Transfer Information and Credit

Transfer Information and Credit
HCC Policy on Transfer
Transfer of academic credit is a public policy issue for several reasons:

  • an increase in student mobility,
  • the proliferation of distance learning programs and common acceptance of their legitimacy,
  • the economics of expending public money twice for the same course, and
  • consumer protection from expending private money twice for the same course

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 of Biblical Higher Education, Association of Theological Schools in the US and Canada, Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools, Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology, Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (if prior to 12/31/2016), Council on Occupational Education, and Distance Education Accrediting Commission, Distance Education and Training Council, and the National Association of Schools of Theatre.

Students Transferring to HCC from Other Colleges/Universities
HCC recommends the following steps to students considering transferring to other colleges/universities:

  • Meet with an advisor at a community college campus to discuss academic goals, plans, and questions. Consider completing an associate degree before transferring. Some universities give preferential treatment in admission decisions, if a student transfers after completing his/her associate’s 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 his/her HCC associate degree, the student may be able to “transfer back” to HCC his/her college credits from another institution in order to fulfill his/her associate degree requirements. In most cases, a student can “transfer back” up to 42 college-level semester hours of credit within three years of leaving HCC to complete his/her associate degree requirements. (Note: all graduation requirements must be fulfilled.)
  • HCC also recommends that a student obtain a transfer plan from his/her HCC advisor. A transfer plan lists the university-required courses which can be taken at HCC toward a student’s university bachelor’s degree major. If a student is undecided about his/her choice of university or his/her choice of major, see a HCC career counselor for more help.

For more information, see Transfer Information and Credit at

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, employer training programs, independent study, non-credit courses, open courseware, or 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

To be eligible to earn PLA credit, a student must be currently or previously enrolled at HCC for the past 12 months and meet all Houston Community College admissions requirements. They 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 is only awarded when it applies to the HCC programs of study. Six hours of HCC credit must be successfully completed prior to posting PLA credit. Note: A minimum of 25% of the credits for the HCC certificate or degree must be completed at HCC, and PLA credits not counted toward this minimum.

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), and Learning Counts exams (with ACE evaluation) . Credit earned through these examinations will be recorded by the Registrar only after the student has completed six semester hours at HCC. 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 CLEP is available at

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. In addition, no institution of higher education shall be required to accept in transfer, or apply toward a degree program, more than sixty-six (66) semester credit hours of lower-division academic credit. 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.
For more information, please see Transfer Dispute Resolution

Transfer Limitation
Students who intend to transfer to baccalaureate degree programs should be aware of possible limitations on lower division course work. Universities will generally not accept in transfer more than 66 semester credit hours of lower division academic credit.