General Criteria

A comprehensive community college system, HCC offers many programs designed to meet the needs of students according to their backgrounds and interests. As an open admissions two-year, lower-division undergraduate institution, HCC has an "open door" admissions policy; all individuals who have at least one of the following qualifications are welcome to enroll:


Accredited High School diploma, or accredited high school equivalency, or College-level hours earned at other accredited colleges or universities, or International students who meet college and state requirements.


Admission to HCC does not guarantee admission to all programs. HCC utilizes the Texas Success Initiative Assessment to assess the level of students’ reading, writing, and math skills. Based upon their assessment results and program objectives, students may be required to take developmental and/or prerequisite courses. In addition, special admission requirements have been established for programs that require students to possess previously learned skills and knowledge. Applicants may obtain additional admission information from the Office of Admissions and Records, counselors, and campus offices.


Basic Procedures for Admission

  • Submit an application at any HCC Admissions Center or apply online. Students may also complete the Apply Texas Application for 2 year Institutions, however will need to allow extra processing time before registration.
  • Submit meningitis documentation Texas Senate Bill 1107, requires that new HCC students and former HCC students returning after an absence of at least one fall or spring semester who are under the age of 22 are required to present a physician-signed certificate showing they have been vaccinated against bacterial meningitis. The immunization must have been received with in the last five years and be administered at least 10 calendar days before the start date of the session in which you are enrolling, regardless of your actual first day of class.
    For more information
  • Calculate tuition based on residency. HCC Tuition Calculator
  • Provide official transcripts from ALL previously attended colleges and/or universities. (Unofficial copies may be used for advisement.) It is highly recommended that transcripts be sent electronically from the transferring institution to expedite processing. Transcripts may also be mailed to the following address if electronic submission is not available: Office of Student Records, P.O. Box 667517 Houston, TX 77266-7517
  • Complete the TSI assessment exam, including the required pre-assessment activity or provide documentation supporting a TSI Exemption or Waiver. TSI requirements
  • Provide ACT, SAT, or STAAR end of course scores to claim TSI exemption. (Unofficial copies may be used for advising and placement purposes, but official copies are needed for a TSI exemption.)
  • Participate in further assessment if necessary for course placement.
  • New students with fewer than 12 college level semester hours must attend an on-campus Advising & Registration session
  • Meet with a counselor/advisor for course guidance.
  • Declare a certificate or degree plan.

Individual Approval

Students who are eighteen (18) years or older and who are not graduates of high school or the equivalent may be admitted if they can prove their ability to successfully complete college-level coursework and benefit from a certificate or degree at Houston Community College. Students must take the appropriate college placement exam and demonstrate the established proficiency to be eligible for admission under this category.

High School Students


Currently enrolled high school or home-schooled students may enroll in the same volume of HCC courses (each semester) as a traditional HCC student. Students should furnish a high school transcript, TSI scores (or documentation of exemption from TSI requirements), and approval from their high school. These students will need to maintain a "C" average to continue taking courses at HCC without limitations.

Dual Credit Course

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, SAT or STAAR EOC; for certificate/workforce programs, consult with a Dual Credit Success Coach.)
  • Meet course prerequisite requirements.

The following chart reflects the academic dual credit eligibility requirements related to specific standardized exams:

Type of AssessmentMinimum Scores for Reading/Writing-Based Academic Classes
(ex. English/History/
Minimum Scores for Reading/Writing and Math-Based Classes
(ex. Economics)
Minimum Scores for Math-Based Classes
(College Algebra)
ACT English 19, Composite 23 English 19, Math 19, Composite 23 Math 19, Composite 23
PLAN English 19, Composite 23 English 19, Math 19, Composite 23 Math 19, Composite 23

Critical Reading 500
Required Total Score
(Critical Reading+Math) 1070


Evidence-Based Reading and Writing test, 480


Critical Reading 500
Required Total Score
(Critical Reading+Math) 1070


Evidence-Based Reading and Writing test, 480


Math 500 Required Total Score (Critical Reading+Math) 1070


Math section, 530

PSAT (prior to 10/15/15) Critical Reading 50
Required Total (Critical Reading + Math) 107
Critical Reading 50
Math 50
Required Total (Critical Reading + Math) 107
Math 500 Required Total Score
(Critical Reading + Math) 107

Required Total Score
English II Reading + English II Writing 4000


English II 4000


Required Total English II Reading + English II Writing 4000
STAAR Algebra I 4000

SPRING 2014*:
English II - 4000

STAAR Algebra I and a passing grade in the Algebra II course.
(Essay) 5-8 + READING 351-390
(need BOTH)
(Essay) + READING 351-390 + MATH 336-342
MATH 350-390


House Bill 505 removed limitations on the number of classes a dual credit student may take. However, Houston Community College recommends that students taking more than two classes per semester possess a 3.0 or higher grade point average in high school coursework. 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.  All dual credit instructional material is based on the recommended by the academic or workforce department. The Houston Community College Board of Trustees has waived tuition and fees for dual credit students. Students living within (In-District) or outside (Out-of-District) taxing districts may take dual credit classes at no charge. If taught in the high school, the dual credit class must be composed solely of dual credit, advanced placement (AP), and/or college credit students, not traditional high school students.

For dual credit courses, grading criteria allows faculty the opportunity to award high school and college credit based on the student’s performance. For further information, contact any HCC counselor/advisor at any of the college locations.

Articulated Credit

HCC participates in the Advanced Technical Credit (ATC) program (commonly known as statewide articulation), provides an educational and training structure that is sensitive to the transition of high school students to college. The process that facilitates an orderly progression through programs of instruction is commonly referred to as “articulation.” Articulation agreements have been developed between HCC and school districts within the service area. These articulation agreements allow students to successfully complete certain Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses in high school to receive college credits, contingent upon enrollment in a similar Career and Technical Education program at HCC. The high school course must be on the state-approved articulated list and taught by an instructor who meets the HCC credential standards as defined by SACS. Students will only be awarded articulated credit if they received a letter grade of “B” or higher in the high school course while maintaining an overall GPA of at least a “C”. Students also will be awarded credit only if the course is a requirement of their degree or certificate.

Any individuals interested in majoring in Workforce (CTE) programs who want to know if they qualify for articulated credit under an Advanced Technical Credit agreement should contact an HCC Dual Credit Success Coach or advisor, the appropriate program department chair, and/or the Director of Career and Technology Education Program Initiatives Students may apply for additional placement credit for no more than 18 semester credit hours. Credit for more than four courses in any one subject area requires special approval.

Early College High School Students
Early College High Schools (ECHS) provide students with a “seamless” pathway from high school to college. Housed on HCC campuses, with articulated sharing of space and staff, ECHSs allow the high school student to complete a two year degree while working through his/her traditional high school degree plan. This integration typically involves an additional year of high school that includes a heavy concentration of college coursework. After tackling this rigorous course of study, students graduate high school while earning upwards to 60 college credits, most of which are transferable to the post-secondary institution of their choice. ECHS provides strong support to each student and the family in obtaining entrance to, and success in, higher education. HCC partners with the Houston Independent School District (HISD) in the operation of the Challenge Early College High School on the West Loop Campus of Southwest College, North Houston Early College High School located at HCC Northeast Northline campus, East Early College High School on Southeast College’s Felix Fraga Campus, South Early College at the HCC Central College’s South campus, and the Houston Academy for International Studies High School (HAIS) near Central College. The Alief Early College High School located on the Alief Campus of HCC Northwest and Alief CTE Early College High School, which is situated at HCC Northwest College’s Bissonnet campus, are the product of a partnership between HCC and Alief ISD. HCC also recently collaborated with Raul Yzaguirre School for Success to launch an Early College High School aligned with HCC Southeast.

Home School and Private/Charter 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.

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Health Sciences Students

All applicants to the Health Sciences Programs must contact the Health Sciences Department Admissions Office (1900 Pressler Dr., Houston,TX 77030, 713.718.7400) directly for formal application procedures, pre-entrance examination schedules, and general admission information.

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Non-Degree Seeking Students

A non-degree-seeking student is one who is taking course work for personal enrichment and is not seeking a degree or certificate. In many cases, these students might be referred to continuing education. These students are limited to an accumulation of 12 semester credit hours before they must visit with a counselor or advisor to confirm their status as non-degree seeking. These students are not eligible for state or federal financial aid. Non-degree-seeking students may still need assessment testing in order to meet institutional course prerequisites.

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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 B (visiting) visas, may enroll at HCC as permitted by U.S. federal law. The student should call the program 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-20’s required to obtain F-1 student visa status. The individual must then use the SEVIS Form I-20 to apply for an F-1 student visa (if outside the United States) or a change of nonimmigrant classification to F-1 (if inside the United States). 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 international 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, if summer is the initial semester of enrollment at HCC.
  • International Student Advisors/ Designated School Officials (ISA/DSO) report all changes 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 United States. Non-compliance could jeopardize F-1 international student’s ability to remain in the United States and complete his/her studies at HCC. F-1 international students who have violated the U.S. federal regulations governing their nonimmigrant status are encouraged to schedule an appointment with the Office of International Student Services & Study Abroad (OISS&SA) to discuss their options.

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.

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, CELSA, IELTS, 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.

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Transfer Students

An F-1 student may transfer between SEVIS-certified schools. The transfer process is a way to electronically move Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) records and retain the same SEVIS identification (ID) number for the student. 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 OISS&SA. International Transfer Student

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. See this list of approved evaluation agency

Application Deadline
International students intending to enroll in HCC should visit the “International Student” section of the HCC website or contact the OISS&SA at (713)718-8521 to determine the application deadline that applies to them.

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Special Program Admissions

Upward Bound

The Upward Bound Program is funded through the Department of Education since June 1, 1974.  The Program recruits H.I.S.D. students from 9th and 10th grades in order to aid and encourage them to successfully complete high school, enroll in a post-secondary institution and graduate from that institution.  We provide services to low-income students who will be the first generation in their families to go to college.  We have over 80 % of Upward Bound students who have successfully completed high school and have enrolled in an institution of post-secondary education.

The program has two components, an academic year and a summer component.  During the Fall and Spring semester, the program provides supplemental academic classes (Reading, Math, English/Writing, Study-Skills, and Science) and Cultural Enrichment Activities.  The Summer component focuses on academic skills and comprehensive test preparation for 6 –weeks (Individual assessment, college credit courses, financial aid, college admission, and etc.).  

VAST Academy
(Vocational Advancement and Skills Training)

The VAST Academy provides post-secondary transition programs and comprehensive support services which lead to meaningful credentials, employment and independence for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD’s) at three college campus locations: Central, Northwest/Spring-Branch and Southwest/Missouri City. Opportunities include workforce certificates, pre-college and freshman success bridge courses, career readiness credentials, internships and employment assistance offered through an inclusive, relevant, affordable and supportive environment.

VAST Academy offers a Career Readiness/Occupational Skills Certificate under HCC’s Division of Extended Learning, School of Continuing Education. The program’s successful supportive strategies include: person-centered planning; peer mentoring; independent living; and internships based on students’ interests and skills.

VAST Academy remains a national and state leader in the movement to provide higher education access to all, including those with intellectual and developmental disabilities since its inception in 1990. In 2002, the program received the first ever President’s New Freedom Initiative Award from the U.S. Department of Labor for its efforts in furthering the employment goals of persons with disabilities. VAST was again honored at the national level in 2012 with a $2.5 million grant from the Department of Education (DOE) to increase capacity for the program and launch additional satellite service centers at other HCC campuses. HCC was one of just three community colleges in the nation and the only college in Texas to receive one of these grants. HCC was recognized in May 2015, by a state proclamation from the Texas House of Representatives for providing quality post-secondary education to Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities and for its leadership in creating a new state consortium, “Access College Texas.” In November of 2015, VAST Academy was recognized as one of seven finalists for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Star Award. This prestigious honor recognizes institutions that develop and implement the state’s most successful programs, projects, activities and partnerships.

VAST Academy believes strongly that Education + Employment = Independence.

For more information visit our website at or to enroll contact: 

Sue Moraska, Program Director, 713-718-6833, or Barbara Fields, VAST’s Program Director of Admissions & Counseling Services, 713-718-5194, .

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Procedures for Readmission

After Absence
Students who have not enrolled for two or more consecutive regular semesters (fall, spring) must complete the core residency questions and satisfy all applicable requirements for residency again prior to registration.

After Suspension/Academic Withdrawal
Students seeking readmission after being placed on enforced Academic Withdrawal or Suspension at HCC must attend a SLIP session at the college they attend. Students may be required to enroll in specified courses and/or have their course load limited.

Academic Fresh Start
State law (Educ. Code, Sec. 51.931) allows students with academic credits earned 10 or more years prior to the starting date of the semester, in which they seek admission to any public institution of higher education, to have those credits or grades not considered in the admission decision. If admitted under this Academic Fresh Start provision, the students may not receive any course credit for courses undertaken 10 or more years prior to enrollment. Students must complete a Petition for Admission under The Provisions of Academic Fresh prior to admission to HCC.

Academic Fresh Start petition form

Residency Requirements

Basic Residency Requirements
For tuition purposes, according to Texas Education Code 54.075 and Texas Higher Educational Coordinating Board Rules 21.727, all students must answer a complete set of core residency questions within the admissions application. These questions will be used by the institution to determine if the person is a resident. The following persons shall be classified as Texas Residents and entitled to pay resident tuition at all institutions of higher education:

  • A person who was enrolled at a Texas public institution during a fall or spring semester within the previous twelve months and was classified as a Texas resident for tuition purposes.
  • A person who (a) graduated from a public or accredited private high school in this state or as an alternative to high school graduation received the equivalent of a high school diploma in this state, AND (b) maintained a residence continuously in this state for the 36 months immediately preceding the date of graduation or receipt of the diploma equivalent as applicable and the 12 months preceding the census date of the academic semester in which the person enrolls.
  • A person or a dependent whose parent established a domicile in this state not less than 12 months before the census date of the academic semester in which the student enrolls in an institution AND maintained a residence continuously in the state for the 12 months immediately preceding the census date of the academic semester in which the person enrolls in an institution.

Establishing Residency
HCC is required by state law to determine the residency status of all students for tuition purposes. All new students must provide the institution with answers to a set of core residency questions and provide substantiating documentation to affirm their residence. Students who have not enrolled for two or more consecutive regular semesters (Fall & Spring) must complete the residency core questions and satisfy all applicable requirements to establish residency. Additional documentation may be requested at any time following registration.
Residency is determined at the time of registration, either by a student’s current address or by the address of a parent or legal guardian, if the student is being claimed or is eligible to be claimed as a dependent for federal income tax purposes. A post office box can be used for a mailing address but cannot be used to establish residency. It is the responsibility of the student to register under the correct residency classification. A complete set of rules and regulations for determining residency is available at each Admissions Office.
For tuition purposes, a student will be classified according to the following guidelines. The Registrar is the final authority on all questions of residency.

In-District Residency
Students who have met the basic Texas residency requirements and live in the HCC taxing district (Alief ISD, Houston ISD, North Forest ISD, Stafford MSD, and part of Missouri City).
Students must reside at a street address in the district. Post office boxes and dormitory addresses cannot be used.

Out-of-District Residency
Students who have met the basic Texas residency requirements and live outside the HCC taxing district (Alief ISD, Houston ISD, North Forest ISD, Stafford MSD, and part of Missouri City).

Out-of-State Residency
A student who has not resided in Texas for 12 months immediately preceding registration is considered out-of-state. 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. A non-resident who marries a Texas resident must establish his/her own residency.

Undocumented Students
Undocumented students who do not qualify for resident tuition under the Basic Residency Requirements are eligible for admission to HCC according to the following guidelines. All other undocumented students may be admitted but will be charged out-of-state tuition.

Those who have resided within part of a taxing district (school district of Alief, Houston, North Forest or Stafford, and part of the city of Missouri City) for one year immediately preceding registration and who attended or graduated from an in-state middle school or high school qualify for in-district tuition and fees.

Those who have resided within the state of Texas for one year immediately preceding registration and who attended or graduated from an in-state middle school or high school qualify for out-of-district tuition and fees.
Documentation of residency and proof of school attendance must be submitted.

Change of Residency

Change from out-of-district residency to in-district residency must be made at the time of registration. Any address change which results in a change to in-district status must be accompanied by adequate documentation. Changes to in-district status made after registration will be effective the following semester.
A student who qualifies for a change from out-of-state to in-state residency status for tuition purposes may file a petition for change of residency. The petition must be filed by the Official Day of Record for the regular term in order to receive any refund of tuition paid for that term.


Any student who provides false information or withholds information for proper determination of residency is subject to any or all of the following penalties:

  • Withdrawal from all classes with no refund.
  • Dismissal from the institution.
  • Payment of the difference in fees within 30 days.
  • Loss of credit earned while under incorrect residency status.

Additional Requirements for Non U.S. Citizen Students

A non U.S. citizen who is living in the U.S. under permanent resident status, an appropriate visa, or who has filed an I-485 application for permanent residency and has been issued a notice of action from USCIS showing the I-485 has been approved has the same privilege of qualifying for resident status, for tuition purposes, as a U.S. citizen. Anyone permitted by Congress to adopt the United States as their domicile while living in this country is afforded the same privilege as citizens and permanent residents to establish Texas residency for tuition purposes. A list of visas eligible for establishing domicile is available at each college center.

Student Success Courses
All incoming Houston Community College students who have achieved less than 12 college level hours must enroll in a Student Success course their first term. This requirement may be satisfied by taking either EDUC 1300: Learning Framework OR LEAD 1370: Workforce Development with Critical Thinking. A Student Success course is designed to prepare students for the demands of college and for success in the world of work. The course emphasizes setting priorities, time management, effective listening, note-taking, concentration techniques, retention of information, book analysis, comprehension techniques, and test-taking skills. These courses also incorporate modules that are designed to facilitate the use of library databases in conducting research, planning and setting educational objectives, lifelong career assessment, decision-making, financial aid, tutoring, and student support services, enabling the student to maximize the use of college resources.  This course enhances the freshman experience by providing a connection to an Academic Advisor.

The Texas Success Initiative
During the 2003 session, the Texas Legislature created the Texas Success Initiative (TSI). The TSI requires assessment of all new students, individualized success plans for those students whose skills are not at college level, and minimum state standards indicating students’ college readiness for pursuit of certain certificate and all degree programs. Each college is required to report on the academic success of its students and the effectiveness of its developmental education programs.
A major emphasis of TSI is to ensure that all students be tested to determine if they are college ready in reading, writing, and mathematics. Testing is mandatory and must be completed prior to one’s first enrollment at HCC (or no later than the end of the first semester for some workforce students) unless it is determined that the student has been waived or exempted from TSI requirements.
A student will be considered as college ready when all institutional and state requirements have been met. Students still need to meet any course prerequisites as determined by an institution. Students who are not considered to be college ready are encouraged to work closely with a counselor/advisor. New students who are not college ready must meet with an HCC counselor or advisor prior to or during registration to initiate an individualized HCC Student Success Plan. The Plan will record student scores, educational objectives, and declaration of major, direct students to support services, provide benchmarks for tracking success, including the developmental education course sequence and retesting as necessary, and specify the requirements for achieving a degree or certificate.

General TSI Information:

  • Official verification of TSI test scores, exempt or waived status, must be provided prior to enrollment.
  • Students are responsible for payment of all test fees associated with assessment testing.
  • Students waived from TSI requirements will be monitored to determine continued eligibility. (This includes all Workforce Level 1 certificate programs and non-degree-seeking students.)
  • Students with disabilities may apply for special testing accommodations.

For a detailed explanation of policies governing TSI, see your counselor/advisor prior to enrollment. Note: All policies associated with the TSI are subject to change by the Texas Legislature.

Developmental Education and Continuous Remediation
HCC has adopted policies for students who are not college ready in reading, writing, and math. Students are required to enroll in developmental courses immediately upon enrolling at HCC. Students are required to have continuous remediation in any of the areas if not they are not college ready; this is based on the TSI mandated placement test. However, students enrolling in workforce programs leading to a level 1 certificate or a marketable skills award are not required to take the TSI placement test. First time in college students are required to take a student success course designed to enhance their skills in college level courses.

Directory Information


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) helps protect the privacy of student education records. The Act provides for the right to inspect and review education records, the right to seek to amend those records and to limit disclosure of information from the records. The intent of the legislation is to protect the rights of students and to ensure the privacy and accuracy of education records.

HCC directory information is managed in compliance with the Texas Open Records Law. If you do not want this information released, you must complete a confidentiality request form at the college campus and submit to the Registrar’s Office. Confidentiality Form

The following is considered directory information by HCC:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone
  • Date of birth
  • Degrees earned and dates
  • Major field of study
  • Dates of attendance
  • Enrollment status
  • Number of hours completed and in progress
  • Student classification
  • Name of most recent previous institution attended