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HCC offers Houston free Dual Credit classes  

HCCAt the January meeting of the Houston Community College (HCC) Board of Trustees, the Board unanimously approved a first-of-its-kind plan to waive the out-of-district fees for Dual Credit students. Beginning with the fall semester, any high school student in the Greater Houston region can enroll in the Dual Credit program at HCC at no cost.

Currently, an out-of-district student pays approximately $216 for each three-hour course, but the HCC Soar to Success in Dual Credit program will now allow all high school students from all districts to attend HCC free of any charge.

“Not only are we the most affordable, because we are completely free for high school students, but we also have a high quality education,” said Dr. Catherine O’Brien, associate vice chancellor of College Readiness at HCC.

The dual credit program enables a high school student to earn credit towards high school graduation while simultaneously earning college credit towards an associate degree or workforce program certificate.

Nearly 40% of students who participate in dual credit courses at HCC continue their coursework with the college upon graduation from high school. The goal is to grow that percentage.

“We hope to entice students to come to HCC once they complete the Dual Credit program,” said Dr. Kimberly Beatty, HCC vice chancellor of Instructional Services and Chief Academic Officer. “Studies show that students who begin post-secondary in a familiar environment succeed at a much higher rate.  The new fee structure makes it easier for high school students to become famliar with  the opportunities at HCC.”

The HCC proposal to drop the out-of-district fee was prompted by a change in Texas legislation to allow a community college to provide dual credit instruction, regardless of the service area boundaries. State lawmakers also passed a bill to expand Dual Credit to ninth and tenth graders.

“The fee waiver strategy is a continued demonstration of the HCC commitment to the state’s 60x30TX Strategic Plan,” said Dr. Cesar Maldonado, HCC chancellor. “This strategy increases access and the opportunity for high school students to earn a credential or transfer credit prior to graduation while supporting the reduction in student debt, an important goal of 60x30TX”

The fee waiver will go into effect for the Fall 2016 Semester.

“We hope to see some tremendous changes in our enrollment patterns because of this,” said Dr. O’Brien.

To learn more about the Dual Credit program at HCC, visit hccs.edu/dualcredit.

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