General Admissions Criteria
A comprehensive community college system, HCC offers many programs designed to meet the needs of students according to their interests. As an open-admission, two-year undergraduate institution, HCC has an “open door” admissions policy; individuals who have at least one of the following qualifications are welcome to enroll:
- Accredited High School diploma; or
- High School Equivalency certificate; or
- College-level hours earned at other accredited colleges or universities; or
- International students who meet college and state requirements; or
- An eligible high school student.
Admission to HCC does not guarantee admission to a particular course or program. HCC utilizes the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) Assessment to assess the level of students’ reading, writing, and math skills. Based upon their assessment results and specific program objectives, students may be required to take developmental and/or prerequisite courses. If the TSI assessment exam is not available, students will be required to enroll in a co-requisite model with a paired college course and a developmental course to satisfy the TSI requirement. In addition, special admission requirements have been established for programs that require students to possess previously learned skills and knowledge. Applicants may obtain some additional admission criteria by visiting www.hccs.edu/applying-and-paying.
For further information regarding admissions to certain programs or special admissions, see below.
The applicable Board policies FB(LOCAL) and FB(LEGAL) can be found at: www.hccs.edu/about-hcc/policies/hcc-board-policy-manual-section-f
Continuing Education Programs Admissions
All Continuing Education students must apply online using the HCC website at http://www.hccs.edu/apply. There is no charge to apply using the HCC website.
Some HCC Continuing Education Programs have special conditions for admissions, including the following possibilities: successful completion of prerequisite courses, acceptable scores on prerequisite exams, submission of any required immunizations, criminal background checks, and/or special licenses or certifications.
To review the list of programs and their associated prerequisites, please visit www.hccs.edu/continuing-education/about-us/.
All students, except international students and continuing education students, must apply online using the Apply Texas website at www.applytexas.org. There is no charge to apply using the Apply Texas website. The process for international student applications is contained in the section titled International Services and Programs below. The process for continuing education student enrollment can be found on the HCC website at https://www.hccs.edu/continuing-education/.
New Student Checklist
After submitting an admissions application, students will receive a welcome email from HCC with a link to the student portal. The student portal will include a checklist of items that must be completed as part of the enrollment and registration process. These include items a student must submit and also required trainings and background information on various topics.
Online College Admissions
HCC does not have a separate admission policy for the Online College. All admission policies described above apply to all students regardless of course delivery modality.
Health Science Program Admissions
Admission to HCC does not guarantee admission to a specific program. The HCC Health Sciences Programs have special conditions for admissions, including the following possibilities: successful completion of prerequisite courses, acceptable scores on the Health Information Systems, Inc. (HESI) or other exams, submission of required immunizations, submission of other background information, submission of a personal narrative, and/or personal interview. For details, please visit www.hccs.edu/centers/health-sciences.
Veteran and Military-Affiliated Students Admissions
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. Further information is available at Veteran & Military-Affiliated Student Success (VMASS) Resource Centers on campus, on the website at www.hccs.edu/support-services/veteran-affairs, or by phone at 713-718-8522.
Upon completion of the Admissions Application, Military, Veteran and/or Military-Affiliated students should contact an HCC Student Advisor to address questions regarding enrollment and/or gaining access to additional resources or information. Students may go to any advisor at any campus location. For information on how to contact a campus advisor, please see www.hccs.edu/support-services/advising.
“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.”
Registration of Sex Offenders
The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Section 62.153 requires each person who has been convicted of specific sexual offenses and who intends to attend classes at an institution of higher education to register with the HCC Police Department. Registered Sex Offenders seeking to attend HCC are required to register with the HCC Police Department within ten days of enrolling in class, but not later than the seventh day after the date the person begins to attend school. FL(REGULATION), referenced below, explains in detail the process Registered Sex Offenders should follow, including the process for enrollment in their academic program.
Registered Sex Offenders must register with the HCCPD at the following location only:
Criminal Investigation Division of the HCC Police Department
3821 Caroline Street, Houston, Texas 77004
Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. (except during HCC closures or holidays)
More information can be found at https://www.hccs.edu/departments/police/crime-statistics–information/sex-offender-information/, in the Student Code of Conduct and applicable Board policies FL(LOCAL); FL(LEGAL); FL(REGULATION) available at www.hccs.edu/about-hcc/policies/hcc-board-policy-manual-section-f.
After Suspension/Academic Withdrawal
Students seeking re-admission after being placed on enforced Academic Withdrawal or Suspension at HCC must attend a Student Learning Intervention Program (SLIP) session at the college they attend. Students may be required to enroll in specified courses and/or have their course load limited. Students may contact their Dean of Student Services or campus counselor with questions about this process.
Academic Fresh Start
Under the provisions of the Texas Education Code Section 51.931, Texas residents seeking to apply for admission or re-admission to HCC and/or any specialized program at HCC may elect to have academic course credit more than ten years old prior to the starting date of the semester in which they seek to enroll not be considered as part of the admissions process. An applicant admitted to HCC under this provision may not receive any course credit for courses taken ten or more years prior to enrollment. This means courses excluded under this provision may not be counted toward a degree, GPA calculations, academic standing or to meet pre-requisite requirements. Applicants interested in the Academic Fresh Start Program must meet all HCC admissions requirements and must submit official transcripts from all previously attended colleges and universities along with a petition found at https://www.hccs.edu/media/houston-community-college/district/admissions-and-enrollment/Academic-Fresh-Start.pdf prior to admission to HCC.
Admission for High School or Non-Credit Students
Certain HCC programs require additional or special admissions information. Those programs are described briefly below.
High School Student Admissions and Enrollment
Currently enrolled high school or homeschooled students may enroll in the same volume of HCC courses (each semester) as a traditional HCC student. Students should furnish a high school transcript, TSI scores (or documentation of exemption from TSI requirements), and approval from their high school. These students will need to maintain a “C” average to continue taking courses at HCC without limitations.
To be eligible for any dual credit course, a student may be currently enrolled in a public-school district, charter, private school, or be a homeschool student with an established memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Houston Community College. All dual credit MOUs are posted at www.hccs.edu/programs/dual-credit/dual-credit-memorandums-of-understanding.
Dual Credit students must complete an HCC admission application and submit an official high school transcript indicating PLAN, PSAT, TAKS, STAAR SAT, and/or ACT test scores (or bring the official test score report if test scores do not appear on the high school transcript). Dual Credit students are also allowed to take the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) Assessment to qualify for college courses taught as dual credit. Academic Dual Credit Courses: To be eligible for academic dual credit courses, high school students must pass the applicable areas of a Texas Success Initiative. The student may be exempt from state mandated TSI testing if the student meets the qualifying standards on applicable areas of the SAT, ACT, PLAN, PSAT, or qualifying STAAR scores by subject. Students may take college level courses related to the area(s) of the test they pass. A student must also meet institutional course prerequisites. Dual Credit students must take only courses that apply directly to their pathway and degree plan.
Texas law does not impose limitations on the number of classes a dual credit student may take. However, Houston Community College recommends that students taking more than two classes per semester possess a 3.0 or higher-grade point average in high school coursework. Dual Credit students, like all college students, are responsible for purchasing required textbooks and other essential course materials. The exception is in cases where the high school provides textbooks. All Dual Credit instructional material is based on the recommendation of the academic or workforce department. The Houston Community College Board of Trustees has waived tuition and fees for dual credit students residing within the taxing district (In-District) of the College. Students outside (Out of District) taxing districts may take dual credit classes at a cost of $65.00 per course. If taught in the high school, the dual credit class must be composed solely of dual credit and/or college credit students, not traditional high school students.
For Dual Credit courses, grading criteria allow faculty the opportunity to award high school and college credit based on the student’s performance. For further information, contact any HCC College P-16 Director at one of the college locations. Contact information is available at www.hccs.edu/programs/dual-credit/
Texas law limits the types of courses dual credit students may take. The options are to take academic core courses, career and technical education courses, or foreign language courses. Students enrolled in Early College High Schools are exempt from this legislation. Dual credit students must be placed on a degree plan when they enroll in the dual credit program.
HCC participates in the Advanced Technical Credit (ATC) program (commonly known as statewide articulation), which provides an educational and training structure that is sensitive to the transition of high school students to college. The process that facilitates an orderly progression through programs of instruction is commonly referred to as “articulation.” Articulation agreements have been developed between HCC and school districts within the service area. These articulation agreements allow students to successfully complete certain Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses in high school to receive college credits, contingent upon enrollment in a similar Career and Technical Education program at HCC. The high school course must be on the state-approved articulated list and taught by an instructor who meets the HCC credential standards as defined by SACSCOC. Students will only be awarded articulated credit if they received a letter grade of “B” or higher in the high school course while maintaining an overall high school GPA of at least a “C.” Students also will be awarded credit only if the course is a requirement of their degree or certificate.
Any individuals interested in majoring in Workforce (CTE) programs who want to know if they qualify for articulated credit under an Advanced Technical Credit agreement should contact an HCC Dual Credit Success Coach, Advisor, or the appropriate program Department Chair. Students may apply for additional placement credit for no more than 25-percent of the degree hours. Credit for more than four courses in any one subject area requires special approval.
Early College High School Students (ECHS) and Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools (P-TECH) Students
Early College High Schools (ECHS) and Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools (P-TECH) provide students with a “seamless” pathway from high school to college. ECHS and P-TECH allows high school students to complete a two-year degree while working through a traditional high school degree plan. After tackling this rigorous course of study, students graduate high school while earning up to sixty college credits, most of which are transferable to the postsecondary institution of their choice. ECHS and P-TECH provides strong support to students and their family in obtaining entrance to, and success in, higher education. For a listing of ECHS, please visit www.tea.texas.gov/echs. For a listing of P-TECH, please visit www.tea.texas.gov/PTECH.
Homeschool and Private/Charter School Students
Homeschooled students may attend Houston Community College as dual credit students. They must meet the same requirements as dual credit students enrolled in public or private high schools and follow the same process of admittance to Houston Community College. In addition, they must document their status as homeschooled students, along with all pertinent information required to register for classes at Houston Community College, including an MOU.
The Houston Community College P-16 Directors facilitate processes, consistency, standards, and procedures for homeschoolers who attend Houston Community College as dual credit students.
Private and charter school students may take dual credit courses at Houston Community College, on campus or online but must work through the administration of their high school. Private and charter schools who want dual credit as an option for their students must have established partnerships with Houston Community College through an MOU.
For more information including campus contacts, please visit the Dual Credit website at www.hccs.edu/dual-credit.
Admissions for Minors
Students who are 16 years old or younger AND have graduated from high school may be eligible for special admission to Houston Community College. Applicants who are admitted under the special admission process can enroll in college courses at an HCC campus or online.
In addition to the regular admission process, students age 16 years or younger must:
- Show proof of education indicating graduation from public high school or completed secondary education according to the same general standards as those students who graduated from public high school; and
- Once admitted, meet with the Dean of Student Success prior to registering for the first semester and at any other requested times.
Students under the age of fourteen must have a parent, legal guardian, or authorized adult available at the HCC campus site at all times when their child is attending each class. This is required to help monitor the student’s activities and to be immediately available in case of an emergency. While on site at HCC, the parent or legal guardian may not attend class in the student’s classroom with the student. Failure to be available on campus or insistence on being in the student’s classroom may cause the student and their parent to be removed from each enrolled class.
A non-degree seeking applicant is admitted on the basis that coursework will be taken for personal enrichment and not for the purpose of seeking a degree or certificate. Non-degree seeking students may not enroll in more than a total of twelve semester credit hours and are not eligible for state or federal financial aid.
Special Program Admissions
As described below, certain HCC programs are available to students meeting special criteria. Students seeking admission to special programs should identify the programs to which they want to apply and follow the directions on the corresponding website.
VAST Academy (Vocational Advancement and Skills Training)
The VAST Academy provides post-secondary transition programs and comprehensive support services which lead to meaningful credentials, employment and independence for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities at three college campus locations: Central, Northwest/Spring-Branch and Southwest/Stafford. Opportunities include workforce certificates, precollege and freshman success bridge courses, career readiness credentials, internships, and employment assistance offered through an inclusive, relevant, affordable, and supportive environment. VAST Academy offers a Career Readiness/Occupational Skills Certificate under HCC’s Division of Extended Learning, Continuing Education. The program’s successful supportive strategies include person-centered planning, peer mentoring, independent living, and internships based on students’ interests and skills.
HCC’s VAST Academy has a formal admissions process. For information on admissions criteria, requirements and steps to apply please visit the website at www.hccs.edu/vast.
Adult Education Program
Adult Education courses are grant-supported through the support of the Texas Workforce Commission and Houston Galveston Area Council (HGAC). Adult Education students can choose from the following six programs below:
HSE (High School Equivalency Student): Students seeking a certificate of High School Equivalency (GED, Hi-SET, TASC). A student who wants to prepare to take one of the three Texas-approved high school equivalency exams. These exams include the GED (General Educational Development), the TASC (Test Assessing Secondary Completion), or the Hi-SET (High School Equivalency Test). Upon successful completion of all parts of one of these three accepted exams, the student will receive the certificate of high school equivalency issued by Texas Education Agency.
ESL (English for Speakers of Other Languages): This is for learners who want to achieve competency in comprehending, speaking, reading, and writing English, and whose first language is not English. A learner who wants to achieve competence in comprehending, speaking, reading, and writing English. ESL students can continue to study for their High School Equivalency and/or transition to postsecondary education and training or employment.
ESLP (English for Professionals): This program is for Students wanting to speak, read, and write English, and whose first language is not English and has a degree from a country outside the United States.
ELCivics (English Literacy and Civics): This program is for students who are interested in obtaining their citizenship and wanting to speak, read, and write English, whose first language is not English. Additionally, this connects literacy to the lives of learners and reflects their experiences as community members, parents and participants in the workforce.
TSI Prep Boot Camp: ATSI1000 is an intensive Four-Week non-credit Reading, Writing, and Mathematics program that will help you understand the various objectives that will be tested on the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) Assessment and how to successfully answer the questions.
Career4U Academy: The Adult Education & Literacy program offers five Career4U Academies. These academies allow students to attend college without a TSI test and earn a certificate in the sectors of Healthcare, Information Technology, Business, Construction Trades, and Transportation. The students will establish a clear path toward their educational and employment goals by studying basic skills, English as a Second Language, and/or high school equivalency, along with a post-secondary Workforce Certificate. Students pay a $20 processing fee, and Adult Education will sponsor the first two classes. Financial aid pays for the completion of the program. For information about Adult Education call the HCC AEL Hotline at 713-718-5381 or visit https://www.hccs.edu/programs/adult-education/.
Workforce and Career Training Program (WCTP)
Workforce and Career Training Program (WCTP) is a collaborative effort by HCC and a number of high-profile nonprofit organizations to assist underemployed or unemployed individuals. All WCTP training integrates career training with Adult Education classes. Financial aid is regularly available. All WCTP programs also can be configured to accommodate students whose second language is English. To find out more, email email@example.com, or call 713-718-2779, or visit www.hccs.edu/career4u.
IET/EL Civics offerings provide advanced English Language Learners with tuition assistance for concurrently enrolling in ESOL courses that are integrated with Level One Certificate career programs.
Ability to Benefit Programs
The Adult Education & Literacy office has arrangements that will allow students who do not have a high school diploma or Certificate of High School Equivalency (TxCHSE) certificate to enroll at HCC and receive federal student aid including Pell Grants. Students need to demonstrate that they have the “ability to benefit” from postsecondary education and training and can meet certain additional requirements. More information is available at www.hccs.edu/programs/adult-education/ability-to-benefit-pell-grant-option.
Adult High School
Adult High School (AHS) is a credit recovery program for students seeking credit recovery and/or original credit program toward their high school graduation requirements (students recovering/completing credit receive a high school diploma). Current high school students will need a referral from their high school counselor before registering for any AHS class. For more information, including AHS locations and courses, call
713-718-7611 or visit www.hccs.edu/programs/adult-education/adult-high-school.
HCC is required by Texas law to determine the residency status of all students for tuition purposes. Students who have not enrolled for two or more consecutive regular semesters (fall and spring) must complete the residency core questions and satisfy all applicable requirements to establish residency. Additional documentation may be requested at any time following registration. Residency is determined at the time of registration, either by a student’s current address or by the address of a parent or legal guardian if the student is being claimed by his/her parents or is eligible to be claimed by his/her parents as a dependent for federal income tax purposes. A post office box can be used for a mailing address, but cannot be used to establish residency. It is the responsibility of the student to register under the correct residency classification. A complete set of rules and regulations for determining residency is available at each campus’s Admissions Office.
For tuition purposes, a student will be classified according to the following guidelines. The Registrar is the final authority on all questions of residency. For more information on residency or to see the list of approved documentation, visit www.hccs.edu/applying-and-paying/residency-information.
Basic Residency Requirements
For tuition purposes, according to Texas law, all students must answer a complete set of core residency questions within the admissions application. These questions will be used by the institution to determine if the person is a resident. The following persons shall be classified as Texas Residents and entitled to pay resident tuition at all institutions of higher education:
- A person who was enrolled at a Texas public institution during a fall or spring semester within the previous twelve months and was classified as a Texas resident for tuition purposes.
- A person who graduated from a public or accredited private high school in this state or as an alternative to high school graduation, received the equivalent of a high school diploma in this state AND maintained a residence continuously in this state for the 36 months immediately preceding the date of graduation, or received the diploma equivalent as applicable and the twelve months preceding the census date of the academic semester in which the person enrolled.
- A person or a dependent whose parent established a domicile in this state not less than twelve months before the census date of the academic semester in which the student enrolled in an institution AND maintained a residence continuously in the state for the twelve months immediately preceding the census date of the academic semester in which the person enrolled in an institution.
- If basing residency on a spouse and have been married at least twelve months, residency may be classified based on the spouse’s qualifications for residency.
Students who have met the basic Texas residency requirements and live in HCC’s taxing district (Alief ISD, Houston ISD, Stafford MSD, and part of Missouri City) are considered in-district residents.
Students must reside at a street address in HCC’s taxing district to be considered in-district. Post office boxes and dormitory addresses cannot be used.
Students who have met the basic Texas residency requirements and live outside HCC’s taxing district are considered out-of-district residents.
A student who has not resided in Texas for twelve months immediately preceding registration is considered out-of-state, except for certain exceptions described below. A non-resident student classification is presumed to be correct as long as the residence in the state is primarily used for the purpose of attending school. To be reclassified as a resident (after one or more years of residency), the student must show proof of intent to establish Texas as his/her permanent legal residence.
See Veterans Services for information regarding residency determinations of Veterans and Military-Affiliated Students.
International Student Residency for Tuition Purposes
An international student is a non-U.S. citizen who is not classified a resident alien by the U.S. Government.
International students living in the United States under an eligible visa permitting residence must provide documentation and meet the same requirements as a U.S. citizen to qualify for Texas resident status for tuition purposes.
Texas Law states that undocumented students can be admitted to the College and be considered a resident of Texas for tuition purposes if the undocumented student resided in Texas, and met the conditions listed below:
- Graduated or will graduate from a Texas public or private high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma in Texas; and
- Resided in Texas for 36 months leading up to graduation from high school or receiving the equivalent of a high school diploma; or
- Has resided or will have resided in Texas for the twelve months prior to the census date of the semester in which the student will enroll in the college; and
- Has signed the Affidavit of Intent to Become a Permanent Resident provided by the College that states the student has filed or will file an application to become a permanent resident at the earliest opportunity the student is eligible to do so.
If the student does not meet these criteria, the student may still enroll, but will be classified as out-of-state for tuition purposes.
Change of Residency
The change from out-of-district residency to in-district residency must be made at the time of registration. Any address change which results in a change to in-district status must be accompanied by adequate documentation. Changes to in-district status made after registration will be effective the following semester. A student who qualifies for a change from out-of-state to in-state residency status for tuition purposes may file a petition for change of residency. The petition must be filed with the Office of the Registrar or Enrollment Services Office at any of the Colleges before the 12th day of class for the regular (16-week) term in order to receive any refund of excess tuition paid for that term.
Any student who provides false information or withholds information for proper determination of residency, admission, or enrollment is subject to any or all of the following penalties:
- Withdrawal from all classes with no refund
- Dismissal from the institution or other appropriate disciplinary action
- Payment of the difference in fees within thirty days
- Loss of credit earned while under incorrect residency status
These determinations will be made by the processes described in the Student Code of Conduct. See Student Code of Conduct or Board Policy FLB(LOCAL) at www.hccs.edu/about-hcc/policies/hcc-board-policy-manual-section-f for more information. In the case of certain types of fraud, students may be subject to additional state, federal, or criminal penalties.
Additional Information for Non-U.S. Citizen Students
A non-U.S. citizen who is living in the United States under permanent resident status, has an appropriate visa, or who has filed an I-485 application for permanent residency and has been issued a notice of action from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) showing that the I-485 has been approved, has the same privilege of qualifying for resident status, for tuition purposes, as a U.S. citizen. Anyone permitted by Congress to adopt the United States as their domicile while living in this country is afforded the same privilege as citizens and permanent residents to establish Texas residency for tuition purposes.
Transfer Information and Credit
HCC analyzes credit accepted for transfer in terms of level, content, quality, comparability, and degree program relevance. Transfer of credit from one institution to another involves at least three considerations:
- The educational quality of the learning experience which the student transfers;
- The comparability of the nature, content, and level of the learning experience to that offered by the receiving institution; and
- The appropriateness and applicability of the learning experience to the programs offered by the receiving institution, in light of the student’s educational goals.
Accreditations Accepted in Transfer
HCC accepts college level credit in transfer from colleges and universities accredited by any of the six regional accreditation bodies: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, New England Association of Colleges and Schools, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Western Association of Colleges and Schools.
In addition, HCC accepts college level credit in transfer from colleges and universities by any of the following national accreditation bodies: American Board of Funeral Service Education, Association for Biblical Higher Education, Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools, Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools Accreditation, Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Accrediting Commission for Career Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training, Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (accepted if prior to spring 2017 and after fall 2018), Commission of Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools, Council on Occupational Education, Distance Education Accrediting Commission (formerly DETC), Distance Education and Training Council, Higher Learning Commission, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Higher Education (MSA/CHE), National Association of Schools of Theatre, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission (NCA), New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE), New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Technical and Career Institutions (NEASC-CTCI), Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACS), Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (WASC-ACCJC). Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities (WASC-ACSCU)
Students Transferring to HCC from Other Colleges/Universities
Transfer students are students who have previous college work and plan to pursue a certificate or degree at HCC. HCC evaluates, accepts, and awards credit for transfer course work, experiential learning, advanced placement, and professional certificates that is consistent with the HCC mission and for which HCC can ensure that the course work and learning outcomes are at the collegiate level and comparable to HCC certificate and degree programs. Transfer students are required to send official transcripts from each previously attended college or university. Transfer work is evaluated within the first semester of attendance.
Prior Learning Assessment Credit
Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is a process for assessing learning gained outside a traditional academic environment. This could be learning acquired through military service, work experience, employer training programs, independent study, non-credit courses, open courseware, volunteer or community service. Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is a means of evaluating what a student already knows at the college-level derived from these experiences for college credit, certification, or advanced standing toward further education or training. See PLA website for more information www.hccs.edu/resources-for/current-students/prior-learning-assessment.
To be eligible to earn PLA credit, a student must meet all Houston Community College admissions requirements. This includes having a term activated semester credit account. PLA credit is awarded only when it applies to an HCC program of study. The student should not have previously taken or attempted the course (by title) that is the same as the PLA credit for which they are applying. PLA credit cannot be applied to any Cooperative Education/Internship Program or Capstone course.
To commence the PLA process, students must first speak with their Pathway and Case Management Advisor. If it is determined that they are eligible for PLA, the student will begin the PLA process.
NOTE: A minimum of 25 percent of the credits for the HCC certificate or degree must be completed at HCC (in fulfillment of the residency requirement). Please note that credit earned by Advanced Placement (AP) exams do not count toward the residency requirement.
Credit by Examination
HCC awards credit for qualified scores on nationally standardized examinations for the following instruments: College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Examinations, the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), International Baccalaureate (IB) exams, and the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) subject exams, Sophia Learning exams (with ACE evaluation), Learning Counts exams (with ACE evaluation), Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS with ACE evaluation) and Straighter Line (with ACE evaluation). Official test scores must be sent from the testing agency to the HCC Office of Admissions and Records. Contact the Testing Office for examination schedules and availability of the CLEP. Questions regarding credit received for the above national exams should be directed to the Advising Office.
More information on is available at www.hccs.edu/support-services/transfers/transferring-credits.
Students Transferring from HCC to Other Colleges/Universities
HCC recommends the following steps to students considering transferring to other colleges/universities:
- Meet with a HCC advisor at a student’s community college campus to discuss academic goals, plans, and questions. For instance, the student should consider completing an associate degree before transferring. Some universities give preferential treatment in admission decisions, if a student transfers after completing an associate degree. Research indicates that students who have completed the associate degree perform better after transfer than those who did not complete the associate degree.
- If a student needs to transfer to another institution before the completion of an HCC associate degree, the student may be able to “reverse transfer” to HCC college credits from another institution in order to fulfill associate degree requirements. In most cases, a student can “reverse transfer” up to 42 college-level semester hours of credit within three years of leaving HCC to complete associate degree requirements. (Note: all graduation requirements must be fulfilled. See HCC catalog at www.hccs.edu/programs/catalog for more information.)
- HCC also recommends that students obtain a transfer plan from their HCC advisor. A transfer plan lists the university-required courses which can be taken at HCC toward a student’s university bachelor’s degree’s major. If students are undecided about their choice of university or their choice of major, see an HCC career counselor for more help. To locate a counselor, go to www.hccs.edu/support-services/counseling/counselors-hcc.
For more information, see the “If You are Transferring from HCC” section of
For a list of universities in which HCC has established articulation agreements, visit www.hccs.edu/support-services/transfers/agreements.
Transfer Dispute Resolution
If a student is informed by a Texas public college or university that it will not accept the transfer of any HCC academic course credit, the student may have a case for a transfer dispute which will ultimately be resolved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). Students should be cautioned that workforce course credits may or may not be transferable, depending upon the program and articulation agreements between HCC and the college or university involved.
Institutions of higher education, however, may choose to accept additional credit hours by agreement. If the student wishes to transfer credit later to work on a bachelor’s degree, the student should consult with an HCC program or advisor. Rules and procedures for the resolution of transfer disputes regarding lower-division courses have been formulated by the THECB as follows:
If an institution of higher education refuses to accept course credit earned by a student at another institution of higher education, the receiving institution shall provide written notice to the student and to the sending institution that transfer of course credit has been denied, along with the reasons for denial. Students may dispute the denial of transfer credit by contacting a designated official at either the sending or receiving institution.
The two institutions and the student shall attempt to resolve the dispute in accordance with THECB rules and guidelines.
If the transfer dispute is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student or the sending institution within 45 days of the date the student received written notice of denial, the institution denying the course credit transfer shall notify the Commissioner of Higher Education of the unresolved dispute and the reasons for the continued denial of course credit transfer.
The Commissioner or a designee shall make the final determination in an unresolved dispute concerning the transfer of course credit and provide written notice of the determination to the involved student and institutions.
Students who intend to transfer to baccalaureate degree programs should be aware of possible limitations on lower division course work. Most universities will generally not accept in transfer more than sixty-six semester credit hours of lower division academic credit; however, institutions may choose to accept additional hours by agreement.