2021-2022 HCC Catalog & Student Handbook 
    
    Oct 16, 2021  
2021-2022 HCC Catalog & Student Handbook

Student Services



The mission of the Student Services Division is to foster a learning environment that supports students in their educational journeys. This includes engaging students in innovative co-curricular programs and providing exceptional support services to promote their intellectual and social development.

Student Services Contact Center

The Student Services Contact Center provides information and registration assistance to future, current and returning Houston Community College students. Students may email inquiries online to student.info@hccs.edu, or chat live via our homepage with a Student Information Representative regarding registration, admissions, academic, and student services. Information and answers to frequently asked questions can be found 24 hours a day, seven days a week through our SWOOP ChatBot. More information regarding the Student Services Contact Center can be found at www.hccs.edu/support-services or by calling 713-718-2000 (select Option #1) from 8 a.m. - 7 p.m., Monday - Friday excluding holidays and closures for professional development.

Student Orientation

New students entering as freshman or transferring to HCC with less than 12 semester credit hours are required to attend New Student Orientation (NSO). NSO is offered online through the student checklist. For more information about NSO, please go to the “Student Sign-In” section of www.myeagle.hccs.edu, login to the student account, and view Student Center.

Before signing-up for an NSO session, students must complete the following:

  • Provide proof of bacterial meningitis vaccination to the Admissions & Records Office.  Additionally, HCC follows state and federal law in requiring all students enrolled in health-related higher education courses which will involve direct patient contact with potential exposure to blood or bodily fluids in educational, medical, or dental care facilities to receive additional vaccines.
  • Students in qualifying health-related courses must have vaccines against tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis vaccine (Tdap), measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, and varicella, subject to certain limited exceptions. Some programs require hepatitis C and influenza vaccinations and tuberculosis testing. Students with questions about their program of study and its requirements should contact their program director. Contact information for the program directors can be found on each academic program’s page, located at https://www.hccs.edu/programs/.  For more information on requirements, exemptions, and required documentation, visit www.hccs.edu/applying-and-paying/meningitis.
  • Submit official high school transcripts to Admissions & Records Office. For information on how to submit transcripts to HCC, visit www.hccs.edu/resources-for/current-students/transcripts.
  • Submit SAT and/or ACT test scores to Admissions to determine placement or waivers.
  • Complete the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) Assessment to determine college readiness, unless the student qualifies for an exemption. A list of TSI exemptions is available at www.hccs.edu/applying-and-paying/tsia-exemptions. If a student is not exempt from the TSI, that student must first take the Pre-Assessment Activity (PAA) test. For more information on the TSI and PAA, visit www.hccs.edu/departments/division-of-instructional-services/hcc-texas-success-initiative-assessment.
  • Complete the Career Assessment through the Career Coach website at www.hccs.emsicc.com. The Career Assessment is a sixty-question assessment to give students insight of their potential academic pathways and career options.

New Student Orientation will provide information about academic programs, academic and student support resources, requirements, and student life. Students will:

  • Become familiar with financial services, payment options;
  • Learn about Title IX and about the institution’s sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking policies
  • Learn the name and contact information of the institution’s Title IX Coordinator
  • Learn how to file a Title IX complaint
  • Receive advising and counseling services. Once the online NSO is completed, a student can meet with an Academic Advisor to discuss and plan courses for their first semester.

After completing the online orientation and meeting with an Academic Advisor, students need to:

  • Get an HCC Student ID (see Student Identification Card section below); and
  • Purchase textbooks (see Bookstore information).

Students should note that certain Health Sciences programs and other separately accredited programs may have separate orientation sessions.

For International student orientation information, please see the International Services and Programs: Check-in and Orientation for International Students section of this Handbook or visit www.hccs.edu/support-services/international-students/orientation.

For potential and returning students of the Adult Education program, Orientation, and Registration must be completed at www.hccs.edu/programs/adult-education/take-a-txchse-or-esl-class/orientation-registration-schedule. Call 713-718-5381 for more information.

Student Identification Card

Student identification (ID) cards are required once a student has registered and paid for classes. The card will be needed for library and computer lab usage, admission to college activities, and voting in campus elections. ID cards are non-transferable and are to be held only by the students to whom they were issued. Students may obtain their HCC ID card by visiting the West Loop Campus on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Student IDs may also be obtained at any of the other campuses operating a photo ID station. Check with the Campus Manager for the location and hours of campus photo ID stations. Students are always required to be in possession of their ID card. All ID cards are the property of HCC and must be shown when requested by a representative of HCC. If students lose their ID cards, they should report it to the HCC Police Department by calling 713-718-8888 as soon as it is discovered as missing. To obtain a replacement ID card, students must initiate the process at the college campus they attend. A nominal fee will be charged for the replacement of lost ID cards. For information on how and where to get a student ID, visit www.hccs.edu/support-services/get-your-student-id.

Mandatory Student Training

To promote safety and well-being, HCC includes the following student trainings to be completed annually. These trainings include:

Title IX for students
This training educates students on prevention and safety strategies regarding sexual assaults on campus, as well as educating students on how to report concerns to the appropriate campus authorities. The full training is included as a section in the New Student Orientation. 

Campus Carry
Texas Senate Bill 11, also referred to as Campus Carry, has been in effect at Houston Community College since August 1, 2017. SB 11 authorizes a concealed handgun license holder to carry a concealed handgun on the campuses of Texas public or private colleges/universities. All students are required to complete Campus Carry training within their first semester of enrollment. Failure to do so will result in a registration hold subsequent semesters.

Financial Aid Loan Exit Interview
If students are graduating, withdrawing, or dropping below half-time (six credit hours), they are required to complete Federal Direct Stafford Loan Exit Counseling. Click here for more information on this requirement. HCC will receive the results the next business day.

Advising Services

Advisors provide one-on-one advising support for students, assist with pathway planning, and provide information about institutional and external resources available to students.

HCC requires all new students to enroll in a Student Success Course the first semester. The course assists students with identifying a program or area of study and plan their degree path. Once a student has selected a program of study (major), the student is assigned to an Academic Advisor based on his/her declared program of study. If a student plans to transfer to a four-year college or university, it is important to identify an institution(s) to ensure the student is completing the appropriate requirements to transfer. All students are assigned an Academic Advisor, excluding transient students.

Please visit www.hccs.edu/support-services/advising for more information regarding advising services and contacting an advisor.

International students can locate their DSO/International Student Advisor by visiting: www.hccs.edu/support-services/international-students/international-advisors.

Counseling Services

The mission of the HCC Counseling Department is to provide holistic support for students pursuing their educational goals. In order to accomplish this mission, HCC will provide a full range of professional services, including personal and mental health counseling, substance abuse counseling, ADA and Tile IX accommodations, career counseling, academic skills enhancement, outreach programming, consultation, and crisis intervention. Counselors are available by appointment during the following hours:

Monday-Thursday 8 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Walk-in-hours vary across campuses.

To see a list of HCC counselors and their contact information, please visit www.hccs.edu/support-services/counseling.

Information regarding ADA counselors is located in the Ability Support Services: ADA Counselors section of this Handbook below.

Information regarding Title IX contacts is located in the Equal Educational Opportunity Statement section of this Handbook.

Ability Support Services

Services for Students with a Qualified Disability

Houston Community College (HCC) views equal access as a shared responsibility between HCC and the student. HCC recognizes students with disabilities as a valued element of diversity and ensures that no academically qualified student with a disability will be denied access to or participation in the services, programs, and activities of HCC. HCC makes its campuses and programs accessible to individuals with disabilities.

ADA Accommodation Process for HCC Students

The Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities and requires postsecondary institutions to provide accommodations when a student discloses a disability. In college, students with disabilities are covered under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which also prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities, and under the Americans with Disabilities Act. HCC’s obligations under these laws are different than what students will have experienced during high school. HCC’s objective of reasonable accommodations in college is to accommodate the functional limitations of the student while maintaining the integrity of college courses and programs. Colleges provide reasonable accommodations, and not modifications, to courses in accordance legal and policy requirements.

Student’s Responsibility

Obtaining reasonable accommodations is a process that is voluntary on behalf of the student and is interactive. It is the student’s responsibility to self-identify, disclose his/her disability or condition to the Ability Services Office, provide the appropriate documentation from a qualified professional, usually a physician or clinician, with a diagnosis of his/her disability(s), and request reasonable accommodations. The Ability Services Office, in communication with the student and instructor, if necessary, will issue a letter detailing the student’s approved reasonable accommodations. Once the ADA accommodation letter is received by the student, the student should contact his/her instructors at the start of the semester and present the letter to them. Accommodation letters are not retroactively applied. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate his/her questions or concerns associated with his/her accommodation letter to the Ability Services Office in a timely manner. Due to high demands for services, HCC strongly encourages students to request accommodations before the start of each academic term. Failure to provide sufficient documentation or timely request accommodations may delay the delivery of accommodations. Returning students should contact the Ability Services Office at the beginning of each semester to receive their reasonable accommodation letters. Additional documentation may be requested if students request to change their existing accommodations. If a student is having trouble reaching their campus’ Ability Services Counselor, they may also contact another available Ability Service Counselor of the Director of Counseling and Ability Services.

Online Students and ADA Accommodations

Students enrolled in all online classes may utilize the same or comparable support services that are afforded to all HCC students. Students only enrolled in online classes may request their accommodation in the same manner as students taking classes on the college’s premises. Students can schedule the required appointments with any of the Ability Services Offices. Although we recommend face-to-face appointments, these appointments may be done via telephone, video conference, or in another format that suits both the Ability Services Office and the student. Once the student receives the accommodation letter, the student must still sign the letter and then present it to the online instructor for the courses in which the student desires accommodation-normally via e-mail. Students are urged to follow-up with the instructor regarding the accommodation(s) and determine whether technical support will be needed to implement the accommodation(s). If the student or instructor needs assistance with this process, they may contact the Ability Services Office that provided the accommodation letter.

Dual Credit Students and ADA Accommodations

Students enrolled in dual credit courses may utilize the same or comparable support services that are afforded to all HCC students. Students are required to self-disclose with the appropriate HCC Ability Services. Coordination of required accommodations will be afforded through a collaborative effort between HCC and the student’s governing high school institution, such as his/her school district. Dual credit students may request accommodations in the same manner as other HCC students. Students can schedule the required appointments with the Ability Services Office they are referred to by their high school. Although we recommend face-to-face appointments, these appointments may be done via telephone, video conference, or in another format that suits both the Ability Services Office and the student. Once the student receives the accommodation letter, the student must sign the letter and present it to the instructor-whether in person or by e-mail. Students are urged to follow-up with the instructor regarding the accommodation(s) and determine whether technical support will be needed to implement the accommodation(s). If the student or instructor needs assistance with this process, they may contact the Ability Services Office that provided the accommodation letter.

Examples of Reasonable Accommodations

Examples of accommodations students have received include, but are not limited to, extra time for testing, use of a tape recorder in classroom, Sign Language interpretation or CART services, preferential seating in the classroom, and alternate textbooks.

ADA Counselors

The point of contact for the HCC students with a qualified disability seeking accommodations under the ADA is the Ability Services Office. The Ability Services Offices are located at each of the six colleges. For the list of ADA counselors and their contact information, visit www.hccs.edu/support-services/ability-services.

Students who are only enrolled in online classes can contact any of the ADA counselors to request ADA accommodations.

Grievance and Appeal Process

Reports of discrimination based on disability may be directed to the ADA/Section 504 coordinator. HCC designates the following person to coordinate its efforts to comply with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, which incorporates and expands the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended:

David Cross, Director EEO/Compliance, Title IX Coordinator/Section 504 Coordinator
Office of Institutional Equity
3100 Main, Suite 702
Houston, TX 77002
713-718-8271 or institutional.equity@hccs.edu

More information is also available at the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) website: www.hccs.edu/departments/institutional-equity.

A student who is dissatisfied with the outcome of the investigation may appeal through the applicable grievance policy beginning at the appropriate level.

A student also has the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights.

Child Care, Minors, and Relatives on Campus

HCC’s Central College normally offers childcare through a private vendor at a discounted rate for all HCC full- and part-time students and staff at the YMCA at HCC Child Development Lab School. The center typically serves children six weeks to five years of age, Monday thru Friday, 7 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. The Lab School’s staff are not supervised by HCC but are expected to follow the guidelines of developmentally appropriate practices and state licensing.

For more information, call 713-718-5437 for enrollment information.

The YMCA also runs a drop-in childcare center during limited hours for the children of students at HCC’s Southeast College. For more information on the YMCA, please see the Houston Community College section at of www.ymcahouston.org/programs/child-care/early-care/locations.

Childcare assistance is also available through Workforce Solutions. For more information on eligibility criteria, visit www.wrksolutions.com/for-individuals/financial-aid/financial-aid-for-child-care.

Otherwise, as stated in Board Policy GDA(LOCAL), minors and relatives requiring special care shall not be permitted on College property unless they are directly supervised by a parent, legal guardian, or responsible adult. Minors and relatives of College employees requiring special care shall not be allowed in college work areas. Minors and relatives of enrolled students requiring special care shall not be permitted in classrooms unless they are invited by the classroom instructor for instructional purposes.

Relatives requiring special care shall mean any person connected with another by blood or affinity that requires continuous health or medical-related assistance due to a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional condition.

The parent, legal guardian, or responsible adult must be present at all times whenever the minor or relative is on College property. These requirements shall not apply to minors enrolled in courses or to minors participating in College-sponsored events or activities.

The College shall not be responsible for the care and supervision of minors or relatives of employees or enrolled students and shall not be liable for any injury or harm to minors or relatives that result from the negligence of care by the responsible party.

Testing

The Testing Center is responsible for the administration of various assessment tests and providing accommodations to those who qualify. Assessment tests are given to incoming and current students for the purpose of determining course placement. Testing schedules will vary, and not all tests are available at each college. For a list of testing center locations and hours of operation visit www.hccs.edu/resources-for/current-students/testing-services.

Special accommodations at testing centers are available for those who qualify. HCC students with a qualified disability seeking accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should contact one of the Ability Services Offices located at each of our six colleges. These counselors can give students information about testing accommodations. For the list of counselors and their contact information visit www.hccs.edu/support-services/ability-services.

Alumni Association

The HCC Alumni Association is open to all graduates of HCC certificate and degree programs, former and current students who have successfully completed at least twelve hours at Houston Community College. The mission of the association is to promote meaningful engagement and continuing relationships between HCC and its alumni through programming and membership. The HCC Alumni Association strives to support, serve, inform, and involve alumni of the College, ensuring they have a lifetime connection to HCC and its mission.

For additional information, visit www.hccs.edu/alumni.


Veteran Services

Veteran & Military-Affiliated Students

Veteran and/or Military-Affiliated Students who plan to use VA/GI Bill® and/or State of Texas Hazlewood Act educational benefits must follow the steps outlined in the applicable HCC enrollment checklist described elsewhere in this Handbook. Further information is available at VMASS Resource Centers on campus, on the website at www.hccs.edu/support-services/veteran-affairs, or by phone at 713-718-8522.

 “GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.”

Residency & Tuition / Veteran & Military-Affiliated Students

Military personnel, as defined by Texas Education Code Section 54.241, their spouses and dependent children may be entitled to pay tuition and fees at an institution of higher education at the rates provided for Texas residents in certain circumstances and regardless of the length of time the person or persons has/have resided in the state. For more information on Exemptions and Waivers, visit www.hccs.edu/resources-for/current-students/student-financial-services/waivers-and-exemptions.

Veteran and/or Military-Affiliated students may be required to file a “Letter of Intent” with the institution to establish residency and reside in Texas while enrolled at the respective institution. In such cases, the “Letter of Intent/Non-Resident Waiver” form should be submitted to the HCC District Office of Veteran & Military-Affiliated Student Success (VMASS) prior to the start of the enrollment term, but no later than the College’s Census Date (refer to HCC Academic Calendar for respective date(s)). Additional documentation that may be required includes, but is not limited to: Military Identification Card, Official Military Orders, DD Form-214, or other official substantiating documentation.

For requirements on resident tuition, Military personnel, Veterans and/or Military-Affiliated students should check with the HCC VMASS District Office and refer to the applicable statutes found in the Texas Education Code at www.statutes.capitol.texas.gov and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Rules at www.thecb.state.tx.us.

The HCC VMASS District Office is located at 3220A Main Street and can be contacted by phone at 713-718-8522.

Applying for Education Benefits / Veteran & Military-Affiliated Students

Students applying for Federal VA education benefits should submit the following documents to the HCC VMASS District office:

  1. Complete the appropriate application for Educational Benefits to obtain the appropriate Certificate of Eligibility (COE) and submit a copy of it.

    Application for VA Education Benefits (VA Form 22-1990)
    www.va.gov/education/apply-for-education-benefits/application/1990/introduction

    Application for VA Education Benefits under the National Call to Service Program (VA Form 22-1990N)
    www.va.gov/education/apply-for-education-benefits/application/1990N/introduction

    Application for Family Member to Use Transferred Benefits (VA Form 22-1990E)
    www.vets.gov/education/apply-for-education-benefits/application/1990e/introduction

    Dependents’ Application for VA Education Benefits (VA Form 22-5490
    www.va.gov/education/apply-for-education-benefits/application/5490/introduction

    Dependents’ Request for Change of Program or Place of Training (VA Form 22-5495)
    www.va.gov/education/apply-for-education-benefits/application/5495/introduction

    Request for Change of Program or Place of Training (VA Form 22-1995)
    www.va.gov/education/apply-for-education-benefits/application/1995/introduction

    Disabled Veterans Application for Vocational Rehabilitation (VA Form 28-1900)
    www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/about/feature?feature=vocational-rehabilitation-and-employment
     
  2. Submit the DD-214 member 4, 2, or 7. DD-214 member 1 is not acceptable.
  3. Submit official transcripts from all schools attended, including military technical schools and/or non-accredited schools:

    To request military transcripts for Army, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard: www.jst.doded.mil

    To request Community College of the Air Force transcripts: www.airuniversity.af.edu

The HCC VMASS District Office is located at 3220A Main Street and can be contacted by phone at 713-718-8522.

Hazlewood Act Eligibility & Required Documentation / Veteran & Military-Affiliated Students

The Hazlewood Act is a State of Texas benefit that provides qualified Veterans, spouses, and/or dependent children with an education benefit of up to 150 hours of tuition exemption, including most fees, at public institutions of higher education in Texas. This does NOT include living expenses, books, or supply fees.

For more information, please see www.tvc.texas.gov/education/hazlewood-act.

To be eligible, a Veteran must:

  • At the time of entry into active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, have designated Texas as Home of Record; or entered the service in Texas; or was a Texas resident;
  • Have received an honorable discharge or separation or a general discharge under honorable conditions as indicated on the Veteran’s Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD Form 214);
  • Served at least 181 days of active duty service (excluding training);
  • Currently reside in Texas;
  • Have no federal Veteran’s education benefits, or have no federal Veterans education benefits dedicated to the payment of tuition and fees only (such as Chapter 33 or 31, for the term or semester enrolled that do not exceed the value of Hazlewood benefits);
  • Not be in default on a student loan made or guaranteed by the State of Texas;
  • Enroll in classes for which the College receives tax support (i.e., a course that does not depend solely on student tuition and fees to cover its cost), unless the College’s governing board has ruled to let Veterans receive the benefit while taking non-funded courses; and
  • Meet the GPA requirement of the institution’s satisfactory academic progress policy in a degree or certificate program as determined by the institution’s financial aid policy and, as an undergraduate student, not be considered to have attempted an excessive amount of credit hours.

Required Hazlewood Documents for Veterans

To comply with the requirements of the Texas Veterans Commission, during or before registration, Veterans or qualifying dependents must present the following documents to the HCC VMASS District office:

  • The member 4 copy of DD-214 (separation papers). DD214-member 1 is not a valid DD-214 for use of educational benefits.
  • Provide proof of eligibility or ineligibility for Chapter 33, from VA office in Muskogee, OK, if the Veteran served after 09/11 and separation. In the event the Veteran is eligible for chapter 33, the cost of enrollment for the term may not exceed the value of Hazlewood (COE is required). Veterans may request a copy of their benefits eligibility letter by submitting a request through the VA’s Ask a Question website at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.
  • A completed formal application for Hazlewood Act benefits. Applications are available at the HCC VMASS District office or a student may also download the application from the Texas Veterans Commission website at www.tvc.texas.gov/education/hazlewood-act.
  • Veterans must also provide a copy of their Hazlewood Online Database Report available at www.hazlewood.tvc.texas.gov/students.

NOTE: Veterans may use the Hazlewood Exemption in conjunction with other VA education benefits and Pell Grant, if eligible. However, compliance with the “default loan” clause will be verified by the school.

For additional support and/or information, please contact VMASS by phone at 713-718-8522, on the website at www.hccs.edu/support-services/veteran-affairs, or visit the District Office at 3220A Main Street.

Spouses and/or Children Required Hazlewood Documents

The military member’s 4 copy of DD-214 (separation papers). DD214-member 1 is not a valid DD-214 for use of Educational Benefits.

A letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs Office stating the parent or spouse died as result of service-related injuries or illness, is missing in action, or is considered totally disabled for purposes of employability as a service-related injury or illness.

Provide proof of eligibility or ineligibility for Chapter 33 from the VA office in Muskogee, OK, if the Veteran served after 09/11. In the event the Veteran is eligible for Chapter 33, the cost of enrollment for the term may not exceed the value of Hazlewood (COE is required). Please request an education benefits letter by calling 1-888-442-4551.

A completed formal application for Hazlewood Act benefits. Applications are available at the Veteran Services department. Applications are also available at the Texas Veterans Commission website at www.tvc.texas.gov/education/hazlewood-act.

Students must provide a copy of their Hazlewood Online Database Report available at www.hazlewood.tvc.texas.gov/students.

Further information is available at VMASS Resource Centers on campus, on the website at www.hccs.edu/support-services/veteran-affairs, or by phone at 713-718-8522.

Transferability of Benefits (Legacy) Documents

Eligible Veterans may assign unused hours to a child under certain conditions. Applications are available at the Veteran Services department and are also available at the Texas Veterans Commission website at www.tvc.texas.gov/education/hazlewood-act.

  • The following documents are required:
  • Copies of birth certificate, marriage certificates, or tax returns may be requested.

NOTE: The Veteran’s member 4 copy of DD-214 (separation papers). DD214-member 1 is not a valid DD-214 for use of Educational Benefits.

Transfer / Veteran & Military-Affiliated Students

Transfer students should submit all academic transcripts from both accredited and non-accredited schools (to include military technical school credits/transcripts).

All academic transcripts (from both accredited and/or non-accredited schools) should be received and evaluated by HCC prior to selecting courses (when possible).

Further information is available at VMASS Resource Centers on campus, on the website at www.hccs.edu/support-services/veteran-affairs, or by phone at 713-718-8522.

Priority Enrollment / Veteran & Military-Affiliated Students

Houston Community College offers priority registration to Veteran & Military-Affiliated students prior to the general student population. Students should refer to the HCC Academic Calendar at www.hccs.edu/student-experience/events-calendar to find the appropriate Priority Registration date(s).

Veteran & Military-Affiliated students choosing to exercise “Priority Enrollment” must provide appropriate documentation to HCC VMASS District office to ensure the respective student is identified within the HCC student information system prior to the start of each term.

Further information is available at VMASS Resource Centers on campus, at the District Office at 3220A Main Street, on the website at www.hccs.edu/support-services/veteran-affairs, or by phone at 713-718-8522.


International Services and Programs (ISP)

Contacting International Student Services and Programs

Individuals seeking to enroll at HCC as F-1 students should contact International Services and Programs at 713-718-8521, or oiss.international@hccs.edu. Prospective students may also learn more at www.hccs.edu/international.

F-1 International Students

Houston Community College (HCC) considers students holding a non-immigrant visa to be an international student. Prospective students maintaining any other type of visa status, except F-2 and B (visiting) visas, may enroll at HCC as permitted by U.S. federal law. The student should contact for the Office of International Services and Programs for admission instructions and meet the published application deadline.

International students who want to study in the U.S. with an F-1 status must obtain a Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Certificate of Eligibility, also referred to as a SEVIS Form I-20, from HCC. HCC has been approved by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to issue SEVIS Form I-20s required to obtain F-1 student status. The individual must then use the SEVIS Form I-20 to apply for an F-1 student visa (if outside the U.S.) or a change of non-immigrant classification to F-1 (if inside the U.S.). U.S. federal regulations require all applicants to provide certain documentation and information to the college issuing the SEVIS Form I-20 before it can be issued to a student. To apply for a SEVIS Form I-20, please refer to the “International Students” section of the HCC website (see link below) and follow the outlined application guidelines.

An international student under the age of eighteen who wishes to gain admission to HCC must provide documentation proving that he/she has achieved the equivalency of a U.S. high school diploma in his/her country by completing a transcript evaluation with an approved evaluation agency. F-1 students must maintain full-time status, which is defined as being enrolled in a minimum of twelve semester credit hours for the spring and fall semesters or a minimum of nine semester credit hours for the summer term, provided in that case that summer is the initial semester of enrollment at HCC.

International Student Advisors/Designated School Officials (ISA/DSO) report all changes in enrollment status pertaining to F-1 internationals (both students and alumni) to DHS as required by U.S. federal law.

F-1 international students must adhere to the U.S. federal regulations governing their nonimmigrant status while studying in the U.S. Non-compliance could jeopardize an F-1 international student’s ability to remain in the U.S and complete his/her studies at HCC. Students with questions may schedule an appointment with International Services and Programs (ISP) to discuss their options.

For more information, see www.hccs.edu/international.

Full-Time Enrollment Requirements for International Students

In order to maintain their visa status students must comply with requirements set by HCC and/or the federal government. Effective Fall 2017, F-1 international students must earn letter grades (A, B, C, D or F). A grade of a “W” (withdrawn) or “FX” (failing due to non-attendance) will not count towards the full-time enrollment requirement. “W” or “FX” is not considered a valid letter grade and demonstrates the student is not maintaining F-1 immigration status.

F-1 students must maintain at least twelve credit hours during the fall and spring semesters (nine credit hours during the summer, provided this is their first semester of attendance at HCC). In a manner consistent with federal requirements, international students holding an F-1 visa are limited to no more than the equivalent of one class or three credit hours of distance education (online class) per semester that will count towards the full-time status.

Concurrent Enrollment for F-1 International Students

An F-1 student maintaining his/her F-1 status at another educational institution and wishing to be concurrently enrolled at HCC must obtain a letter from the ISA/DSO at his/her parent institution confirming permission to take classes at HCC under the F-1 status. F-1 students maintaining status at other educational institutions are not eligible to work on the HCC campus until the student has received a SEVIS Form I-20 from HCC and approval to work on campus from an HCC ISA/DSO.

For more information, see www.hccs.edu/support-services/international-students.

Summer International Transient Students

Students who are attending another college or university and wish to take summer classes at HCC must provide a letter from the ISA/DSO at their parent institution that indicates they are maintaining their F-1 status and have been given permission to enroll at HCC.

English Proficiency and Course Placement

International students planning to enroll in academic programs must demonstrate English language proficiency. This can be accomplished by taking one of the following exams: TOEFL, IELTS, PTE Academic, ACCUPLACER (ESL), or an approved Texas Success Initiative (TSI) test. Students who have not taken an English language proficiency test will be administered the ACCUPLACER (ESL) test by HCC to determine the student’s English language proficiency. Scores on the exams must meet state and institutional requirements for placement into college-level classes. Students who do not meet these requirements will be required to enroll in the Intensive English program. For more information, please visit www.hccs.edu/support-services/international-students/foreign-credentials.

International Transfer Students

A transfer student is any student who has previous college work and plans to pursue a certificate or degree at HCC. HCC admits transfer students who already have established F-1 status while attending other colleges and universities.

A transfer student may be admitted to either an academic program or the Intensive English program. Students planning to transfer to HCC must submit a complete application to the Office of International Services and Programs. For more information, please refer to the “New Students” section of www.hccs.edu/international.

Transfer Credit from Foreign Institutions

Students petitioning to receive transfer credit from foreign institutions must first have their transcripts evaluated by an approved evaluation agency. For a list of approved evaluation agencies, students may visit www.hccs.edu/support-services/international-students/foreign-credentials.

Check-in and Orientation for International Students

F-1 students new to the U.S. are required to report to our office for further instructions upon arriving in the country. Each semester, all incoming students (new, transfer, change-of-status, and reinstatement) are required to attend mandatory student orientation to learn more about adjusting to life in Houston and at HCC. Please visit www.hccs.edu/support-services/international-students/orientation.

F-1 Student Health Insurance

F-1 students at HCC are enrolled in the College’s mandatory student health insurance for a fee upon registration. They cannot opt out of the plan unless a waiver of coverage is approved upon condition that the student has an acceptable alternative insurance plan. For more information, please visit www.hccs.edu/support-services/international-students/health-insurance.

Training Programs

Instructional programs and/or customized training are conducted through workforce partnerships to help students gain specific skills.

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) training and development for certificates and/or degrees are conducted through credit programs and continuing Education (CE).

For more information, see www.hccs.edu/corporate-college.

J-1 Visa Program

HCC is awarded the J-1 visa sponsorship through the U.S. Department of State. Only a few community colleges in the nation are eligible to host under the J-1 visa.

The J-1 program enables foreign nationals to come to the U.S. to teach, study, conduct research, demonstrate special skills, or receive on the job training for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years. The exchange of professors and research scholars promotes the exchange of ideas, research, mutual enrichment and linkages between research and academic institutions in the U.S. and foreign countries.

For more information about the J-1 Visitor Program or international initiatives, please contact the International Services and Programs (ISP) director at isp@hccs.edu.

Houston Community College (HCC) considers students holding a nonimmigrant visa to be international students. Prospective students maintaining any other type of visa status, except B (visiting) visas, may enroll at HCC as permitted by U.S. federal law. The student should call the program of choice for admission instructions and meet all applicable application and enrollment deadlines.