General Academic Information
Awarding of Academic Credit
Academic credit is awarded based upon sound practices regardless of course format or mode of delivery. Howard College awards academic credit for individual courses based upon the credit hour designation established by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). In keeping with THECB guidelines, all courses designed for transfer are selected from the Lower-Division Academic Course Guide Manual. Non-transfer courses are selected from the Workforce Education Course Manual as regulated by THECB.
Definition of Credit Hour
In accordance with federal regulations, a credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates
- Not less than one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time, or
- At least an equivalent amount of work as required outlined in item 1 above for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.
Change of Schedule
A student may change a schedule through the online registration process during the posted registration period. Any changes after the online registration is closed must be made through the Admissions Office. After a student has completed the enrollment process and receives an approved schedule, the registrar, and those officials the registrar designates, must approve any schedule changes. If the request originates with the student, the change must be completed within the time specified in the college calendar. A fee of $10.00 will be charged for each approved request made for the convenience of the student. The college reserves the right to make changes in a student's schedule; when this occurs, no fee is charged.
All changes in schedule, including adding and dropping courses, must be arranged by the student in writing or in person. Changes are not official until all steps in the process have been completed. Records of withdrawal and re-enrollment will be maintained.
Drops and Withdrawals
NOTE: Dropping or withdrawing from a course may affect financial aid, veteran's benefits, international student status, or academic standing. Students are urged to consult with an advisor before making schedule changes.
Merely discontinuing class attendance does not constitute a drop or withdrawal. A student must take the appropriate steps and seek approval to be officially withdrawn from a course or courses. Failure to withdraw properly may result in a grade of "F" for the course or courses.
No course may be dropped during the last two weeks of a semester or during the last week of a summer term unless the student withdraws completely from all courses in progress. The last day to drop a course for regular fall and spring semesters and for summer and mini terms is included in the Calendar found in the Catalog and Student Handbook. The last day to drop a flexible-entry course will be determined by the registrar. It is the student's responsibility to consult with faculty as to the last day to withdraw from flexible entry courses. No courses may be dropped after the final exams have been administered.
College Preparatory Education Courses
New full-time students may drop or withdraw from a college preparatory course only if they drop college-level courses to part-time status and have continuous enrollment in at least one college preparatory course. If a new full-time student does not drop to part-time status, they may not drop any college preparatory course.
A returning student may drop or withdraw from a college preparatory course only if they have continuous enrollment in at least one other college preparatory course. If the student drops all required preparatory courses, thus placing them out of compliance with continuous enrollment in required college preparatory education, they will be dropped from all other courses at Howard College/SWCID.
NOTE: Please see the Success Initiative section of the Catalog for detailed information on guidelines for students enrolled in college preparatory education. A student may not be allowed to withdraw from a college preparatory course if the instructor has posted a failing grade (due to lack of attendance) to the student's transcript prior to the conclusion of the semester.
Before Census Date
Students who officially drop a course during either the schedule change period or before the official college reporting date (census date) are considered to have "dropped" the course. This request must be submitted (Drop/Add Form) to the Admissions Office. Dropped courses are not considered withdrawals and are not posted on the student transcript.
After Census Date
Students who find it necessary to withdraw from a class or classes after the official census date of each semester and/or term should obtain a Drop/Add Form from the Admissions office. This form should be completed by obtaining the required approvals with signatures and turned in to the Admissions Office. Required approvals may vary by campus. A grade of "W" (Withdrawal) will be posted to the student's transcript once the withdrawal is complete.
A student wishing to completely withdraw from all courses will be directed to visit with the appropriate campus official. Merely discontinuing class attendance does not constitute a drop or withdrawal. All students must complete a Drop/Add Form, including required approvals with signatures, and return the form to the Admissions Office before they will be officially withdrawn from courses. Failure to withdraw properly may result in a grade of "F" in all courses. Also, failure to comply with this regulation will subject the student to losing all refunds which would normally be available. Such failure may also jeopardize the privilege of readmission to this or any other college.
All college property in possession of a student must be returned and all arrears to the college must be paid before the student can withdraw in good standing and be eligible for a transcript of credit from the college.
Under federal law, students attending Howard College/SWCID who receive Title IV (Pell, SEOG, Federal Stafford Loans) and completely withdraw before the 60 percent point (in time) in the period of enrollment will be required to return any unearned funds. Unearned Title IV funds are the percentage of term not attended times the Title IV aid. In some instances the student may owe both the federal government and the college. Students owing either the government or the college will be ineligible for any further federal aid until funds are repaid.
Six Course Drop Policy
Under section 51.907 of the Texas Education Code, "an institution of higher education may not permit a student to drop more than six courses, including any course a transfer student has dropped at another institution of higher education." This statute was enacted by the State of Texas in spring 2007 and applies to students who enroll in a public institution of higher education as first-time freshmen in fall 2007 or any term subsequent to the fall 2007 term.
Any course that a student drops is counted toward the six-course limit if (1) the student was able to drop the course without receiving a grade or incurring an academic penalty; (2) the student's transcript indicates or will indicate that the student was enrolled in the course; and (3) the student is not dropping the course in order to withdraw from the institution. Some exemptions for good cause could allow a student to drop a course without having it counted toward this limit, but it is the responsibility of the student to establish that good cause.
Good cause for dropping more than six courses includes but is not limited to a showing of: (1) a severe illness or other debilitating condition that affects the student's ability to satisfactorily complete the course; (2) the student's responsibility for the care of a sick, injured, or needy person if the provision of that care affects the student's ability to satisfactorily complete the course; (3) the death of a person who is considered to be a member of the student's family or who is otherwise considered to have a sufficiently close relationship to the student that the person's death is considered to be a showing of good cause; (4) the active duty service as a member of the Texas National Guard or the armed forces of the United States of either the student or a person who is considered to be a member of the student's family or who is otherwise considered to have a sufficiently close relationship to the student that the person's active military service is considered to be a showing of good cause; (5) the change of a student's work schedule that is beyond the control of the student, and that affects the student's ability to satisfactorily complete the course; or (6) other good cause as determined by Howard College officials. Students should petition (in writing) the Office of the Registrar for permission to drop more than six courses for good cause. The Administrative Dean at each campus will make the determination of a student's petition.
A student may be allowed to drop one additional course under the following circumstances:
- has reenrolled at the institution following a break in enrollment from the institution or another institution of higher education covering the 24-month period preceding the first class day of the initial semester or other academic term of the student's enrollment; and
- successfully completed at least 50 semester credit hours of course work at an institution of higher education before that break in enrollment.
A full-time student is defined to be a student enrolled in 12 or more semester hours during a regular long semester, inclusive of one-hour physical activity courses. Students scoring below college level in reading, writing and mathematics skills should limit their enrollment to 12 semester hours (including developmental courses) plus activity courses. Additional courses may be taken with the permission of the counselor or advisor. The normal course load during the regular semester is five solid courses of 15 to 17 semester hours, exclusive of one hour activity courses or labs. A solid course is any course with a semester hour value of three or more semester hours. In order to be permitted to exceed the normal course load, a student must have earned a 3.0 grade point average as a full-time student during the previous semester. The absolute maximum course load that a student may obtain permission to take is seven solid courses. Permission to exceed the normal course load must be obtained from the lead administrator at the respective site.
Courses delivered in shortened semesters should have the same number of contact hours and the same requirement for out-of-class learning as courses taught during a regular semester. The normal course load for a mini-term (less than 5 weeks) is 3 semester credit hours. The normal course load for a regular summer term (5 1/2 weeks) is 6 semester credit hours, exclusive of one-hour activity courses or labs. In order to be permitted to exceed the normal course load, a student must have earned a 3.0 grade point average as a full-time student during the previous semester. Permission to exceed the normal course load must be obtained from the lead administrator at the respective site. In order to be permitted to exceed the normal course load, an unusual contingency must exist. The absolute course load that a student may obtain permission to take is two 3 semester credit hour courses in a mini term and three 3 semester credit hour courses in a regular summer term, exclusive of one-hour activity courses or labs.
Concurrent enrollment in Howard College/SWCID and at any other institution must be approved by the registrar. Course load limits apply to concurrent enrollments.
Enrollment Restrictions in Online Courses
Students receiving performance scholarships and living on campus must take a minimum of 75 percent of their coursework in face-to-face classes. Exceptions to the policy will require permission of the Campus Executive Dean.
Virtual College of Texas
The Virtual College of Texas (VCT) facilitates the sharing of distance learning courses among community colleges in Texas. The inter-institutional sharing takes place under the terms of VCT's Host-Provider model developed by the Texas Association of Community Colleges. By the terms of VCT's Host-Provider Model, a student may enroll in the local (Host) community college to take a course that is taught by an instructor who is located at another college (Provider). The Host college student participates in the class along with students enrolled at the instructor's home college. The sharing of distance learning instruction among Host-Provider partnering colleges contributes to a more efficient statewide utilization of technology and administrative and student services, in addition to instruction.
A Provider college typically charges the Host college a per-student instructional fee. Howard College's instructional fee for providing a course through VCT is $200 per student. Due to the difference in state funding for the SouthWest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf (SWCID), the instructional fee for courses provided by SWCID faculty is $0.