2014-2015 Student Handbook
We are glad you have chosen to enroll at Houston Community College. As one of the largest and finest community colleges in the United States, HCC students come from all walks of life and have diverse educational goals in mind. Our excellent faculty and staff are committed to providing quality programs and services that will enable you to transfer to the university of your choice with an associate degree, prepare for immediate entry into numerous exciting occupations with a certificate, acquire or improve linguistic and high-tech skills and/or meet the requirements for a GED diploma. Whatever your goals or aspirations may be, we are here to help you achieve them. This Student Handbook provides valuable information about many available resources while you attend HCC. In turning the pages of the Handbook, you will discover an array of services and activities offered that address any special needs you may have, and contributes to making your educational experience more enjoyable and meaningful. Again, welcome and best wishes as you experience all that HCC has to offer.
Houston Community College will be the most relevant community college in the country. We will be the opportunity institution for every student we serve - essential to our community’s success.
Houston Community College is an open-admission, public institution of higher education offering a high-quality, affordable education for academic advancement, workforce training, economic and career development, and lifelong learning to prepare individuals in our diverse communities for life and work in a global and technological society.
The Houston Community College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award the associate degree.
Student Handbook by sections
Assessment and Enrollment
The State of Texas requires that all students who are not otherwise exempted or waived from the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) must be tested for determination of college readiness in reading, writing and math.
College Readiness and Developmental Education
Students interested in pursuing a program that requires college-level skills must score at college-level on the TSI Assessment exam or take developmental education courses designed to help them achieve college readiness. If students have weaknesses in all three skill areas, they should take developmental education in reading first, math second, and writing third, enrolling every semester until they reach the skill levels needed for their desired program.
Students are considered to carry a full-time course load if they are registered for 12 or more semester hours during the spring or fall semester. A full-time course load is 9 or more hours during the summer. Students are limited to one course during a mini session. It is suggested that full-time students work no more than 20 hours a week in order to be successful. Students who work full-time should carry no more than 6 semester hours in order to be successful. Exceptional students wishing to take more than the allowed 18 semester hours during regular sessions require special approval from an advisor. Generally, students must spend three hours of study time outside the classroom for every hour in the classroom. Consult the current HCC catalog
You are expected to attend all lecture classes and labs regularly. You are also responsible for materials covered during your absences. Instructors may be willing to consult with you for make-up assignments, but it is your responsibility to contact the instructor. Class attendance is monitored daily. Although it is your responsibility to drop a course for nonattendance, the instructor has the authority to drop you for excessive absences. You 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 3 credit-hour lecture class meeting 3 hours per week (48 hours of instruction), you can be dropped after 6 hours of absence.
- For a 4 credit-hour lecture/lab course meeting 6 hours per week (96 hours of instruction),you can be dropped after 12 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.
If you observe a religious holiday and miss class, you must notify your instructor in writing two weeks in advance to arrange to take a test or make up an assignment. A religious holiday is “a holy day observed by a specific religion and the place of worship is exempt from property taxation under Section 11.20 of the Tax Code." Academic Calendar
Points per semester hour
A (90-100/Excellent) 4
B (80-89/Good. 3
C (70-79/Fair) 2
D (60-69/Passing) 1
F (Failing) 0
FX (Failing due to non-attendance) 0
*IP (In Progress) 0
*W (Withdrawn) 0
*I (Incomplete 0
*AUD (Audit) 0
*COM (Completed) 0
Is given to a student who is attending a course to gain knowledge of a particular subject matter but receives no academic credit. You are not required to meet attendance, class assignments or test requirements. Career & Technical Education courses may not be audited.
Is given in non-credit and certain CEU and semester hour courses.
IP (In progress)
Is given only in certain developmental courses. You must re-enroll to receive credit. Grades are available online within one week of the end of the course and may be accessed through the Student Center on the HCC website.
The grade of “I” (Incomplete) is conditional. If you receive an “I” you must arrange with the instructor to complete the course work within six months. After the deadline, the “I” becomes an “F”. All “I” designations must be changed to grades prior to graduation. The changed grade will appear on your record as “I”/Grade (example: “I/A”).
Grade Point Average (GPA)
Grade points are calculated by multiplying the regular term hour value of the course by the point value of the grade earned. An “A” in a three-hour course earns 12 grade points, a “B” earns 9 points, a “C” earns 6 points, a “D” earns 3 points, an “F” earns 0 points. The grade point average (GPA) is calculated by dividing the total points earned by the semester hours completed with grades of “A”,“B”, “C”, “D”, or “F”. For repeated courses, the highest grade is used in the cumulative GPA; however, all grades earned in a course will be entered on your transcript and will remain there permanently. The following grades are not used to calculate your GPA: IP (In progress) W (Withdrawn I (Incomplete) AUD (Audit). A college level GPA is also displayed on the student record which reflects only college level coursework and excludes developmental coursework.
Grade Points Calculation Reference
A - 4.0 B - 3.0 C - 2.0 D - 1.0 F - 0.0
Example: Fall 2013
- HIST 1301 B 3 points X 3 hours 9 points
- MATH 1314 C 2 points X 3 hours 6 points
- PSYC 1301 A 4 points X 3 hours 12 points
- EDUC 1300 A 4 points X 3 hours 12 points
Total hours: 12 Total points: 39
GPA = 39 points/12 hours (39 divides by 12) = 3.25 GPA
- Status - Good Standing
Definition - Cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above
Action Required - None
- Status - Probation
Definition - Cumulative GPA below 2.0
Action Required - Must register for SLIP and work with a counselor prior to enrolling in classes.
- Status - Continued Probation
Definition - Cumulative GPA below 2.0 and Term GPA 2.0 or above Action Required - Continue to work with the counselor from a previous semester.
- Status - Suspension
Definition - Previous term status of probation or continued probation and Term GPA below 2.0
Action Required - Must register for SLIP and work with a counselor prior to enrolling in classes.
Students on probation, continued probation and/or suspension are required to attend a Successful Learning Intervention Program (SLIP) session prior to re-enrollment in order to meet with their designated counselor. The counselor will stipulate conditions of enrollment, including but not limited to, maximum hours and/or specific courses. It is important to note that a student on an Academic Suspension may be unable to enroll in classes for one semester. An Academic Suspension may be appealed by completing the necessary paperwork in the counseling office.
Students who complete 12 or more semester hours during the fall or spring semester with a GPA of 3.5 or higher will be named to the Dean’s List. If eligible, contact the Dean of Student Services at your college to obtain a Dean’s List certificate. If you complete 12 or more semester hours with a GPA of 3.0 to 3.49, you will be included on the Honor List.
Students must withdraw by the withdrawal deadline in order to receive a “W” on a transcript. Final withdrawal deadlines vary each semester and/or depending on class length, please visit the online Academic Calendar at www.hccs.edu/hccs/ current-students/academic, HCC schedule of classes and catalog, any HCC Registration Office, or any HCC advisor to determine class withdrawal deadlines.
Be certain you understand HCC policies about dropping a course and consult with a counselor/advisor to determine if withdrawing is in your best interest. It is your responsibility to withdraw officially from a class and prevent an “F” from appearing on your transcript. Senate Bill 1231 and limits the number of W’s a student can have to 6 classes over the course of their entire academic career. This policy is effective for students entering higher education for the first time in Fall 2007 and subsequent terms. Withdrawals accumulated at any other Texas public higher education institution count toward the 6 course total. Withdrawals for certain circumstances beyond the students control may not be counted toward the 6-drop limit.
In addition, withdrawing from a course may impact your financial aid award or eligibility. Contact the Financial Aid Office or website to learn more about the impact of withdrawing on financial aid.
As a result of recent Texas legislative changes, please be advised that HCC is charging additional tuition for students who enroll in the same class three or more times at HCC. While it is the hope of HCC that students will be successful in their first attempt at classes, we realize that life demands, academic struggles, and other issues may result in students needing to take the same class more than once. Speaking with an advisor will help you develop student success skills, improving your overall academic performance. If a student repeats a course in which a grade (A-F) has been received, the highest grade received at HCC is the permanent grade for the course and will be used in computing the GPA. All grades earned in a given course will be reflected on the transcript. Other colleges may compute the GPA differently than HCC.
Freshman Success Courses (FSC)
All students who attend Houston Community College for the first time and have 12 college level semester credit hours (SCH) or less must enroll in a Freshman Success Course (FSC) their first semester. Several FSC are subject-oriented, for example HPRS 1201: Introduction to the Health Professions, ENGR 1201: Introduction to Engineering, and LEAD 1200 Workforce Development and Critical Thinking. For students pursuing other majors or who are undecided, they should enroll in EDUC 1300 Learning Frameworks. This course will help students determine their major and file a degree plan.
Learning Communities consist of at least two courses linked together often by a common theme. Because they are linked, the same group of students attend both classes as a cohort, providing an opportunity to make deeper connections with peers and faculty. The instructors work together to plan and provide common outcomes, common activities, and additional support for students. The educational benefit of a learning community is that course content is reinforced by the two participating disciplines making it easier for the student to retain the information. The student must enroll in both classes of a learning community at the same time.
A course that is 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. 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.
Tutoring, Writing Centers, and Math Labs
One important key to success in college is learning to use available resources. Houston Community College provides many tutoring opportunities for students in almost all areas. Whether you prefer face-to-face interaction or the privacy and convenience of working with a tutor online, HCC provides it all. In addition, HCC provides access to writing centers and math labs, staffed with experts ready to assist students with writing assignments and math problems.
The Honors Program was created to serve highly motivated, intellectually talented, academically well-prepared, and/or creative students. The program is open to full-time, parttime, day and evening students. Students admitted to the Honors Program are challenged to develop their full potential through a variety of educational activities, by working with a select group of dedicated faculty, and by taking classes with other highly motivated and gifted students. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have a degree plan showing at least 18 semester hours remaining at HCC. Students will study in special honors sections of courses, contract to do individualized projects and participate in special honors activities. While in the Honors Program, students must complete at least one honors course or contract work each semester, participate in honors activities and maintain a 3.5 GPA. For information about the Honors Program contact the Honors Program Director at your college.
The HCC Honors College is located at Central College. It offers high achieving students the opportunity for enriched instruction, leadership development, and the opportunity for study/travel abroad. The program is designed for full-time students beginning their college experience or with limited HCC credit hours (under 15). Students study together in cohorts for their core curriculum classes. Qualified students can receive scholarships and textbook assistance. Students must have a 3.7 high school GPA or 3.5 HCC GPA and college-ready scores on TAKS, SAT or COMPASS. The Honors College application must be completed separately and all students are interviewed before acceptance. To access the application, click on “New Students” on the HCC main webpage and click on “Honors College” under the list of student options. For more information, contact the Honors College Dean at 713.718.6081.
Phi Theta Kappa
Phi Theta Kappa is an international honor society for community college students. Omega Sigma is one of 1200 chapters. Membership is based on high academic standards. HCC has an active chapter and has consistently ranked as a top 25 chapter on the international stage. The chapter promotes scholarship; develops leadership skills; and is involved in service to the college and community.
Distance Education (DE) courses offer one to four semester hours of credit and are equivalent to on-campus courses in terms of transferability (no distinction is made on college transcripts). Prospective students are encouraged to visit the DE homepage at de.hccs.edu to review basic computer literacy requirements and to take a self-test to determine if you are a good candidate for on-line instruction through distance education. Students taking distance education courses are required to complete a mandatory online orientation and to be familiar with unique DE policies and procedures by reviewing the Distance Education Student Handbook.
For more information
Important note: Due to authorization requirements, HCC is not able to accept Distance Education (fully online courses) students who live in the following states: Arkansas, District of Columbia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming
HCC has one graduation ceremony each year in May. You are eligible to participate if you have completed your course requirements the previous December or will complete them in May or August. You must file an Application for Completion of Degree or Certificate and meet the requirements stated in the catalog in order to graduate. Students that transfer to a four year institution prior to earning a certificate or associates degree may transfer back coursework to HCC in order to meet certificate/degree requirements. Students must also meet HCC residency requirements in order to be eligible for graduation. For more information
Academic advisors assist students with their academic planning from prospective student through graduation. They assist students with the interpretation of policies and procedures and assist them with short and long-term goal setting. Students may wish to see an advisor to discuss topics such as:
- Interpretation of placement tests
- Degree planning • Goal setting • General financial aid information
- Information about degree programs and certificates • Advanced placement/prior learning assessments
- Assistance with course selection
- Transfer planning
- Applying for graduation
- Referral to campus resources
All new students with fewer than 12 college level semester credit hours will be assigned a senior advisor their first semester. Students are required to meet with their senior advisor at least twice during the first semester in order to declare a major, complete the planner, and develop a plan for success to reach academic and career goals.
Students are assigned a Program Advisor once they have completed 12 semester credit hours.
Counselors are at least master’s level professionals who are trained to provide mental health counseling services. Counselors are available to meet with students by appointment. However, some concerns may be addressed on a walk-in basis:
- Career assessment, planning, and exploration (for all students, especially undecided students)
- Personal counseling (below are a few examples of issues presented by students):
- Individuals who have difficulty with self-esteem, communication, or assertion.
- Students having difficulty juggling school, work, and other responsibilities.
- Students trying to adjust to their new surroundings.
- Strategies for managing stress and anxiety (including test anxiety)
- Crisis intervention
- ADA Services to include reasonable accommodations
- Specialized intervention with students in response to early alerts, repeat coursework, behavioral intervention, and academic probation/suspension, etc.
- Community resource information.
- Students on probation, continued probation and/or suspension are required to attend a Successful Learning Intervention Program (SLIP) session prior to re-enrollment. They must then meet with a counselor who may stipulate conditions for enrollment, including but not limited to, maximum hours and/or specific courses.
Online Student Services
Services Our goal is to assist students with processes related to admissions, registration, financial aid, childcare and other concerns pertaining to their educational experience at Houston Community College. The Online Student Services team is committed to assisting students in a timely and efficient manner via the internet. Please feel free to submit an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and your questions will be answered within a 24 hour period, in the order in which it was received. Please note that you will receive a response for questions submitted on the weekend by the following business day.
Financial Aid Resources
Houston Community College’s Financial Aid Office is committed to helping students find the financial assistance needed to help meet their educational goals. The college participates in various state and federal grant, work-study, loan and scholarship programs. Most of these programs are available to anyone who demonstrates financial need and qualifies academically.
Grants are gift aid from the federal and state government that do not have to be repaid. Grants are awarded to students on the basis of need. The Federal PELL Grant is the primary grant program. Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG), the Leverage Educational Partnership Program (LEAP) and the Special Leverage Educational Partnership Program (SLEAP).
When Should I Apply?
Students should apply for financial aid each year in early January. At HCC, April 15 is the Priority Deadline date for student aid applications. Students who meet the deadline date and qualify may be awarded aid in time to register and purchase books. The deadline for submitting an application for a federal student loan for the Fall and Spring semesters and the Spring only semester is March 1. Financial aid applications are accepted after the Priority Deadline, however, financial aid awards may not be available to pay for tuition, fees and books at the time of registration. Students who submit a financial aid application after the Priority Deadline must be prepared to make other arrangements to pay for books, tuitions and fees. The Installment Payment Plan is available through the college Cashier’s Office.
Loans must be repaid. Repayment begins after a student completes his/her educational program or once they are no longer enrolled at least half-time, whichever occurs first. The Federal Stafford Loans (Subsidized and Unsubsidized) are two of the major loan programs. HCC also offer the Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS).
A limited amount of money is available as Emergency Loans to those who need help to pay for tuition, mandatory fees and textbooks. Emergency loans are available on a first-come, firstserved basis and must be repaid within 30 days. A student must show financial need to receive an Emergency Loan and provide proof of their ability to repay the loan.
College Work-Study Programs
The College Work-Study Program (CWS) provides jobs for students that demonstrate financial need, which allows them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the course of study. The College offers the Federal College Work- Study (FCWS) and Texas Work-Study (TXCWS) Programs.
Scholarships are gift funds based on high academic achievement or special talents that do not have to be repaid. HCC coordinates a variety of institutional, foundation and private scholarships. Students should apply as early as possible, as all scholarship applications and awards have a deadline.
The passage of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 provides HOPE Scholarship tax credit for certain eligible students. Students with little income or tax liability may benefit more from increases in Pell Grant award than from HOPE Scholarship Tax Credits. Please consult your tax advisor to determine how the HOPE Scholarship tax credit can benefit you.
Opportunity 14 Scholarship
Opportunity 14 is a program designed to remove the financial barriers that prevent so many young people from going to college. The Opportunity 14 Scholarship helps students who qualify for some financial aid, but not enough to pay for their education. The scholarship will provide up to $6,000 in supplemental support to each eligible student over a period of three years. Students may receive a maximum of $1,500 per fall and spring semester and $1,000 for summer semesters. The Opportunity 14 Scholarship is structured to encourage students to attend college full-time and complete their degrees.
Financial Aid TV (FATV)
Financial Aid TV (FATV) at http://hccs.financialaidtv.com is a Web-based, self-service financial aid advising and outreach resource which allows students to find answers to common financial aid questions online rather than having to come to the financial aid office in person. FATV consists of a video library of over 60 videos that cover topics such as financial literacy, financial aid and financial advisement. FATV is a natural extension of HCC’s financial aid services and is now available to current and prospective students on the Web 24/7.
Avoiding Fees with Higher One
Why is a fee assessed
for this service?
How to avoid this fee
Non-Higher One ATM Transactions (Includes all withdrawals inquiriesand declines)
Domestic: $2.50 International: $5.00
A non-Higher One ATM has been used.
"Swipe and Sign" for all your purchases instead of visiting the ATM. However if you must use an ATM do so at FREE Higher One ATMs only.
$0.50 per transaction
|At checkout you selected "debit" and entered your Personal Identification Number (PIN) or a merchant processed your transaction as a PIN-less debit transaction even if you did not explicitly provide your PIN.||PIN fees are easy to avoid! Instead of entering your Personal Identification Number (PIN) at checkout choose "credit" and sign the receipt to avoid the PIN fee.|
College Eagle Card Houston Community College now offers a free FDIC Insured checking account, called the One Account, offered by Higher One. The Eagle card can be used to make purchases wherever Debit MasterCard is accepted. With the OneAccount, ALL financial aid recipients eligible for a refund will be issued an Eagle Card. In addition, refunds resulting from cash, checks, and money orders paid to the cashiers office will be reimbursed through the HCC Eagle Card. Instead of hassling with cashing a check, you will get your money deposited electronically to your own prepaid MasterCard from Houston Community College and Higher One. It’s faster, safer, more convenient, and is free of charge. In order to receive a refund, it is required that students activate their refund preference at HCCEagleCard.com as soon as the card arrives in the mail. Students will have the option of obtaining a Higher One account, called the One Account, or transferring funds to the student’s preferred bank account.
For a list of answers to frequently asked questions, go to: Financial aid
In support of the HCC Mission to promote success and retention, the library system, an integral and vital part of the educational process, endeavors to provide the best possible human, material, and digital resources and services to support, enhance and supplement student learning.
The library system, which is made up of libraries and electronic resource centers (ERCs) provides you with an extensive, up-todate collection of resources, including books, magazines and newspapers--in both paper and electronic formats—as well as videos. Professional librarians are available to show you how to use the library and to help you locate information and materials.
How Do I Find What I Want?
An online library catalog is available from all internet-connected computers at library.hccs.edu. This offers an easy-to-use source for finding books at HCC libraries. Books at every campus can be requested by students through the online catalog and will be delivered to any other campus library. Student picture ID cards are used to check out books and other materials from the library. The home page also provides access to our extensive databases of magazine, professional journal and newspaper articles. To access the periodical databases from a non-library computer you will need an HCC library barcode number which is located on the back of your student ID card. You may also obtain your barcode number by logging into the HCC Student System. Once you have signed in, navigate to the Personal Information section of the page, and then select Demographic Data. The HCC Library barcode number is located on the third line, underneath your student ID number. For more information
Students may purchase textbooks, study aids, and a wide range of novelty items and apparel at the college bookstore. Students are encouraged to purchase books prior to the first day of class. Students should bring a copy of their class schedule to ensure that they are purchasing the correct texts. The bookstore will buy back books that are in good condition and will pay 50 percent of the purchase price if they will be in use the next term and if the text is not overstocked. For more information
Houston Community College is committed to providing an accessible and supportive environment for students with disabilities. The Ability Services at each college of the Houston Community College is responsible for arranging reasonable accommodations for all qualified students with documented disabilities to ensure equal access to all programs and activities at HCC. Ability Services assists students with physical, learning or emotional disabilities in developing independence and self reliance. Services include various assistive technologies and reasonable accommodations for admissions assistance, testing, academic advising, registration and classroom instruction. Interpreting services are available for students who are deaf/hard-of-hearing and assistive technology devices are available for students who are blind. In order to serve you better, ADA counselors recommend that you meet with them at least 60 days prior to the beginning of the term. For more information
The District Office of Veteran Affairs provides support to veterans and reservists, as well as to their families, who are eligible for education benefits under the Montgomery G.I. Bill, the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, the Vocational Rehabilitation G.I. Bill, the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program, and the Hazelwood Act. The District Office of Veteran Affairs helps veterans and reservists apply for benefits, provide information, and serves as a liaison between the V.A. Regional Processing Office and college offices. For more information
International Student Services
The Office of International Student Services & Study Abroad (OISS&SA) is committed to promoting the success of international students at Houston Community College by offering a wide variety of support services. The OISS&SA staff provides information and programs to international students,faculty, staff and the community concerning F-1 visas and related F-1 immigration issues. It is the responsibility of every student to understand and follow the rules and regulations that govern their F-1 immigration status. The OISS&SA staff have the competencies and skills to assist the international students with their immigration questions regarding F-1 status as well as their academic success. Working to ensure that every student has the Knowledge necessary to maintain his or her F-1 immigration status so they may successfully complete their educational goals in the United States, the OISS&SA holds a mandatory new student orientation each semester. The OISS&SA also provides walk-in advising for F-1 students at 3100 Main Street throughout the week, and hosts international student workshops throughout the year to further assist students with adjusting to life in the United States and staying in compliance with the Department of Homeland Security regulations to promote personal and academic, student success.
The Office of International Student Services & Study Abroad (OISS&SA) works to provide resources for faculty and students wishing to participate in education abroad. The OISS&SA assists students with finding academically relevant programs, funding options, travel insurance, travel information, cultural adjustment, health and safety tips, and organizing logistics abroad. For more information
Questions regarding transfer plans and information, transfer scholarships, university admissions requirements and course equivalencies can be answered by contacting your nearest transfer advising representative or by accessing the following link.
You may also reference transfer information from the current catalog. Most senior public universities and colleges in Texas accept no more than 66 semester credit hours of lower division coursework from a community college. We also provide 2+2 transfer plans and joint admissions program information to help facilitate the transfer process. You are encouraged to visit with a representative from the college or university for which you plan to transfer to learn more about transfer requirements and opportunities. For more information
Career Planning and Job Search
The Career Planning and Resources Office assists current and former HCC students with career assessments, career planning, identifying full part-time employment, connecting with internship and externship opportunities. Workshops covering job and career readiness are held in classrooms and at various campuses throughout the district. The Virtual Career Network allows you to search employment opportunities in the Houston-area, post resumes, register for various workshops, review upcoming events, participate in mentor discussions, and much more. There is a Career Planning Specialist at each college to help you set your career goals, resume writing, interviewing, and improving your overall job readiness skills. Job fairs and other on-campus recruiting/hiring events are also made available to students and alumni. For more information
The Testing Center is responsible for the administration of various assessment tests to incoming and current students to include admissions/placement testing, departmental exams, and nationally standardized examinations for the purpose of promoting academic achievement. Each college offers a variety of testing programs to help you achieve your academic, personal and career goals.
Testing schedules will vary, and not all tests are available at each college. Test fees are required for some exams. Special accommodations are available for those who qualify. For more information
Children are not permitted in college classrooms or unattended on campus, however childcare is available for those students who qualify. In partnership with Workforce Solutions, HCC provides childcare assistance to eligible students enrolled in Academic and Career & Technical Education programs at Houston Community College. Eligibility is based on parental income and the number of credit hours the parent is enrolled in at HCC. Applications, along with the appropriate documentation, can be submitted to an HCC childcare liaison at any one of the six colleges. The documentation is then forwarded to a Workforce Solutions financial aid coordinator, and a funding determination is made based on the information provided, usually within 3-5 business days of receipt. The parent will then be contacted by a Workforce Solutions representative regarding application approval and co-payments.
Student Life at HCC
Card Student identification (ID) cards are available once a student has registered and paid for classes. The card will be needed for library and computer lab usage, at offices providing student services, admission to college activities, and voting in campus elections. ID cards are nontransferable and are to be held only by the students to whom they were issued. Students are required to be in possession of their ID card at all times. All ID cards are the property of HCC and must be shown when requested by a representative of the college district. If students lose their ID cards, they should report it to the police by calling 713.718.8888 as soon as it is discovered as missing. To obtain a replacement initiate the process at the college campus you attend. A nominal fee will be charged for the replacement of lost ID cards.
HCC believes that involvement in activities outside the classroom contributes to a well-rounded college experience. At HCC, you have the opportunity to enhance your personal and intellectual growth by participating in a variety of activities, including:
- Student government and college student associations
- Special interest organizations
- The student newspaper, the Egalitarian
- Recreational sports activities
- Cultural, social, and educational activities
- Volunteer activities
- Mentoring program
- Honor societies
Recognized student organizations at HCC include all of the interest-specific clubs and organizations, honor societies associated with specific academic programs, as well as the student government organizations described above. Get involved on campus
Student Associations and United Student Council
The student associations, organizations and clubs, and the Student Government Associations and United Student Council have been developed as organizations through which students within the college district and its colleges and district-wide programs join together to:
- Promote HCC and its college
- Develop co-curricular activities and organizations
- Address the issues brought forth by the student body
- Become directly involved in the decision-making processes of HCC and its colleges.
Registered students are eligible to be members of their respective College Student Association. Membership is activated by attendance at a meeting. Voting and other privileges are determined by the organization’s Rules of Self- Government.
The Egalitarian is the newspaper of HCC, written and produced by students. The Egalitarian promotes the free exchange of ideas and information throughout the colleges. The newspaper staff maintains a high standard of journalistic excellence. The Egalitarian is distributed several times throughout the year to students, faculty and staff at all HCC campuses and centers.
Houston Community College values the volunteers that assist with many HCC community outreach activities. This partnership helps HCC maintain an essential presence in the communities we serve. HCC defines a volunteer as an uncompensated individual who performs services directly related to the business of HCC for the purpose of supporting HCC’s humanitarian, educational, or public service activities or for the purpose of enabling the volunteer to gain experience in specific endeavors. To qualify as a HCC volunteer, an individual must be willing to provide service according to HCC Volunteer Procedures.
The HCC Alumni Association is open to all graduates of certificate and degree programs, former and current students who have successfully completed at least one course, parents and friends of the College. All are welcome! The primary purpose of the association is to provide former HCC students with an ongoing connection to the College that will enhance their careers and their personal lives, to promote HCC in the community, and to support current HCC students in reaching their educational goals.
Houston Community College does not discriminate against or deny access to students solely on the grounds that a student has a communicable disease, as defined by the Texas Department of Health. The college reserves the right to exclude a person with a communicable disease from college facilities, programs and functions if the district makes a medically-based determination that the restriction is necessary for the welfare of the person who has the communicable disease and/or the welfare of the other members of the college community. Houston Community College has designated the Director of Risk Management as the Communicable Disease Coordinator. In this role, the Coordinator is responsible for reporting communicable diseases to the City Health Department and functioning as the liaison with the student’s physician and the coordinator of any health services provided by staff.
Bacterial Meningitis is a serious, potentially deadly disease that can progress extremely fast – so take utmost caution. It is an inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. The bacteria that cause meningitis can also infect the blood. This disease strikes about 3,000 Americans each year, including 100-125 on college campuses, leading to 5-15 deaths among college students every year. There is a treatment, but those who survive may develop severe health problems or disabilities.
Meningococcal (Bacterial Meningitis) Vaccine Requirement for All HCC Students Entering in January 2012 and Thereafter
Texas Senate Bill 1107, passed in May 2011, requires all students entering a public, private, or independent institution of higher education in Texas as of January 2012 and thereafter to provide documentation that they have had a meningococcal (bacterial meningitis) vaccine or “booster” dose - within five years of the first class day of the semester they will enter that institution and no later than 10 days before the first day of classes in that same semester.
Unless exempted as noted below, entering students must comply with this requirement.
- All first-time students of an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education. This includes dual enrollment students regardless of where or how they are taking classes for credit from HCC.
- All students who are transferring from any institution of higher education to HCC.
- All students who previously attended an institution of higher education, including HCC, and who are enrolling or re-enrolling in HCC following a break in enrollment of at least one fall or spring semester.
You are EXEMPT from this requirement if:
- You will be age 30 or older on the first day of classes of the semester in which you are enrolling at HCC.
- Effective January 1, 2014, the age will be lowered to 22.
- You will be enrolled only in online or distance education courses. This exemption does not apply to dual enrollment students regardless of where or how they are taking classes for credit from HCC that do not require on campus testing.
- You cannot take the vaccine because of medical reasons. - To prevent your registration for classes from being affected, you must submit specific, acceptable documentation, to substantiate this reason.
- You decline the vaccine due to reasons of conscience, including a religious belief. - To prevent your registration from classes being affected, you must submit a completed, notarized Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) Vaccine Exemption Affidavit Form. BE AWARE: This process takes a significant amount of time, so begin well in advance of your intended registration date.
- Effective January 2014, the form may be downloaded from the website and submitted. For more information
Requirements for Health Science Programs
If you are enrolled in a health-related program and will have direct patient contact, you must be immunized against:
- Tetanus/Diphtheria (TD)
- Hepatitis B
Mental health screening is available to students through the campus counseling departments to promote academic productivity and safety. Counselors are able to provide students with information regarding local community resources. In the event that a student is having difficulty managing behavior or presents a risk to him/herself or others, the student may be asked to take a leave of absence from the college to allow for time for the student to seek professional assistance. Once the student is safe to return to the college, a re-entry plan will be developed in consultation with the student. Counseling assistance is also available to those students affected by crisis situations and are provided with information regarding available community resources.
Health and Accident Insurance
Several health insurance providers are listed for domestic students. A blanket accident and sickness insurance plan has been made available to international students and their dependents by Macori Inc. Health Insurance for Students, underwritten by the National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburg, PA.
For more Information regarding health insurance for domestic and international students.
Police Services & Campus Safety
Police Services & Campus Safety Police Services
The HCC Police Department receives reports of all incidents occurring on campus and is responsible for campus safety and the investigation of any campus crime. In addition, the department has a working relationship with the Houston Police Department, Harris County Sheriff Department, Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Department, and the Stafford Police Department, to provide assistance for incidents that require special resources. The HCC Police Department will investigate violations of the law or college rules and regulations. Administrative violations may be adjudicated in the college administrative discipline process. Violations which rise to violations of the law will be adjudicated by the appropriate court system. The HCC Police Department provides the following services:
- Parking Passes – Passes are available on-line annually after August 1st.
- Campus Escorts - The HCC Police Department will provide an officer safety escort to all students, faculty or staff upon request. Campus escorts may be scheduled by calling our department at 713.718.8888.
- Vehicle Assists - Vehicle assistance is provided through a contractor for jump-starts, car unlocks and other disabled vehicle situations on most college campuses. Officers will assist you in calling for assistance if necessary. PLEASE NOTE: all vehicle assist services must be paid for by the requester at the time the service is provided. Costs for services can be found at www.hccs.edu.
- Disabled vehicles may not remain on college property. To request assistance, call 713.718.8888.
- Lost and Found - The HCC Police Department maintains the Lost and Found service. If you find an item on campus, please bring it to the Police Department and turn it in to an officer. HCCPD will hold found items for 90 days (with some exceptions being disposed of sooner). To recover lost items, stop by the HCC Police Officer at the campus where the item was lost.
- Crime Statistics - The HCC Police Department also makes available Information related to campus crime statistics. This information may be found by visiting www.hccs.edu.
- Safety Tips and Crime Prevention Information – Resources are available at www.hccs.edu to include active shooter training, domestic violence information, general safety tips, and much more.
- Gender Identity
- Threats and Bullying
- Questioning • Coming Out
- Sexual Violence
Like a patchwork quilt, we are all individuals, different and unique, yet together we create a beautiful and harmonic whole. And together we are stronger and safer when you see the HCC Safe Zone emblem, you will find someone who can help you find the answers you need. Safe Zone volunteers will listen without judgment and in confidence. When you need someone to talk to, look for the emblem on your campus.
For more infromation
Student Rights and Responsibilities
Freedom of Inquiry and Expression
Educational institutions exist for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students, and the general well-being of society. Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the attainment of these goals. Students and student organizations will be free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them and to express opinions publicly and privately. They will be free to support causes by orderly means which do not disrupt the regular and normal operation of the institution and which comply with the regulations that relate to student activities and conduct. At the same time, it should be made clear to the educational and the larger community that in their public expressions or demonstrations, students or student organizations speak only for themselves. Recognized student organizations will be allowed to invite and to hear any person of their choosing when the purpose of such an invitation is consistent with the aims of the college district. Hate messaging will not be tolerated and will result in disciplinary action.
Annual FERPA Notification
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students in “attendance” at Houston Community College certain rights with respect to their education records. “Attendance”, as defined by Houston Community College, begins on the first day of the term in which a student is enrolled. These rights 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
- The right to provide written consent before the College discloses personally identifiable information from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. The College may disclose education records without a student’s prior written consent under several FERPA exceptions including:
- disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests
- A school official is a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the College has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using College employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.
- A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the College.
- The student’s application for financial aid
- Submitting proof of dependency
- response to a judicial order or subpoena
- A bona fide health or safety emergency
- Information requested by other schools in which the student seeks or intends to enroll
- As of January, 2012, The U.S. Dept. of Education’s FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records—including your SSN, grades, or other private information – may be accessed without your consent.
- First, the U.S. Comptroller General, The U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities (“Federal and State Authorities”) may allow access to your records and PII without your consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is “principally engaged in the provision of education,” such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution.
- Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to your education records and PII without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities.
- In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.
- The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, as amended, 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 (Registration/Forms/confidentiality.pdf) 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 & in progress
- Student classification
- Degrees earned and dates awarded
- Most recent previous educational institution attended
4. 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. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5901
Equal Educational Opportunity
HCC is committed to providing an educational climate that is conducive to the personal and professional development of each individual. Students should be aware that discrimination and/or other harassment based on the race, sex, gender identity and gender expression, national origin, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, color or veteran status is prohibited by HCC Policy G.1 Discrimination and Harassment and D.1.1 Equal Educational Opportunities. HCC designates the chancellor or designated representative to coordinate its Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action efforts to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended, and with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Students who feel that they have been harassed or discriminated against or who feel that the college district has not adequately fulfilled its obligations under the provisions above of the should follow the Grievance Procedures stated below.
HCC will provide an educational, employment and business environment free of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and is not tolerated by HCC. Any student who feels that he or she is the victim of sexual harassment has the right to file a grievance. Substantiated accusations may result in disciplinary action against the offender, up to and including termination of the employee or suspension of the student. In addition, complainants who make accusations of sexual harassment in bad faith may be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
Any student who has a grievance concerning the interpretation, application or claimed violation of his or her rights as an HCC student or feels he or she has been discriminated against or harassed on the basis of, race, sex, gender identity and gender expression, national origin, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, color or veteran status including sexual harassment, has the opportunity to seek resolution of such grievance. This may take place informally, through the mediation of designated officers of the college, or formally, through an established grievance procedure.
A student who feels he or she is a victim of harassment or discrimination or that his or her rights as a student have been violated may attempt to resolve the matter informally by bringing a complaint to the college’s Dean of Student Services or to the college’s relevant Instructional Dean (Academic or Career & Technology Education) for cases involving instructional matters. The Dean, in coordination with the HCC Office of Institutional Equity, will attempt to resolve the conflict informally by informing the individual alleged to have caused the grievance that the complaint has been filed; seek to find out the facts; and, if both parties desire it, arrange a meeting to try to resolve the differences. In the event that an attempt at informal resolution of the problem is unsuccessful, or if the complainant deems that informal resolution is undesirable, the college officer will assist the complainant in filing of a formal complaint with the HCC Office of Institutional Equity.
In the event that a student wishes to initiate a formal complaint against another member of the college community, the student must submit in writing a formal complaint to the HCC Office of Institutional Equity, stating in detail, the nature of the complaint, any relevant dates, and the names of any potential witnesses. An investigation will be initiated to determine whether there is a reasonable basis for taking action. The Affirmative Action/Compliance Officer or designee must file a written report with the college’s president. For more information
Course Grade Appeal
Grade determination and awarding of all grades in a course is clearly the responsibility of the instructor. A student’s grade can be changed only at the discretion of the instructor or as a result of the appeals committee process. Whenever possible, students and instructors should attempt to resolve grade disputes informally. If this is not possible and the student remains dissatisfied, the instructor will notify the student of the student’s right to appeal a final course grade and the procedure for filing an appeal. Right to Appeal Students have the right to appeal only final course grades. If a student is dissatisfied with a grade awarded while a course is in progress, the student may discuss the matter with the instructor. At this point, however, the instructor’s decision is final. Students who wish to appeal their final course grades must initiate the appeals process in writing no later than 30 calendar days after the beginning of the semester (fall, spring, or summer) after the disputed grade was received. The appeals process must be resolved in a timely fashion, but no later than the end of the next long semester (fall or spring) after the term in which the disputed grade is awarded.
Grade Appeals Panel
After an instructional supervisor receives notice that a student wishes to appeal a grade, the supervisor may attempt to resolve the matter informally. If the dispute remains unresolved, the instructional supervisor will convene a Grade Appeals Panel consisting of at least three instructors from the instructional area involved or a related instructional department or division. Whenever possible, the faculty members on the Panel will be full-time instructors.
The Panel will decide either to let the student’s original grade stand or to change the grade. The Panel chair must prepare a written report stating the Panel’s decision and the justification for that decision. A copy of that report must be mailed to the student, the instructor and the instructional supervisor. If the Panel’s decision is that the student’s grade be raised, the instructional supervisor will prepare and submit a Change of Grade Form. For more information
General Student Complaints
Complaints When a student wishes to file a complaint related to instructional matters not covered under the Grade Appeal or EEO Process, the student is to follow the chain of command. A student should first discuss the issue with the faculty member. If after having discussed the matter with the faculty member a resolution is not reached to the student’s satisfaction, the student may then present the issue to the division/department chair. If the student is still dissatisfied with the outcome after having spoken with the division/ department chair, he/she may direct the complaint to the appropriate dean (academic or workforce). The dean’s decision is final. Complaints must be made within the semester in which the issue arose.
General Student Services Complaints
When a student wishes to file a complaint related to a student services matter not covered under the EEO, discipline, or financial aid appeal processes, the student is to follow the chain of command. The student should bring the complaint to the attention of the department manager. If after having spoken with the department manager a resolution is not reached to the student’s satisfaction, the student may present the issue to the dean of student services. The dean’s decision is final. Complaints must be made within the semester in which the issue arose.
General Continuing Education Complaints
When a student wishes to file a complaint related to a continuing education matter not covered under the EEO, discipline, or Grade Appeal process, the student is to follow the chain of command. Students enrolled in the School of Continuing Education (SCE) should first discuss concerns with the faculty member. If the student is still dissatisfied he/she may appeal to the Program Director of the content area. The Program Director may bring the issue to the Director of SCE for a final decision.
Student Code of Conduct
Houston Community College views college-level students as adults who subscribe to a basic standard of conduct, which0 requires that they not violate any municipal, state or federal laws. Furthermore, no student may disrupt or otherwise interfere with any educational activity or fellow students’ right to pursue academic goals to the fullest in an atmosphere appropriate to a community of scholars. Any student failing to abide by appropriate standards of conduct during scheduled college activities may result in disciplinary action. Students suspected of violating the student code of conduct will be subject to the disciplinary process. Students have the right to due process.
HCC prohibits smoking inside any of its buildings, owned or leased, including offices, classrooms, restrooms, hallways, elevators and all other interior locations. Smoking is permitted outside in approved areas established by each college, administrative or support location.
Drug and Alcohol-Free Workplace
The Board strives to maintain a drug-and alcohol-free workplace environment. The College has adopted its Drug and Alcohol-Free Workplace Policy to further its objectives in establishing, promoting, and maintaining a safe, healthy, and productive work and learning environment for employees and students, to promote the reputation of HCC and its employees as responsible citizens of public trust, and to provide a consistent model of substance-free behavior for students.
Students are responsible for conducting themselves with honor and integrity in fulfilling course requirements. Penalties and/ or disciplinary proceedings may be initiated by college district officials against a student accused of scholastic dishonesty. “Scholastic Dishonesty” includes, but is not limited to, cheating on a test, plagiarism and collusion. Possible punishments for academic dishonesty may include a grade of “0” or “F” on the particular assignment, failure in the course, and/or referral to the college Dean of Student Services for disciplinary action up to and including expulsion. Students have the right to appeal the decision.
Misuse of Electronic Devices in the Classroom
The use of electronic devices by students in the classroom is up to the discretion of the instructor. Any use of such devices for purposes other than student learning is strictly prohibited. If an instructor perceives such use as disruptive and/or inappropriate, the instructor has the right to terminate such use. If the behavior continues, the student may be subject to disciplinary action to include removal from the classroom or referral to the Dean of Student Services.
A student that poses a threat to him/herself or others will be subject to disciplinary action and may involve a mental health leave of absence.
Organizations and officers of organizations must adhere to the same basic standard of conduct applied to individual students within the College System. Student groups and organizations may be charged with alleged violations of local, state and federal laws and/or College System policies. A student group or organization and its officers may be held collectively and/or individually responsible when alleged violations occur either during an event sponsored by the organization or by an individual representing or associated with that organization or group.
Student Intellectual Property
Student intellectual property is treated in the same manner as intellectual property of faculty and staff. Ownership of student projects that are the result of individual initiative with incidental use of college facilities and resources resides with the student. If the student is working on a project initiated and funded by HCC, ownership resides with the College. Student grievances alleging that a student’s intellectual rights have been abridged are addressed by the student grievance process.
Student Services contact numbers by campus
2014-2015 Student Handbook [411 kbs]