Dual Credit Parent/Student Handbook

Dual Credit Parent/Student Handbook

The dual credit program at Houston Community College is approved and regulated by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The class offerings are college level classes taught by college faculty using the same curricula, materials, and rigor as classes taught on a regular college campus. This program 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.


The Benefits of Dual Credit Courses
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 enables students to get a considerable head start with their educational and career goals. In addition, data reveals a higher success rate in college courses upon high school graduation for dual credit students.
Yet, this journey also involves parents who find that they transition alongside their dual credit student. Parental guidance of a college student becomes more supportive while encouraging their student to take charge of his/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 Houston Community College libraries, open labs, writing labs, counseling, financial aid information, and many other services provided to general college students.
Participating students and their parents benefit by significant savings on both immediate and long term costs of a college education. The Houston Community College 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


Wrap Around Services

As participants in the dual credit program, students are able to partake in resources offered to the all college students, including but not limited to:

Advising services are provided by Student Success Coaches who provide students with information on degree plans, transfer credit information and selecting classes. Coaches also assist students with navigating the Houston Community College Student Center, discuss academic standing and access online instructional surveys. In addition, Student Success Coaches can plan College Preview days for student groups to tour the campus, learn about financial aid/scholarships and participate in orientation sessions, entitled as Advising and Registration sessions, that review the importance of maintaining a good grade point average, balancing class load and career opportunities.
Counseling services are provided by on-campus personnel to provide mental health and other services, which include the following:

  • Career assessment, planning, and exploration (for all students, especially undecided students)
  • Personal counseling
  • 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

Library services are an integral component in the success of students taking college classes. The purpose of the library is to provide students with material and resources to support student learning. The library system, which is made up of libraries and electronic resource centers (ERCs), provides students with an extensive, up-to-date collection of resources, including books, magazines and newspapers--in both paper and electronic formats—as well as videos. Technical support is available to aid students experiencing difficulty with online access such as PeopleSoft Student, the online portal used to search, register and pay for classes. Support is available via phone at 713/718-8800 and email at customer.support@hccs.edu.
Tutoring services are offered by department tutors to provide assistance with classroom material. The college also provides access to writing centers and math labs. Students can access tutors specializing in a specific area on-campus or online by clicking on “Tutoring” under “Information For . . . Students.”


Dual Credit Eligibility

To qualify for a dual credit class, a high school student must meet several key requirements:

  • Meet school district or high school requirements for taking a dual credit class.
  • Be recommended for dual credit by his/her high school authority.
  • Pass the applicable areas of a Texas Success Initiative test (TSI) to determine college readiness. (The student may be exempt from state-mandated TSI testing if he/she meets the qualifying standards on applicable areas of the ACT, PSAT, SAT or STAAR EOC; for certificate programs, consult with a Student Success Coach.)
  • Meet course prerequisite requirements.



Dual credit students who successfully complete college-level classes earn college course credit. Public institutions of higher 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/university or Student Success Coach if the target university will accept Houston Community College college-level courses in transfer. While many private and out-of-state institutions accept our 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 Houston Community College and the target college or university have a signed articulation agreement for the particular program and courses in question. Consult with a Student Success Coach for additional 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. Houston Community College 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.


Home School, Charter School, and Private High School Students

Home schooled students may attend Houston Community College as dual credit students. They must meet the same requirements as dual credit students enrolled in public or private high schools and follow the same process of admittance to Houston Community College. In addition, they must document their status as home school students, along with all pertinent information required to register for classes at Houston Community College.

The Houston Community College P-16 Council facilitates processes, consistency, standards and procedures for homeschoolers who attend Houston Community College as dual credit students.

Private and charter school students may take dual credit at Houston Community College, 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 Houston Community College.


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.


The Cost of Dual Credit Classes

The Houston Community College Board of Trustees has waived tuition and fees for dual credit students. Students living within 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.


Course Loads for Dual Credit Students

House Bill 505 removed limitations on the number of classes a student may take. However, Houston Community College recommends that students taking more than two classes per semester possess a 3.000 or higher grade point average in high school coursework.


Dual Credit Students and Financial Aid

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


Dual Credit Process

  • Establish a relationship with a school contact (high school liaison).
  • Arrange a time to speak with parent organizations.
  • Arrange a day to assist students with applications.
  • Arrange a day for testing and a tour of the facilities.
  • Arrange a date for follow-up with high school liaison to collect information on all students.
  • Give request for coordinating of requested classes.
  • Assist students with enrolling in classes.
  • Confirm classes with high school liaison.
  • Complete tuition waivers for all students.
  • Submit tuition waivers for processing.


Ability Services

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 Houston Community College. Ability Services assists students with physical, learning or emotional disabilities in developing independence and self-reliance. Services include the following:

  • 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.


Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA)

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 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.|
  • 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 Houston Community College
  • Number of semester hours completed & in progress
  • Student classification
  • Degrees earned and dates awarded
  • Most recent previous educational institution attended
  1. 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


Scholastic Dishonesty

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 “” 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.


Bacterial Meningitis Vaccination

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 Houston Community College 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 Houston Community College. All students who are transferring from any institution of higher education to Houston Community College. All students who previously attended an institution of higher education, including Houston Community College, and who are enrolling or re-enrolling in Houston Community College following a break in enrollment of at least one fall or spring semester. You are EXEMPT from this requirement if:

  • You will be thirty years old on the first day of class (no documentation required). For classes that begin after January 1, 2014, the exemption age requirement has been lowered to 22 years old.
  • You cannot take the vaccine for medical reasons. You must submit an HCC Meningitis Vaccination Verification Form and an affidavit or a certificate signed by a physician who is duly registered and licensed to practice medicine in the United States and in which it is stated that, in the physician’s opinion, the vaccination required would be injurious to the health and well-being of the student.
  • You decline the vaccine due to reasons of conscience, including a religious belief. You must complete an Exemption from Meningococcal Vaccination Requirements for Reasons of Conscience Form available online at https://corequestjc.dshs.texas.gov/.
  • You are a dual-credit student attending on a high school campus (no documentation required).


Glossary of Terms

Academic Courses: Academic courses are those typically required of students who intend to transfer from Houston Community College and pursue a traditional baccalaureate degree at a four-year institution.

Early College High Schools: Combines high school and the first several years of college in an accelerated curriculum. Students take college-level classes, earning both college and high school credit. Tuition is at no cost to students and their families.

Embed: Taking classes on a Houston Community College campus.

Embedded Instructors: Houston Community College instructors who are also full-time teachers of the high school.

External Instructors: Houston Community College instructors who are not full-time teachers of the high school.

In-District Residency: Students who have met the basic Texas residency requirements and have a street address (post office boxes and dormitory addresses cannot be used) in the Houston Community College districts below:Alief

  • Houston ISD
  • North Forest ISD
  • Stafford MSD
  • Part of Missouri City

Out-of-District Residency: Students who have met the basic Texas residency requirements and live outside the Houston Community College districts below:

  • Houston ISD
  • North Forest ISD
  • Stafford MSD
  • Part of Missouri City

Out-of-State Residency: A student who has not resided in Texas for 12 months immediately preceding registration. A non-resident student classification is presumed to be correct as long as the residence in the state is primarily used for the purpose of attending school. To be reclassified as a resident (after one or more years of residency), the student must show proof of intent to establish Texas as his/her permanent legal residence.

Special Admissions: Students who have not completed their sophomore year in high school may petition for admission. Students must present evidence of their ability to benefit from college classes. Requirements include an application, a letter of interest from the student, a letter of approval from the high school principal, high school transcripts, three letters of recommendation, test scores from an approved assessment, and an interview. Interested students should contact the appropriate instructional dean at the college one month prior to start of classes. Special admissions students are not dual credit students and are ineligible for a waiver.

Student Success Courses: Courses that allow students who are undecided about their future to explore a variety of career options while honing their college study skills.

Transfer Credit: Credit granted toward a degree for work completed at another recognized institution.

Workforce Courses: Courses intended primarily to prepare students with entry-level job skills.



Texas Success Initiative (TSI) Requirements for Dual Credit

High school students seeking interested in dual credit must be assessed in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics prior to enrollment. Students must have a qualifying score(s) on one of the following state-approved Texas Success Initiative (TSI) assessment to be deemed college-ready.


Minimum scores for Reading & Writing based classes e.g., English/History/Government Minimum scores for Reading, Writing and Math based classes e.g., Economics Minimum scores for Math based
classes e.g., College Algebra
ACT (TSI exemption)   English 19  Composite 23  English 19,  Math 19 Composite 23  Math 19  Composite 23
 PLAN  (TSI waiver)  English 19  Composite 23  English 19, Math 19  Composite 23  Math 19  Composite 23
 SAT  (TSI exemption) Critical Reading 500 Total (Critical Reading + Math) 1070  Critical Reading 50 Math 50 Total (Critical Reading + Math) 107 Math 500 Total (Critical Reading + Math) 1070
PSAT (TSI waiver)  Critical Reading 50 Total (Critical Reading + Math) 107 Critical Reading 50 Math 50 Total (Critical Reading + Math) 107  Math 50 Total (Critical Reading + Math) 107
STAAR EOC (TSI waiver)   PRIOR TO SPRING 2014 English II reading 2000 English II writing 2000 SPRING 2014 : English II 4000  PRIOR TO SPRING 2014 English II reading 2000 English II writing 2000 SPRING 2014 : English II 4000 Algebra I 4000  Algebra I 4000
 TSI Assessment  WS: 5-8 & Read 351-390 (need BOTH)  OR  WRITE 363-390 & WS 4 & Read 351-390 (need ALL THREE)  WS: 5-8 & Read 351-390 & Math 336 and Elem. Algebra 5 and Int. Algebra 7 (need ALL FIVE) OR WRITE 363-390, WS 4, Read 351-390  & Math 336 and Elem. Algebra 5 and Int. Algebra 7 (need ALL SIX  Math 350-390


Level I Certificate classes related to workforce (i.e., Career & Technical Education) are the only programs that require no minimum Reading, Writing, or Mathematics score requirement. These programs range from 15-to-42 semester credit hours (SCH) and are designed for entry-level employment or upgrading skills and knowledge within an occupation. These workforce certificates serve as building blocks toward a Level II Certificate and eventually an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree program. The following chart details the requirements for Level I and Level II Certificates.

Workforce (CTE) ProgramType of AssessmentComponentTSI ScoreTSI Status
Level I Certificate NONE Required NA NA Waived in High School only
Level II Certificate STAAR EOC Level 2 Algebra I  Level 2 English II

3872 4000

Waived in High School only