HCC recognizes that we life in dynamic and changing times, which require an institutional response, including changes to learning modalities and curriculum. HCC encourages students and community members seeking up-to-date information about changes related to current events, including the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, to seek information at www.hccs.edu, including www.hccs.edu/resources-for/current-students/communicable-diseases/.
A semester credit hour (SCH) student is full-time if the student is enrolled in 12 or more semester hours and part time if enrolled in fewer than 12 hours. Half-time is six hours. To be considered full-time during the summer, a student must enroll in both summer terms or the ten-week session for a total of nine or more semester hours. A student is considered part-time if enrolled in only one summer session or for less than nine hours. During the fall and spring terms, students wishing to enroll in more than 18 credit hours must have special approval by a counselor. During each short summer session, students may schedule a maximum of seven semester hours or two academic courses. Students taking a long summer session only (10 or 11 weeks) or a combined long session and a six- or five-week session may schedule no more than 13 semester hours or four academic courses for the summer. During mini sessions, students are limited to one course. The Physical Education (PHED) Department limits enrollment in the number of physical activity classes per semester to two classes. Generally, a student in academic courses needs two hours of preparation outside of class for each hour of classroom instruction. Consequently, a student who is employed while attending college should consider the total demands on time from work, classes, and activities when deciding on a course load. Students who overload themselves may have scholastic difficulties.
Guidelines for Fall 2021 Learning Options
In response to health and safety guidelines regarding the Coronavirus, HCC has implemented new procedures in each of its learning options during fall 2021. Learning modalities and procedures will be updated for the remainder of the school year, including Spring 2022 and information may be obtained at www.hccs.edu/campaigns/college-your-way/.
All students, regardless of their selected learning options, will still have access to the support available to help with their success, including tutoring, student life, basic needs support, career and employment services, counseling and ability services, and supplemental instruction. HCC also provides financial aid options.
Hybrid Lab Based courses will be held in person and remotely so HCC students can obtain the critical hands-on, skills-based learning experiences needed for success. However, attendance in labs will be restricted in size so proper social distancing standards can be maintained. Consequently, students will find more lab sections available at a variety of times.
In Person gives students the opportunity to participate in class in person. Because of health and safety concerns, classes will be restricted in size so proper social distancing standards can be maintained in a manner consistent with timely public health guidance and Board policy.
Hybrid provides students the opportunity to attend a lecture class meeting half time face-to-face and half time remotely.
Online Anytime gives students the flexibility to complete coursework throughout the semester at times that works best for them. When a student enrolls in Online Anytime at the beginning of a semester, the course instructor will share pre-determined deadlines and requirements, along with the syllabus and full details of all assignments that must be completed to successfully finish the course. This option-most like a traditional online course -gives students the flexibility of completing coursework without visiting the campus. Access to a computer and WIFI is necessary to complete this class successfully.
Online on a Schedule allows students to take classes online, but at scheduled dates and times. Instead of visiting the campus for class, students log into the class online at the specified time they selected during registration. This gives students a safe and flexible learning option that allows for more interaction with professors and classmates without coming to campus. Access to a computer and WIFI are necessary to complete this class successfully.
Course and Program Definitions
The following definitions are in alignment with state regulation - Definitions:
- Online Course - A course in which the majority of the instruction takes place in an online forum. An online course may include mandatory face-to-face sessions totaling no more than fifteen percent of the total instructional time. Examples of face-to-face sessions include orientation, laboratory, exam review, or in-person tests.
- Online Programs - A program in which the majority of the curriculum is delivered in an online forum. An online program may include mandatory face-to-face courses totaling no more than fifteen percent of the total curriculum.
- Hybrid Course - A course in which a majority (more than 50 percent but less than 85 percent) of the instruction takes place in an online forum. Hybrid courses should have regularly designated face-to-face and online sessions throughout the academic term.
- Hybrid Programs - A program in which a majority of the curriculum (more than 50 percent but less than 85 percent) takes place in an online forum. The remainder of the curriculum is delivered traditionally via face-to-face instruction.
- Traditional Course - A course in which the majority of instruction occurs during regularly-scheduled, face-to-face sessions in a conventional classroom environment. A traditional course may incorporate online mechanisms to deliver portions of the course; however, the majority of instruction should occur during the regularly scheduled, face-to-face sessions.
- Traditional Programs - A program in which the majority of curriculum is delivered via face-to-face instruction. A traditional program may deliver some of the curriculum via an online forum; however, the majority of curriculum would be delivered via face-to-face instruction.
HCC’s online courses are one to four credit hours and are equivalent to on-campus courses in terms of transferability (no distinction is made on the transcript). Students are encouraged to visit the Online College’s homepage at www.hccs.edu/online to see availability of online classes, certificates, and degree offerings.
Students are expected to attend all lecture classes and labs regularly. Students are also responsible for materials covered during their absences. Instructors may be willing to consult with students for make-up assignments, but it is the student’s responsibility to contact the instructor. Class attendance is monitored daily by the instructor. Although it is the student’s responsibility to drop a course for nonattendance, the instructor has the authority to drop a student for excessive absences. A student may be dropped from a course after accumulating absences in excess of 12.5 percent of the total hours of instruction (lecture and lab). For example:
- For a three credit-hour lecture class meeting three hours per week (48 hours of instruction), a student can be dropped after six hours of absence.
- For a four credit-hour lecture/lab course meeting six hours per week (96 hours of instruction), a student can be dropped after twelve hours of absence.
Departments and programs governed by accreditation or certification standards may have different attendance policies. Administrative drops are at the discretion of the instructor. Failure to withdraw officially can result in a grade of “F” in the course.
For medical issues or other problems affecting attendance and for attendance accommodations, students should speak with their instructors and may also seek support from HCC Counselors and Ability Services Counselors.
NOTE: It is the responsibility of the student to withdraw officially from a course.
Religious Holy Day Absence
In accordance with Texas law, the College shall allow a student who is absent from class for the observance of a religious holy day to take an examination or complete an assignment scheduled for that day within a reasonable time after the absence. A student who is excused under this section cannot be penalized for the absence, but the instructor may appropriately respond if the student fails to satisfactorily complete the assignment or examination with a reasonable amount of time. Faculty should encourage students to inform them at the beginning of the semester to prepare for absence in case of an assessments, assignments, etc. A student needing more information about this process may contact their instructor and may seek support from the Office of Institutional Equity, if needed.
HCC uses the following standard grading system:
||Passing (60-69), except in developmental courses.
||Failing (59 and below)
||Failing due to non-attendance
||In Progress. Given only in certain developmental courses. A student must re-enroll to receive credit.
||Completed. Given in non-credit and continuing education courses.
All grade points listed in the table above are per semester hour.
Note that some Health Sciences programs use a different grading scale, and that some variations in grading policy were made during the COVID-19 emergency.
Grade Point Average (GPA)
Grade points earned for each course are determined by multiplying the number of points for each grade by the number of semester hours the course carries.
To compute a student’s grade point average, divide the total grade points by the total number of semester hours attempted. The grades “IP,” “W,” “AUD,” “COM,” “Pass,” “Fail,” and “I” do not affect the student’s GPA.
The grade of “I” (Incomplete) is conditional. A student receiving an “I” must arrange with the instructor to complete the course work within six months of the end of the incomplete term. After the deadline, the “I” becomes an “F.” Upon completion of the course work, the grade will be entered as an “I” grade on the student transcript. All non-completes must be changed to grades prior to graduation.
Repetition of Courses
After the close of each semester, a student’s enrollment history is reviewed, and courses taken more than once are marked as a repeat. If a student repeats a course in which a grade (A-F) has been received, the highest grade received is the permanent grade for the course and will be used in computing the grade point average. All grades earned in a given course will be entered on the transcript. Other colleges may compute the GPA differently than HCC and students are encouraged to consult their advisor or the institution of their choice with questions.
No Late Registration
It is the official policy of HCC that there is no late registration.
A student may register for a class if it has not met for the first time. A student may not register for a course if it has already met once. If it is believed that an extenuating circumstance exists, the student should refer to the Dean of Student Success or designee.
An example of an extenuating circumstance is a cancelled class. A cancelled class is beyond the control of a student, and is an issue created by the College. In the event of a cancelled class, it may be appropriate to make an exception to the late registration procedure.
Course Grade Appeal
The purpose of the Course Grade Appeal Process is to provide students a safeguard against receiving an unfair final course grade while also respecting the academic responsibility of the instructor and academic standards of Houston Community College. The College must follow clear and consistent guidelines for all grade appeals. It is the responsibility of all HCC faculty to evaluate each student’s work fairly and to assign a grade which is an impartial measure of the student’s achievement in the course. In the event of a dispute over an assigned final course grade, students should be provided the opportunity, within certain guidelines outlined in the HCC Course Grade Appeal Process, to formally present a case and rationale for a grade appeal which will be evaluated using a fair and consistent review process. For more information about the Course Grade Appeals Process, visit https://www.hccs.edu/about-hcc/procedures/student-rights-policies–procedures/course-grade-appeal/.
Academic Progress Requirements
A student’s academic progress will be evaluated for the first time after a minimum of nine attempted semester hours. A student’s academic standing is determined at the end of the fall semester (December), spring semester (May) and summer semester (August).
To maintain satisfactory academic progress, a student is expected to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 based upon the aggregate number of hours attempted at Houston Community College.
Students who maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above are considered to be in good academic standing.
Students who do not maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 will be placed on academic probation, continued academic probation or academic suspension as defined below. These three academic status levels alert students that action is required. Students are expected to establish contact with their counselor and/or college advising center for support and assistance with improving their academic standing.
Each academic status level is defined below with the required action by the student:
|Academic Status Level
||Action Required by Student
||Cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above
||Cumulative GPA below 2.0
||Can enroll in the following semester. Required to attend a SLIP session, defined below, during the semester and have two follow-up counseling sessions before the end of the semester to improve academic standing
|Continued Academic Probation
||Cumulative GPA below 2.0 and term GPA 2.0 or above
||Continue to work with the counselor from a previous semester, as needed, to improve academic standing
||Previous term status of Academic Probation or Continued Academic Probation and term GPA below 2.0
||If enrolled in the following semester, classes will be dropped. Required to attend a SLIP session. May be required to appeal their Suspension in order to enroll in the semester immediately after being placed on Suspension.
Additionally, students placed on academic probation or academic suspension should note the following:
- Students on Academic Probation can enroll in the semester immediately following their probation but are required to attend a Successful Learning Intervention Program (SLIP) session during the semester and have at least two individual follow-up sessions with their counselor.
- Students on academic suspension are required to attend a SLIP session at the college they attend prior to re-enrollment, and prior to meeting with their designated counselor.
- The student’s counselor will stipulate conditions of enrollment including, but not limited to, maximum hours and/or specific courses.
- Students on Academic Suspension may be unable to enroll in classes for one semester.
- A student may appeal an Academic Suspension by completing the necessary paperwork obtained at the college’s counseling center. For more information on appealing a suspension, students may contact their college’s counseling center. See Counseling Contact Information at www.hccs.edu/support-services/counseling.
The following requirements also apply to the determination of academic progress:
- Students enrolled in multiple summer sessions will have their entire summer’s work evaluated for determination of their academic status.
- Students in certain Health Sciences programs are required to maintain a grade of “C” in all courses in order to continue in the program. Students not meeting these standards may continue to enroll at HCC in other programs other than Health Science programs as long as they maintain minimum HCC requirements. Health Sciences students should check their program’s requirements by visiting www.hccs.edu/programs/areas-of-study/health-sciences.
- Students are responsible for knowing whether they have passed the minimum standards for continuation in college. Ineligible students who register may be subject to dismissal with forfeiture of all tuition and fees, subject to all other applicable College policies and legal requirements.
If a student has any questions, please contact an academic advisor on campus. For information on how to meet with an academic advisor, see www.hccs.edu/support-services/advising.
Students should make sure they are aware of penalties regarding financial aid, additional tuition costs, etc., before withdrawing from a course.
It is the responsibility of the student to officially drop or withdraw from a course. Failure to officially withdraw may result in the student receiving a grade of “F” in the course, which will remain on the student’s transcript and may be figured into the student’s GPA. A student may officially withdraw in any of the following ways:
- Drop online from the student’s account. Login to a Student Account by visiting www.myeagle.hccs.edu and selecting “Student Sign-In.”
- Send a letter requesting withdrawal to:
Houston Community College
P. O. Box 667517
Houston, TX 77266-7517
The withdrawal will be effective the date of postmark.
- Fax a letter of withdrawal to 713-718-2111.
A student who officially withdraws from a course before the Official Date of Record will not receive a grade and the course will not appear on the student’s permanent record. A student withdrawing from a course after this period and prior to the deadline designated in the HCC calendar will receive a grade of “W.” Students with questions about these processes should contact the College Registrar.
Limitation/Costs of Course Withdrawals
Under Texas Education Code Section 51.907, an institution of higher education may not permit a student to drop more than six courses, including any course a transfer student has dropped at another institution of higher education. This statute applies to students who enroll in a public institution of higher education as a first-time freshman in fall 2007 or later. Any course a student drops is counted toward the six-course limit if: 1) the student was able to drop the course without receiving a grade or incurring an academic penalty; 2) the student’s transcript indicates or will indicate that the student was enrolled in the course; and 3) the student is not dropping the course in order to withdraw from the institution. High school students enrolled in HCC Dual Credit and Early College are waived from this requirement until they graduate from high school. All college-level courses dropped after the Official Day of Record are included in the six-course limit, unless the student demonstrates to an appropriate College Official that one of the following events occurred to the student during the semester or summer session:
- A severe illness or other debilitating condition that affects the student’s ability to satisfactorily complete the course (see Medical Withdrawal/Compassionate Withdrawal Application Process below).
- The student’s responsibility for the care of a sick, injured, or needy person, if the provision of that care affects the student’s ability to satisfactorily complete the course.
- The death of a person who is considered to be a member of the student’s family or who is otherwise considered to have a sufficiently close relationship to the student that the person’s death is considered to be a showing of good cause.
- The active duty service as a member of the Texas National Guard or the armed forces of the United States of either the student or a person who is considered to be a member of the student’s family, and such active duty interferes with the student’s ability to satisfactorily complete the course.
- The change of the student’s work schedule that is beyond the control of the student and that affects the student’s ability to satisfactorily complete the course.
- Other personal or family reason that is considered catastrophic or beyond the control of the student and interferes with the student’s ability to satisfactorily complete the course (as determined by the College official; see also Medical Withdrawal/Compassionate Withdrawal Application Process below).
For questions regarding the six-drop course limit, students should contact the Office of Enrollment Services at their college.
HCC students affected by this statute that have attended or plan to attend another institution of higher education should become familiar with that institution’s policies on dropping courses.
Texas law also provides in Section 51.907, Education Code:
- Allows students who have accrued at least fifty semester credit hours and stopped-out for 24 months, a one-time exemption from the six-drop and three-peat rules. For more information regarding these rules, see the “Course Withdrawals (6-drop rule)” and “Repeating Course (Three-Peat rule)” sections of www.hccs.edu/about-hcc/procedures/student-rights-policies–procedures.
- A qualifying student under that section may drop one additional course, for a total of seven drops. If a student once again drops out for a 24-month period, the student is not granted an additional drop.
- Qualifying students should contact the Enrollment Services Office at their college to provide documentation and obtain a waiver form.
Medical Withdrawal/Compassionate Withdrawal Application Process
The College will consider late withdrawal requests based on exceptional adverse life events - for medical or compassionate reasons - described and applying the definitions listed below.
“Medical Withdrawal Request” means a request to withdraw from college/courses because of an exceptional adverse life event related to physical or mental health of the student or someone for whom the student is the primary caretaker (i.e., power of attorney or medical power of attorney).
“Compassionate Withdrawal Request” means a request to withdraw from college/courses because of an exceptional adverse event not covered under a medical withdrawal (e.g., death of a family member, incarceration, crime victim, act of nature, legal issues).
“Late Withdrawal” means a withdrawal from class(es) after the withdrawal deadline for the current semester.
“Exceptional Adverse Life Events” means an unexpected and extraordinary event/circumstance that substantially impacts one’s life and/or ability to remain enrolled in school, as documented and determined by the applicable Dean of Student Success.
“Effective Date of Onset” means the date when the exceptional adverse life event began to impact academic work, as determined by the applicable Dean of Student Success when reviewing the documentation and timeline. Date of event must not exceed prior two years.
“Decision” means to approve or not approve the request to withdraw/refund from courses due to medical or compassionate reasons.
Students must complete and submit a Medical or Compassionate Withdrawal Request form provided by the College (online or in-person), with supporting documentation (e.g., qualifying medical or legal documentation), to an HCC Ability Services Counselor in order to request to withdraw from course(s) due to an exceptional adverse life event. Compassionate and late withdrawal requests should be submitted to the Office of the Dean of Student Success. These requests will be considered and determined by the appropriate authority using standards that are fair and generous to the student.
Students can obtain information on the process and the form from the Office of Enrollment Services at their college and / or from their Ability Services Counselor.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirement for Veteran and Military Affiliated Students
The Department of Veterans Affairs requires that any student utilizing VA education benefits make satisfactory academic progress to remain eligible for such benefits.
Respective students on academic probation and suspension will be reported to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Please see the Requirements for Academic Progress section of this Handbook for more information.
Time Frame Component
A student receiving the Hazlewood Act exemption will be expected to complete his/her educational attainment objective or course of study within their first ninety semester hours.
Grades of “F,” “FX,” “I,” “NG,” or “W” repeated courses are counted in the aggregate total number of hours attempted. Students will not receive the exemption if the course has previously been passed, unless the program of study requires students to take the course more than twice in order to achieve a required grade.
Please see the Grading System section of this Handbook for grade definitions.
Repeating Courses for Veteran and Military-Affiliated Students
Students using VA educational or Hazlewood Act benefits may not retake a course in which a passing grade or a temporary grade of “I” is awarded.
It is ultimately the responsibility of the student to know which course(s) has/have been completed. Students may check their progress by logging into their student account and viewing their advisement report (iAAR).
The HCC VMASS District office is required to notify the VA of any course duplications, and appropriate changes will be made when a student has taken a class that has been deemed successfully completed.
An HCC student who is attending classes and is called to active duty during a semester may elect to do one of the following:
- Receive a refund for the tuition and fees paid for the semester from which the student withdraws;
- Receive an incomplete grade in all courses by designating “withdrawn” on the transcript; or
- Request the instructor to assign an appropriate final grade or credit if the student has satisfactorily completed a substantial amount of course work and demonstrated sufficient mastery of the course material.
The amount of the refund is contingent upon the course drop date in accordance with the Drop and Withdrawal Refund Schedule found at the Refunds and Credit Balances section of this Handbook. To drop/withdraw from courses for this reason, submit a VMASS Certification Request at www.hccs.edu/support-services/veteran-affairs/vmass-certification-request.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements for Financial Aid Students
Financial aid students must meet the following Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements set by the federal government. As of this writing, those requirements are:
- Must maintain a term GPA of 2.0 or higher;
- Must complete at least 67 percent of attempted courses for the academic year; and
- Must enroll in courses leading to an HCC degree or certificate.
Students who do not maintain the standards listed above will be ineligible to receive financial aid. Students should note that SAP Requirements to maintain financial aid are not the same as academic progress requirements (see Academic Progress Requirements section of this Handbook). A student may appeal a suspension of financial aid by submitting a written request to the college Financial Aid Office, online or in-person. For more information regarding the financial aid SAP requirement and appeal of suspension options is available in the college Financial Aid Offices and online at www.hccs.edu/applying-and-paying/financial-aid/satisfactory-academic-progress.
A student can check his/her grades at any point by logging into his/her Student Account. Login to a Student Account by visiting www.myeagle.hccs.edu and selecting “Student Sign-In.”
Grades generally post one week after the last final exam for that particular session or semester.
Prior to graduation, students must submit all official transcripts of credits transferred from other institutions to the Office of Admissions and Records. A candidate for any degree or certificate must meet the graduation requirements in the catalog for the year of initial enrollment, unless the student elects to graduate under the requirements of a more recent catalog. The candidate must indicate the catalog choice when applying for graduation. A student who does not maintain enrollment at HCC and has a gap in enrollment for a period of more than one calendar year is required to graduate under the catalog requirements set by the student’s year of readmission. Current and archived digital catalogs from 2007-08 to 2020-21 can be found at www.hccs.edu/programs/catalog otherwise, from the 2021-22 HCC catalog and the 2021-22 CE catalog to present date will be found at catalog.hccs.edu.
To be considered as a candidate for an AA, AS, AAT, AAS degree or Certificate of Completion, students must meet with their advisor and get approval and then complete the application online in the MyEagle student center at www.myeagle.hccs.edu. This should be done at the time of registration for the student’s final semester.
Students who are unable to complete their degree plan on file at HCC may transfer back up to 45 semester hours of equivalent courses from an accredited institution. These courses must be completed within three years of their last semester of enrollment at HCC. All other graduation requirements must be satisfied, including the requirement that 25 percent of a student’s degree must be completed at HCC.
Students who want a printed diploma must check the diploma box on the application and provide a diploma mailing address. There is no charge for the diploma. Students may request their records be reviewed at the conclusion of their course work so the appropriate degree or certificate will be recorded on the student’s transcript. Students can meet with their advisor to review their records.
If a student did not elect to receive a copy of his/her diploma, a copy may be requested from the Office of Student Records. Students may email firstname.lastname@example.org regarding their diploma, graduation status or with other questions about these requirements.
Graduation honors will be awarded to students pursuing an associate degree with superior cumulative GPAs. The following classifications of honors will be recognized on the student’s transcript and diploma:
- Highest Honors - GPA 3.80 or above
- High Honors - GPA 3.60 to 3.79
- Honors - GPA 3.35 to 3.59
HCC will use the following guidelines to compute honors eligibility:
- The student must complete at least 25 percent of the degree at HCC; and
- The student must complete requirements for an AA, AS, AAT, or AAS degree (certificate graduates do not receive honors).
The grades in all HCC courses, including Developmental work, will be calculated and counted in the cumulative GPA. Developmental course grades are excluded from the degree GPA for calculating and awarding degree honors.
Courses taken through the preceding summer semester will be used in computing the GPA for the purposes of determining graduation honors for the fall ceremony and through the fall semester for the spring ceremony. The student must have completed 75 percent of the course work for the degree at that time.
Please see the Grading System section of this Handbook for more information on computing the student’s GPA.
Degree and Certificate Requirements for Graduation
Houston Community College (HCC) offers various degrees and courses to serve the needs of its individual students. Students interested in academic transfer degrees (AA, AS, and AAT) may study courses and earn degrees that will transfer to four-year universities, while students interested in pursuing work or advancing in their workplace skills may earn AAS degrees or Certificates that improve employability. In addition, HCC also offers continuing education (CE) courses to enhance lifelong learning.
Students should work with an advisor at the beginning to help identify their program of study, take courses in the prescribed sequence or pathway, and choose their elective credits based on any transfer plans of their intended four-year university. Before the final semester, the student should again work with their advisor to assure that all requirements are met in order to file for graduation. In general, working closely with an advisor will create the seamless path to completion.
Participation in the Graduation Exercises
HCC holds two student graduation ceremonies each year, one in December for summer and fall graduates, and one in May for spring graduates. Candidates for degrees and certificates are encouraged to attend the graduation ceremonies. Students who complete course requirements in summer 2021 may participate in the fall 2021 ceremony.
Records and Transcripts
A transcript of college credits is an official copy of the student’s permanent record bearing the HCC seal and the signature of the Registrar. Students may request an official transcript online, by phone, or by ordering and picking up in person at a specific campus location (see website for more information). There is a charge for transcript processing.
It is highly recommended that transcripts be sent electronically to colleges and universities to expedite processing. There is a charge for transcript processing. All admissions information must be on file and all holds cleared before a student’s record will be released. A student should allow a week for delivery following the transcript request. Additional time should be allowed at the close of a semester. Students needing a transcript should allow one week after the end of a semester to ensure all grades have been entered for the term.
Students should request transcripts of work completed at another institution from that institution.
For more information on ordering official transcripts from HCC, including fees and campus pick up locations, please visit www.hccs.edu/resources-for/current-students/transcripts. Certain notations required by law are included on transcripts when applicable, such as student discipline information, in addition to grades.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 was established to protect the privacy rights of all students and applies to any educational facility receiving federal funds. FERPA prevents the release of certain information held within student education records. HCC complies with the FERPA when collecting, maintaining, and releasing student records.
Release of Student Records/Information
FERPA affords students in “attendance” at Houston Community College (HCC) certain rights with respect to their education records. “Attendance” is defined by HCC as beginning on the first day of the term in which a student is enrolled. These student rights, which are described on the Board policies site at FJ(Local) and (Legal), include:
- The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the College receives a request for access. A student should submit to the Registrar a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The College Official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the College Official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
- The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. A student who wishes to ask the College to amend a record should write the College Official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed and specify why it should be changed. If the College decides not to amend the record as requested, the College will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing. See policy FJ(LOCAL) and (LEGAL) available at www.hccs.edu/about-hcc/policies/hcc-board-policy-manual-section-f.
FERPA also designates certain information related to a student as “Directory Information.” FERPA gives the College the right to disclose such information to anyone inquiring without having to ask a student for permission, unless the student specifically requests in writing that all such information not be made public without written consent (see location of HCC Confidentiality Form below), except by the National Student Clearinghouse, to loan guarantors.
Houston Community College has designated the following as “Student Directory Information:”
- Student’s name;
- Address and telephone number;
- Date of birth;
- Major field of study;
- Enrollment status (full/part-time);
- Dates of attendance at HCC;
- Number of semester hours completed and in progress;
- Student classification;
- Degrees earned and dates awarded; and
- Most recent previous educational institution attended.
If a student does not want directory information released, the student must complete a confidentiality request form and submit to the Enrollment Services Office.
The Confidentiality Form is located at:
Release of any additional information pertaining to student records must be authorized by the student (i.e., grades, transcripts). If a student wishes to authorize HCC to release information to another person, the student must complete an Authorization to Release Information form and submit with proper identification to the Enrollment Services Office at the College. The form will specify duration and information allowed to be released.
The Authorization to Release information form is located at:
If a student is not able to sign the Authorization to Release Information form in person at the Enrollment Services Office, the student are asked to complete the FERPA Notary Form. The FERPA Notary Form must be notarized and is located at: https://www.hccs.edu/media/houston-community-college/district/admissions-and-enrollment/FERPA-Notary-Form.pdf
During the COVID-19 pandemic emergency or other times where in-person access to College personnel is restricted, students may contact the Office of the Registrar for information about how to obtain their own student records.
A student has the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the College to comply with the requirements of FERPA. For more information, visit www.studentprivacy.ed.gov or write to the office that administers FERPA at the following address:
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-8520
Freshman Success Courses (FSC)
All students who attend Houston Community College for the first time and have twelve college level semester credit hours (SCH) or fewer must enroll in a Freshman Success Course (FSC) their first semester. Houston Community College offers two forms of this course. The Introduction to Health Professions (HPRS 1201) course is designed for students pursuing a degree in Health Sciences, and the Learning Frameworks (EDUC 1300) course is designed for students pursuing all other majors. This course is designed to provide career assessment and career exploration opportunities to assist students in deciding on a career path. Additionally, students study research and theory in the psychology of learning, cognition, and motivation-factors that impact learning and the application of learning strategies.
For more information, consult the advising and see the Class Schedule at www.hccs.edu/continuing-education/current-schedule.
The Service Learning program at HCC provides civic engagement opportunities for students enrolled in courses with a community service component. However, these opportunities are also available to any student desiring to volunteer his/her time to assist in community outreach efforts. The program advocates a balanced service learning approach, meeting the needs of the community while maintaining an academically rigorous campus environment.
A course designated as having a service-learning component is one that provides students with an opportunity to apply what is learned in the classroom to a practical experience in the community. Often partnering with non-profit organizations and community service sections of corporations, service learning enriches the educational experience for students by unveiling the relevancy of coursework to real life scenarios in the community. HCC believes that service learning improves retention rates of students, increases their sense of civic responsibility, and deepens their understanding of community issues. Service learning also allows students to explore roles and activities that will help them develop valuable knowledge and skills and explore possible career options. For additional information regarding Service Learning opportunities, visit www.hccs.edu/departments/division-of-instructional-services/service-learning.
Supplemental Instruction (SI) is an academic enrichment and support program that uses peer-assisted study sessions to improve student retention and success in historically difficult courses. Peer Support is provided to all HCC students, at no cost, by students who have already succeeded in completion of the specified course, and students who attend SI sessions earn higher grades than those who do not attend. For additional information regarding Supplemental Instruction opportunities, visit www.hccs.edu/resources-for/current-students/supplemental-instruction.
Tutoring in our Academic Success Centers and/or Online
One important key to success in college is learning to use available resources. HCC provides many tutoring options for students in most all areas of study. Whether a student prefers real-time, face-to-face interactions, or the privacy and convenience of working with an online or virtual tutor, HCC provides multiple options for support. In addition, HCC provides access to its physical and virtual Academic Success Centers staffed with experts ready to assist students with writing assignments, math problems, and most all subjects.
General information and to schedule an in-person appointment: www.hccs.edu/tutoring
Tutoring schedules: www.hccs.edu/findatutor
Online tutoring: www.hccs.upswing.io
Call 713-718-8184 to schedule an appointment to virtually meet with a tutor.
Degree and Certificate Options
Houston Community College offers the following awards to students once they have chosen their career paths and completed all necessary course and residency requirements. Students can obtain more information about specific options and their choices by consulting their academic advisor.
Note: Students can only earn one degree or certificate when there are specialization or tracks to choose from in a given award. Additionally, when there is a degree with a corresponding certificate a student can only earn the specified certificate (i.e. Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Drafting & Design Engineering Technology - Computer Aided Drafting- Architectural Specialization, A.A.S. can be paired with the Certificate Level 1 (C1) entitled Drafting & Design Engineering Technology - Computer Aided Drafting- Architectural Specialization, C1. In order to earn both awards upon graduation since the award are stackable, please contact your advisor for more information.
Associate of Arts - AA Degree
This degree prepares students for academic transfer to a public university or college in Texas as a junior for those who declare a major in the liberal or fine arts. The degree includes 42 hours of the core curriculum and 18 hours of transferable course electives.
Associate of Arts in Teaching - AAT Degree
This degree is a state-approved collegiate degree program consisting of lower-division courses intended for transfer to baccalaureate programs that lead to initial Texas teacher certification in grades Pre-K to 6 or 4-8. The degree includes 42 hours of the core curriculum and 18 hours in courses related to teaching.
Associate of Science - AS Degree
This degree prepares students for academic transfer to a public university or college in Texas as a junior for those who declare a major in the sciences, as math, engineering, biology, chemistry and others. The degree includes 42 hours of the core curriculum and 18 hours of transferable course electives relevant to the student’s career path.
Associate of Applied Science - AAS Degree
This degree is specifically for students seeking technical career skills for work in a specific field or industry. The emphasis is on practical and applied skills, but does include 15 hours of general education core classes. It is primarily designed for work, not transfer, although general education core classes will transfer.
Certificates - Level One, Level Two, and Continuing Education
Certificates in a specialized career field will help a student gain skill for job advancement. Most certificates are designed to be stackable (Level One to Level Two) to help a student complete an AAS degree if so desired.
Occupational Skills Award - OSA
An OSA award prepares a student to enter a high-demand career field with minimal training.
Enhanced Skills Certificate - ESC
The certificate is pursued simultaneously with an AAS degree and offers specialization in a career field with targeted training.
Advanced Technical Certificate - ATC
After the student completes an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree, the advanced technical certificate provides specialized career field training.
Institutional Certificate - IC
The certificate is for continuing education students seeking to gain in-demand technical career skills in a short period of time.
General Associate Degree Requirements (for AA, AAT, and AS)
To be eligible for an Associate of Arts, Associate of Arts in Teaching, or an Associate of Science, a student must successfully:
- Complete at least 60 hours, including 42 hours of core curriculum courses and 18 hours in the student’s area of major and intended transfer major; for the Associate of Science, the student needs 6 additional hours of math and four additional hours of natural science.
- Complete at least 25% of the semester hours toward the degree in the Houston Community College System. These hours may not be satisfied by credit by exam.
- Have an overall 2.0 HCC grade point average.
- Satisfy TSI requirements.
- Resolve all financial obligations and return all college materials, including library books, to HCC prior to graduation.
General Associate of Applied Science Degree Requirements (AAS)
The Associate of Applied Science degree is designed for students who complete a college-level workforce education curriculum. The AAS degree prepares students for employment in a specific career, and the program pathway includes general education core requirements (15 hours) and specific applied or technical courses in the field.
To be eligible for an AAS degree, the student must successfully complete the following:
- 60 semester hours of credit and the prescribed curriculum for the two-year career and technology education program.
- Complete a minimum of 25% semester hours of credit toward the degree at HCC, 12 semester hours of which must be in the career and technology education program the student is pursuing. These hours may not be satisfied by Credit by Exam or Advanced Standing Credit.
- Have an overall 2.0 HCC GPA.
- Satisfy all TSI requirements.
- Resolve all financial obligations and return all materials to HCC prior to graduation.
- Multiple Associate of Applied Science degrees may be earned from HCC if all AAS program requirements are met, including earning at least 18 additional semester hours at HCC. Twelve of the hours must be earned in the major program of the additional degree.
The general education electives for each program must contain a minimum of 15 college credit hours. These must be taken from the following categories:
- Humanities/Fine Arts 3 SCH
- Social/Behavioral Science 3 SCH
- Math/Natural Science 3 SCH
- General Education Electives 6 SCH
Certificate Programs and General Requirements
Houston Community College awards certificates upon completion of courses that have been industry-validated and designed to develop and upgrade the skills in a specific occupation. These programs vary in length and time based on Level One or Level Two. To be awarded a certificate, a student must do the following:
- Fulfill all course requirements for the certificate, by completing 50% of the coursework at HCC.
- Earn a GPA of 2.0 in all courses required for the certificate.
- Apply for graduation before the announced deadline.
- Students who are pursuing an Advanced Technical Certificate must complete a related associate or bachelor’s degree prior to enrollment.
Semester Credit Hour
A semester credit hour (SCH) is the amount of credit a student earns for successful completion of one contact hour (in class) and two preparation (out-of-class) hours per week for a semester. One semester hour equals 16 contact hours per semester, regardless of the duration of the course. Basically, for a one-semester credit hour course, you should invest one contact hour in class and two additional preparation or homework hours each week that take place out-of-class.
Example: 3 Credits (SCH) = 3 instructional hours in class (virtual or otherwise) and 6 hours out-of-class (homework etc.)
Core Curriculum Electives for Academic Degree Programs
Core Curriculum General Education Electives for Workforce Degree Programs
Field of Study Curricula
A Field of Study (FOS) is a selection of lower-division courses that are guaranteed by state law to transfer and apply to a degree program. If a student takes all the courses in a FOS and then transfers to another Texas public institution of higher education, the FOS is guaranteed to transfer as a block and be applied to the appropriate major. If a student has completed the FOS, the Texas common core curriculum, and any university or college courses required of all students regardless of major, then the student is finished with all the lower-division courses for the degree program at any Texas public institution. If a student transfers with an incomplete FOS, then each completed FOS course is guaranteed to transfer and apply to the degree program, although the institution may require additional lower-division courses.
The Field of Study curricula that have been approved are incorporated into the associate degree plans for: Biology, Business, Communications, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Drama, Engineering, English, History, Mathematics, Interdisciplinary Studies, Music, Government, and Psychology. FOS designations are also available for Economics and Sociology, an option in Multidisciplinary Studies.
Field of Study Curricula approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board are incorporated into maps. Houston Guided Pathways (GPS) maps include courses that apply to lower-level requirements in specified degrees across Houston GPS institutions without resulting in excess credit upon transfer. Courses are in the Lower-Division Academic Course Guide Manual (ACGM) and course numbers provided are those in the Texas Common Course Numbering System.
Field of Study Curricula Approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
Approved (as of May 8, 2020):
Business Administration and Management
Computer Science / Information Technology
Engineering Technology *
English Language and Literature
Health & Wellness *
Mexican American Studies
Political Science * (Government)
Radio and Television
*Houston Community College does not offer Field of Study Curricula for these programs at this time
Houston Community College offers the following awards to students once they have chosen their career paths and completed all necessary course and residency requirements. Students can obtain more information about specific options and their choices by consulting their academic advisor.
The core curriculum is designed to provide students with the foundational knowledge and transferable skills that are needed for future careers and work in a technological and global society. In addition, the core curriculum helps individual students to develop personal skills of critical thinking, communication, empirical and quantitative reasoning, teamwork, personal responsibility, and social responsibility. Core educated individuals are guided by a strong sense of values, ethics, and civic engagement. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved a 42-semester credit hour (SCH) core curriculum for undergraduate students in Texas which was implemented in fall of 2014 for all public colleges and universities offering academic degrees. It included the following statements of purpose, the six core objectives, and the foundational component areas.
Statement of Purpose
Through the core curriculum, students will gain a foundation of knowledge of human cultures and the physical and natural world, develop principles of personal and social responsibility for living in a diverse world, and advance intellectual and practical skills that are essential for all learning.
- Critical Thinking Skills-to include creative thinking, innovation, inquiry, and analysis, evaluation and synthesis of information
- Communication Skills-to include effective development, interpretation and expression of ideas through written, oral and visual communication
- Empirical and Quantitative Skills-to include the manipulation and analysis of numerical data or observable facts resulting in informed conclusions.
- Teamwork-to include the ability to consider different points of view and to work effectively with others to support a shared purpose or goal.
- Personal Responsibility-to include the ability to connect choices, actions, and consequences to ethical decision-making.
- Social Responsibility-to include intercultural competence, knowledge of civic responsibility, and the ability to engage effectively in regional, national, and global communities.
Foundational Component Areas
- Communication-(6 SCH) Courses in this category focus on developing ideas and expressing them clearly, considering the effect of the message, fostering understanding, and building the skills needed to communicate persuasively. Courses involve the command of oral, aural, written and visual literacy skills that enable people to exchange messages appropriate to the subject, occasion, and audience.
- Mathematics-(3 SCH) Courses in this category focus on quantitative literacy in logic, patterns and relationships. Courses involve the understanding of key mathematical concepts and the application of appropriate qualitative tools to everyday experience.
- Life and Physical Sciences-(6 SCH) Courses in this category focus on describing, explaining and predicting natural phenomena using the scientific method. Courses involve the understanding of interactions among natural phenomena and the implications of scientific principles on the physical world and on human experiences.
- Language, Philosophy & Culture-(3 SCH) Courses in this category focus on how ideas, values, beliefs, and other aspects of culture express and affect human experience. Courses involve the exploration of ideas that foster aesthetic and intellectual creation in order to understand the human condition across cultures.
- Creative Arts-(3 SCH) Courses in this category focus on the appreciation and analysis of creative artifacts and works of the human imagination. Courses involve the synthesis and interpretation of artistic expression and enable critical, creative, and innovative communication about works of art.
- American History-(6 SCH) Courses in this category focus on the consideration of past events and ideas relative to the United States, with the option of including Texas History for a portion of this component area. Courses involve the interaction among individuals, communities, states, the nation, and the world, considering how these interactions have contributed to the development of the United States and its global role.
- Government/Political Science-(6 SCH) Courses in this category focus on consideration of the constitution of the United States and the constitutions of the states, with special emphasis on that of Texas. Courses involve the analysis of governmental institutions, political behavior, civic engagement, and their political and philosophical foundations.
- Social and Behavioral Sciences-(3 SCH) Courses in this category focus on the application of empirical and scientific methods that contribute to the understanding of what makes us human.
- Courses involve the exploration of behavior and interactions among individuals and groups.
Component Area Option-(6 SCH)
- A minimum of 3 SCH must meet the definition and corresponding Core Objectives specified in one of the foundation component areas;
- As an option for up to 3 SCH of the Component Area Option, an institution may select course(s) that (1) meet the definition specified for one or more of the foundational component areas and (2) includes a minimum of 3 core objectives, including Critical Thinking Skills, Communication Skills, and one of the remaining Core Objectives of the Institution’s choice.
Core Curriculum Electives for Academic Degree Programs
For additional information regarding the requirements please see the Core Curriculum Electives for Academic Degree Programs .
Core Curriculum General Education Electives for Workforce Degree Programs
For additional information regarding the requirements please see the Core Curriculum General Education Electives for Workforce Degree Programs .