FAQs for High School Students About Earning Dual Credit at HCC

1. What is Dual Credit?

Dual Credit enables a high school student to earn credit towards high school graduation while simultaneously earning college credit towards an associate's degree or workforce program certificate.

Dual Credit is approved and regulated by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.  Dual Credit classes are college level classes, taught by college faculty, using the same curricula, materials, and rigor as classes taught on a regular college campus.

2. Where are Dual Credit classes taught?

Dual Credit classes are conveniently held on the high school campus or on a nearby college campus. On the high school campus, the classes are exclusively for students attending that high school. On the college campus, students are integrated into regular college courses with regular college students.

3. What are the benefits of Dual Credit for students and their parents?

The benefits to students who participate in the Dual Credit program are many. The Dual credit experience helps to ease the transition from high school to college, and enable students to get a considerable head start with their educational and career goals.

Parents find that they themselves transition alongside their Dual Credit student. Parental guidance of a college student becomes more supportive while encouraging their student to take charge of his or her own college responsibilities and career. This allows the student to go through the enrollment process with greater independence, handling matters of enrollment paperwork, asking questions, organizing and managing time effectively, following policies and procedures, and generally rising to standards and expectations of college life.

Students also find that the program helps develop those skills needed to be successful in college such as following a syllabus, meeting classroom and course requirements, conducting themselves appropriately, using self-discipline, and improving and applying higher-level thinking skills. 

Dual Credit students also enjoy access to HCC libraries, open labs, writing labs, counseling, financial aid information, and many other services provided to HCC students.

Participating students and their parents benefit by significant savings on both immediate and long term costs of a college education. The HCC Board of Trustees has, with the exception of out-of-district fees, waived tuition and fees for Dual Credit students.

Finally, by completing two Dual Credit classes with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, students may satisfy part of the requirement of the state Distinguished Achievement.

4. Who is eligible to take Dual Credit classes?

To qualify for a Dual Credit class, a high school student must meet several key requirements:

  • Be classified as a high school junior or senior. (Exemptions may exist for those who demonstrate outstanding academic performance.)
  • Meet school district or high school requirements for taking a Dual Credit class.
  • Be recommended for Dual Credit by his or her high school authority.
  • Meet both the State of Texas Success Initiative (TSI) requirements and HCC requirements. (For Certificate Programs, consult with an HCC counselor.)
  • Meet course prerequisite requirements.

5. Do Dual Credit classes transfer to other colleges and universities?

Dual Credit students successfully completing college-level classes earn HCC course credit. Public institutions of high education in the State of Texas are required, by state law, to accept most college-level academic courses in transfer from another state public institution as core, field of study, or elective credit. Most Dual Credit students are taking core courses required for most majors.

Students may verify the transferability of credit by asking the college or university if it accepts HCC college-level courses in transfer. While many private and out-of-state institutions accept HCC college-level courses in transfer, students are advised to confirm transferability with the private or out-of-state institution.

Workforce courses may or may not be transferable depending upon whether HCC and the target university have a signed articulation agreement for the particular program and courses in question. Consult with an HCC Counselor for more details.

In accordance with Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board regulations, Dual Credit instruction follows the same curriculum, materials, grading, and rigor used in any classes on the regular campus. HCC Department Chairs, through continual monitoring, assure the integrity and rigor of the curriculum in all sections of their discipline or program, both on-campus and Dual Credit.

6. Who teaches Dual Credit classes?

Dual Credit faculty must meet the same requirements as any other faculty member hired by Houston Community College. They may be full-time professors of HCC or adjunct HCC faculty. Some high school faculty may be hired as HCC adjunct professors to teach Dual Credit classes because they meet the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) criteria and HCC faculty standards.

7. How is college-level rigor assured in the Dual Credit classroom?

Dual credit faculty are interviewed, approved, hired, supervised and evaluated by HCC Department Chairs. They are also required to maintain college-level rigor in each of their classes, the same rigor and curriculum standards expected on the man campuses of the college.

Just as any other HCC faculty member, Dual Credit professors are formally observed and evaluated in the classroom, required to participate in faculty development opportunities, and evaluated by their students, using the HCC "Student Evaluation of Instruction" (SEOI) instrument.

Dual Credit professors not only work closely with HCC Department Chairs, but they must also work with and receive assistance from the P-16 office at their college. The P-16 Liaison is the contact person between the colleges and the schools in matters related to Dual Credit, with the noted exceptions of faculty hiring and oversight of curriculum integrity.

8. How are Dual Credit students held to college level rigor?

In addition to meeting the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) Requirements, successful college students are expected to:

  • Organize and manage time effectively
  • Be self-disciplined
  • Use higher level thinking skills
  • Follow the syllabus
  • Work independently and/or with others as appropriate
  • Begin and end an assignment on time without reminders
  • Behave appropriately and maturely in a college setting
  • Participate actively in class
  • Use technology effectively
  • Attend class regularly
  • Be prepared for class
  • Follow relevant college policies and procedures.

9. How can a Dual Credit student meet the rigor of college-level expectations?

Besides having the appropriate "soft skills" expected of college students, a Dual Credit student should also:

  • Take good notes
  • Form/join study groups
  • Listen to the professor's directions and advice, and regularly check the professor's Learning Web
  • Talk with the professor about any concerns
  • Take advantage of HCC's free tutoring services (including 24 hour online tutoring), the Writing Center, Open labs, and libraries
  • Be courteous and polite to the professor and other students
  • Continuously monitor your grade, using the grade distribution included in your course syllabus
  • Talk to an HCC counselor about career options, and create a certification or degree plan

Review this brochure offered by the Minnesota Association for Developmental Education on the differences between high school and college courses. (Can also be found at their website:www.mnade.org)

10. How do partnerships with local school districts operate?

Houston Community College partners with school districts, charter schools and private schools in the Houston area to offer academic credit towards an associate's or bachelor's degree, or towards a certificate or associate's degree in a workforce program.

These partnership agreements and/or "Memoranda of Understanding" (MOU) define the manner in which the college and high schools will effectively communicate and successfully work together to offer Dual Credit to qualifying high school students.

Partnerships are reinforced by the designation of a P-16 Liaison from each of the HCC colleges. Each participating high school also has in place a Dual Credit Liaison to further communication between the high school and the HCC Dual Credit program.

11. May home school, charter school, and private school students take Dual Credit classes through HCC?

Home schooled students may attend HCC as Dual Credit students. They must meet the same requirements as all other Dual Credit students and follow the same process of admittance to HCC. In addition, they must document their status as Home School students, along with all pertinent information required to register for HCC classes.

The Houston Community College P-16 Council facilitates processes, consistency, standards and procedures for homeschoolers who attend HCC as Dual Credit Students. 

Private and Charter school students may take Dual Credit at HCC, 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 HCC.

12. What high schools have partnerships with HCC colleges?

Click here to view a listing of the schools.

13. What courses are offered for Dual Credit at HCC?

The courses offered most frequently in Dual Credit include:                                            

  • English
  • History
  • Government
  • Psychology
  • Economics
  • Spanish
  • Sociology
  • Chemistry
  • Biology

HCC also offers numerous Workforce classes for Dual Credit.

14. How much do Dual Credit classes cost?

The HCC Board of Trustees has waived tuition and fees for Dual Credit students. Students living with taxing districts (In-District) may take Dual Credit classes at no charge. Students living outside of the taxing district (Out-of-District) do not pay tuition, but they do pay Tuition out-of-district fees, General fee out-of-district, and Distance Education fee.

15. Who is responsible for the cost of textbooks for Dual Credit classes?

Dual Credit students, like all college students, are responsible for purchasing required textbooks and other essential course materials. The exception would be in cases where the high school provides textbooks.

16. How many Dual Credit classes may the student take each semester?

According to regulations of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), a student may take up to two courses per semester - Fall, Spring, and Summer.

The provision exists for an exception to this regulation if the student can document exceptional academic ability.

17. Can Dual Credit students receive financial aid?

Dual Credit students cannot receive financial aid. Students must earn a high school diploma or GED to be eligible for financial aid.