International Students

International Students

Full-Time Enrollment Requirements for International Students
Effective Fall 2017, F-1 international students must earn letter grades (A, B, C, D or F). A grade of a “W” (withdrawn) or “FX” (failing due to non-attendance) will not count towards the full-time enrollment requirement. “W” or “FX” is not considered a valid letter grade and demonstrates the student is not maintaining F-1 immigration status. F-1 students must maintain at least 12 credit hours during the fall and spring semesters (9 credit hours during the summer, provided this is their first semester of attendance at HCC). International students holding an F-1 visa are limited to no more than the equivalent of one class or 3 credit hours of distance education (online class) per semester that will count towards the full-time status.

F-1 International Students
Houston Community College (HCC) considers students holding a nonimmigrant visa to be an international student. Prospective students maintaining any other type of visa status, except F-2 and B (visiting) visas, may enroll at HCC as permitted by U.S. federal law. The student should call the college of choice for admission instructions and meet the published application deadline.

International students who want to study in the U.S. with an F-1 status must obtain a Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Certificate of Eligibility, also referred to as a SEVIS Form I-20, from HCC. HCC has been approved by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to issue SEVIS Form I-20s required to obtain F-1 student status. The individual must then use the SEVIS Form I-20 to apply for an F-1 student visa (if outside
the U.S.) or a change of non-immigrant classification to F-1 (if inside the U.S.). U.S. federal regulations require all applicants to provide certain documentation and information to the college issuing the SEVIS Form I-20 before it can be issued to a student. To apply for a SEVIS Form I-20, please refer to the “International Students” section of the HCC website ( and follow the outlined application guidelines.

An international student under the age of 18 who wishes to gain admission to HCC must provide documentation proving that he/she has achieved the equivalency of a U.S. high school diploma in his/her country by completing a transcript evaluation with an approved evaluation agency. F-1 students must maintain full-time status, which is defined as being enrolled in a minimum of 12 semester credit hours for the spring and fall semesters or a minimum of 9 semester credit hours for the summer term, provided in that case that summer is the initial semester of enrollment at HCC. International Student Advisors/Designated School Officials (ISA/DSO) report all changes in
enrollment status pertaining to F-1 internationals (both students and alumni) to DHS as required by U.S. federal law. F-1 international students must adhere to the U.S. federal regulations governing their nonimmigrant status while studying in the U.S. Non-compliance could jeopardize an F-1 international student’s ability to remain in the U.S and complete his/her studies at HCC. Students with questions may schedule an appointment with International Services and Programs (ISP) to discuss their options.
For more information, see

Concurrent Enrollment for F-1 International Students
An F-1 student maintaining his/her F-1 status at another educational institution and wishing to be concurrently enrolled at HCC must obtain a letter from the ISA/DSO at his/her parent institution confirming permission to take classes at HCC under the F-1 status. F-1 students maintaining status at other educational institutions are not eligible to work on the HCC campus until the student has received a SEVIS Form I-20 from HCC and approval to work on
campus from an HCC ISA/DSO. For more information, see

Summer International Transient Students
Students who are attending another college or university and wish to take summer classes at HCC must provide a letter from the ISA/DSO at their parent institution that indicates they are maintaining their F-1 status and have been given permission to enroll at HCC.

English Proficiency and Course Placement
International students planning to enroll in academic programs must demonstrate English language proficiency. This can be accomplished by taking one of the following exams: TOEFL, IELTS, PTE Academic, ACCUPLACER (ESL), SAT, ACT or an approved Texas Success Initiative (TSI) test. Students who have not taken an English language proficiency test will be administered the ACCUPLACER (ESL) test by HCC to determine the student’s English language proficiency. Scores on the exams must meet state and institutional requirements for placement into college-level classes. Students who do not meet these requirements will
be required to enroll in the Intensive English program. For more information, please visit

International Transfer Students
A transfer student is any student who has previous college work and plans to pursue a certificate or degree at HCC. HCC admits transfer students who already have established F-1 status while attending other colleges and universities. A transfer student may be admitted to either an academic program or the Intensive English program. Students planning to transfer to HCC must submit a complete application to the Office of International Student Services. For more information, please refer to the International Students section of the HCC website international-students/ and click on “New Students.”

Transfer Credit from Foreign Institutions
Students petitioning to receive transfer credit from foreign institutions must first have their transcripts evaluated by an approved evaluation agency. For a list of approved evaluation agencies, students may visit foreign-credentials/.

Check-in and Orientation
F-1 students new to the U.S. are required to report to the Office of International Student Services for further instructions upon arriving in the country. Each semester, all incoming students (new, transfer, change-of-status and reinstatement) are required to attend the mandatory student orientation to learn more about adjusting to life in Houston and at HCC. Please visit

F-1 Student Health Insurance
F-1 students at HCC are enrolled in the College’s mandatory student health insurance upon registration. They cannot opt out of the plan unless a waiver of coverage is approved upon condition that the student has an acceptable alternative insurance plan. Please visit

Contacting International Student Programs
Individuals seeking to enroll at HCC as F-1 students may also contact International Services and Programs at (713) 718-8521 or or visit the office at 3200 Main St., Houston 77002 (street level of the parking garage) during normal business hours. Prospective students may also learn more at