000 students in a variety of credit and noncredit courses and occupied a 204-acre campus. At that time, HCC charged $22 a credit hour.

Although the College has seen many changes over the years, the mission to provide low cost, local education has remained virtually the same. The College’s current mission statement reads, “Harford Community College provides accessible, innovative, learner-centered educational opportunities. As an open-access institution, the College promotes graduation, transfer, individual goal attainment, and career and workforce development. The College fosters lifelong learning, global awareness, and social and cultural enrichment.”

In May 2013, a Towson University building located on the HCC campus was opened. This $28 million facility allows Harford Community College students to earn their associate degree at HCC and then complete their bachelor’s degree at Towson University without having to leave our campus. Undergraduate degree programs they offer include Business Administration (management concentration), Family and Human Services, Information Technology, Integrated Early Childhood Education/Special Education, Nursing, Psychology, and Sociology (criminal justice concentration).

HCC has continued to expand to meet the needs of the community it serves. The College now enrolls more than 8,900 credit students each year, and tuition is currently $124 per credit hour – still an excellent value. The campus now occupies 350 acres and has 21 buildings totaling over 332,000 assignable square feet. HCC is one of the county’s largest employers with more than 1,000 full- and part-time employees.

The College has grown in many others ways as well. Today, Harford has a very large Continuing Education and Training program that enrolls more than 11,000 noncredit students a year. Program offerings are periodically reviewed and new courses are developed to meet changing needs. Harford offers programs in professional development and workforce training, health care and human services, community education, and literacy.

In addition, the College offers an extensive selection of cultural programs and special events for adults and children. Over the years, HCC has hosted such renowned performers as the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The Washington Ballet, Philadelphia Dance Company, The St. Petersburg Ballet, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Opera Verdi Europa, Russian American Kids Circus, the National Players, and the New Shanghai Circus. More contemporary acts have included a cappella phenoms Straight No Chaser, country pop stars Rita Coolidge and Kathy Mattea, bluegrass legends The Seldom Scene, comedians Paula Poundstone and Caroline Rhea, and many others. With the addition of the APG Federal Credit Union Arena at Harford Community College in 2012, larger venue entertainment offerings have been possible for a wide variety of acts such as The Harlem Globetrotters, Andy Grammer, KC and the Sunshine Band, Travis Tritt, Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood, Craig Morgan, and Trace Adkins. In 2015, the College launched LIVEatHarfordCC.com, a user-friendly website that showcases all of our concert, performance, exhibit, and community event information in one convenient place.