HCC's ESL/Intensive English program draws national attention

Aug 3, 2017

The ESL/Intensive English program at Houston Community College is steadily becoming the center of attention for international students seeking to study in the U.S.

HCC’s rapidly growing ESL/Intensive English program was among a trio of leading institutions highlighted in an article published in the July-August 2017 edition of International Educator, the flagship bimonthly magazine of NAFSA: Association of International Educators. The article, titled “Intensive English: Community Colleges Scale Up for Success,” explored the methods used by HCC and two other community colleges, Washington’s Edmonds Community College and Utah’s Snow College, to expand their Intensive English programs to meet the needs of an increasing number of international students seeking to study in the U.S.

As the largest community college in the Greater Houston area, HCC is well-prepared to serve the 5,600-plus international students who attend its campuses, as well as those who have been displaced because of closures at other ESL programs in the area. HCC’s Office of International Student Services & Study Abroad (OISS&SA) has nearly a dozen advisors housed in its headquarters at 3200 Main Street and works with the ESL/Intensive English program throughout the semester to place students in need of language training into full course loads that help them maintain their immigration status. This collaboration between departments allows HCC to maintain and enlarge its vibrant international student population.

With the rising tuition rates at four-year universities, HCC’s ESL/Intensive English program provides much easier access to higher education in the U.S. for most prospective international students.

“A lot of (international students) see great value because they’re paying half or less of the tuition than they would at a university,” Kevin Clement, chair of the HCC System ESL/Intensive English program, told International Educator.

“This provides them with an easier, cost-effective route with a pathway directly into academic classes.”

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