Apr 23, 2024  
Catalog 2024-2025 
Catalog 2024-2025

General Information


Holyoke Community College is a public institution of higher education with an open admission policy. General requirements for admission to a degree or certificate program include a high school diploma, General Education Development (GED) or HiSET certificate, or completion of an approved home schooling program. Students must be beyond the age of compulsory school attendance in Massachusetts (16 years old).

In addition to the general requirements, some academic programs require additional application materials or have specific testing requirements. These programs include, but are not limited to: Nursing, Practical Nursing, Radiologic Technology, Graphic Design, Medical Assistant, Medical Billing & Coding, Culinary Arts, and Veterinary Assistant, and Veterinary Technician. Coursework for most programs begins each fall, spring, and/or summer. Individual academic programs and program start dates can be reviewed online at: http://www.hcc.edu/courses-and-programs.

Students who have been away from HCC for two or more semesters (excluding summer) must apply for readmission at hcc.edu/apply. Official transcripts from any college or university attended while away from HCC are required for consideration of any transfer credit.

All applicants to Holyoke Community College are encouraged to meet with an admission counselor to discuss program choices and requirements.

Application Procedures

1.     Review the admission and academic requirements for your program of choice. Some programs require special ad­mission procedures and/or prerequisite course work. Review requirements at the Degrees & Certificates page.

2.     New applicants are encouraged to meet with an admissions counselor and schedule a college tour. Contact Admissions at admissions@hcc.edu or by phone at 413.552.2321.

3.     Complete the Holyoke Community College admission application at www.hcc.edu/apply. Start by creating an ac­count and then follow the steps to submit your application online.

4.     Applicants should have an official high school, home school, or GED or HiSET transcript, and college transcripts mailed to: Holyoke Community College, Admissions Office, 303 Homestead Avenue, Holyoke, MA 01040.

5.     Applicants will receive confirmation via email once the application has been submitted. Log back in to the account you created to view and submit any required supplemental items.

6.     Your application will be reviewed for acceptance once your application file is complete. A decision letter and/or acceptance packet will be sent by email with information regarding your next steps. All students are required to show proof that they meet the eligibility requirements for courses they are interested in taking. Students may do this by providing one or more of the following that apply to them: AP math scores, AP English scores, SAT scores, GED results, or prior college transcripts. If you do not have those documents, you may also take the HCC Placement Tests in Math and English. HCC also accepts College Board Accuplacer English (Reading Comprehension and WritePlacer) scores taken at an alternate approved testing site. Students seeking readmission to HCC may be required to complete the placement test based on the amount of time outside of the institution.

7.     Once accepted into a program, you will follow program guidelines as outlined in the College Catalog that are in effect during your initial acceptance term. Program requirements are also outlined in DegreeWorks. A break in enrollment of two or more semesters (excluding summer) will require you to apply for readmission. If readmitted, you will follow the program requirements for the College Catalog that are in effect during your readmission term. Subsequent changes to the academic program requirements in the future will not affect your program requirements as long as you are contin­uously enrolled (excluding summer term).

8.     Massachusetts Law Part I, Title XII, Chapter 76, Section 15C requires that all full-time students carrying 12 or more credits must submit proof, within 30 days of registering for courses, of immunization against measles, mumps, rubella (need two MMR shots), pertussis-containing tetanus shot (Tdap, administered after 2007), hepatitis B (need 3 shots), and varicella (chickenpox, need 2 shots). Some programs (health, veterinary, and education) may require additional immunizations or blood tests for their students, regardless of credit load or age. If you need assistance with this, please visit or contact HCC Student Records, Frost 221, 413.552.2319.

Applicants may self-certify fulfillment of admission requirements on the application for admission. Current high school se­niors are required to submit a final high school transcript after high school graduation. HCC reserves the right to request official documentation from all applicants. Applicants wishing to matriculate into a college degree or certificate program and receive federal and state financial aid must fulfill general admissions requirements (high school diploma, GED or HiSET certificate, or completion of an approved home schooling program).

For all applicants under eighteen years of age, a parent/legal guardian signature is required on the application for admission.

International Student Application Process

Holyoke Community College is committed to enrolling a diverse group of individuals whose backgrounds and talents en­hance each other’s’ educational experience. Students at HCC are afforded many academic and personal growth opportunities. International students seeking an F1 student visa or to transfer their F1 visa to HCC should refer to the International Student Application for more information.

Home School Applicants

Homeschooled students without a high school diploma, GED or HiSET certificate, are eligible to apply for admission to a degree or certificate program provided they have successfully completed an approved home schooling program in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws or the laws of their home state. Home school applicants shall submit a letter from the school superintendent on official letterhead indicating participation in an approved education plan. An official home school transcript with graduation date may be requested. Applicants under the age of 16 must see the Dean Strategic Recruitment Initiatives, Admissions, and Financial Aid for consideration of factors relating to course and program participation.

Transferring Credit to HCC and Credit For Prior Learning

Transferring Credit to HCC

The college accepts transfer credit from other regionally accredited institutions of higher learning for courses which may be applied to the student’s declared program of study if the courses are similar in content to those offered at HCC. When transfer credit is awarded, the grades earned are not averaged into the student’s grade point average at HCC. Credit is granted for courses carrying a grade of C- or better, regardless of the cumulative GPA at the previous institution. To have prior transcripted credit evaluated for transfer to a program of study at HCC, send your official transcript to: HCC Admissions Office, CC 148, 303 Homestead Ave., Holyoke, MA 01040.

In order to be considered for transfer credit, courses must meet the following criteria:

  • Be completed at an institution with current/active accreditation from one of the seven regional accrediting agencies, as recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)
  • Be taken for degree-level credit; courses determined to be developmental in nature will only be considered for placement purposes as applicable
  • Have been completed with a grade of “C-“or higher. Grades of “Satisfactory” (S), “Pass” (P), or similar grades will be considered for transfer only if the official transcript clearly indicates that such grades are equivalent to a grade of “C-” or higher

Students must provide official transcripts from the institution where the credit was completed for it to be considered for transfer.

Students who have completed post secondary coursework at an international institution must follow the following steps to have their coursework considered for transfer credit:

  • Submit all official transcripts from this institution to an approved credential evaluation agency as listed on the NACES website (www.naces.org)
  • HCC strongly encourages students to provide course descriptions whenever possible for any completed coursework

Re-evaluation of Transcripts

Students are entitled to request a reevaluation of their transcripts if they believe an error or omission occurred during the initial evaluation, or if they have changed their program of study. To make this request, students can submit the “Transcript Reevaluation Request Form” located on the Student Records webpage (https://www.hcc.edu/student-records).

Credit for Prior Learning

Holyoke Community College recognizes that not all learning occurs within the walls of a traditional classroom setting. Therefore, HCC students may be eligible for Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) based on knowledge gained through academically-related employment, training, military service, or other relevant life experience.

Examples of CPL that HCC will consider awarding credit for include (but are not necessarily limited to):

  • Advanced Placement (AP) Examinations
  • College Level Exam Program (CLEP) Examinations
  • DANTES/DSST Examinations
  • HCC Challenge Examinations
  • Industry Credentials in Computer Science, Culinary Arts, Education, and Health Sciences
  • Internal Articulation agreements between the HCC Academic/Student Affairs Division and the HCC Business/Community Services Division (i.e. Gateway to College and Transition to College and Careers)
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Examinations
  • Joint Services Transcript
  • Portfolio Review Assessments

Your next step to explore whether your life experience might be equal to college credit is to contact our CPL Specialist. This specialist will be able to walk you through the options that are available based on your program of study. Please contact the Student Recods Office at 413.552.2319 or studentrecords@hcc.edu for more information.

For more information about CPL, please visit the CPL webpage at HCC (https://www.hcc.edu/admission/credit-for-prior-learning) or the My Experience Counts website (https://myexperiencecounts.mass.edu/home)

Dual Enrollment Program

The Dual Enrollment program offers juniors and seniors enrolled in a high school or a home school program the opportunity to enroll in college courses prior to high school graduation. The program offers a unique college academic experience, allowing high school students the chance to earn credits towards completing a degree or certificate while completing their high school requirements. Students participating in Dual Enrollment are considered HCC students, and as such, will be awarded the same privileges as HCC students.

Dual Enrollment funding is available through the Commonwealth Dual Enrollment Partnership (CDEP), private foundations, and Holyoke Community College. Funding is limited and contingent upon grant availability. Dual Enrollment funds cover the cost of one course per student on a first-come, first-served basis. Students not eligible for dual enrollment funding or those taking more than one course will pay the full cost of tuition and fees. Current tuition and fee rates are available online at www.hcc.edu/tuition-and-aid/tuition-and-fees and are subject to change. Students are responsible for all other costs associated with their education, which may include books, lab fees, materials, and transportation. Dual Enrollment students are not eligible for financial aid.

Dual Enrollment students will meet with their HCC advisor to register for classes and throughout the semester, as needed. Students may enroll in a maximum of 16 credits each semester. A student whose semester GPA falls below 2.0 during any one semester may be ineligible to continue in the Dual Enrollment program and will forfeit Dual Enrollment funding for the following semester. Students must comply with all policies in the HCC Student Handbook.

When a semester has been successfully completed, students will earn college credits, which are transferable to many two- and four-year public and private colleges or universities. Students may also receive credit from their participating high schools to meet high school graduation requirements. Priority will be to place students in courses required by their high schools for graduation. Students are responsible for ensuring that HCC coursework will be acceptable for high school graduation through their school counselor. If you have a disability and may require accommodations in order to participate fully in the program activities, please contact the Admissions Office at 413.552.2321.

Dual Enrollment Application Process

Students can apply to the Dual Enrollment program by creating an HCC Account and completing an online Dual Enrollment application at www.hcc.edu/apply. The course registration deadline to qualify for a free course through Dual Enrollment funding is June 30th for fall and December 15th for spring enrollment. All applicants must submit an official high school transcript and will require both parent/guardian and school counselor approval prior to registering for classes. Placement testing is encouraged for all Dual Enrollment applicants and takes place in the Assessment Center at Holyoke Community College. In addition, applicants must meet all prerequisite requirements for selected courses.

Residency Status (for tuition classification purposes)

For the purpose of assessing tuition and fees, each student shall be classified as a “Massachusetts resident” or a “Non-Massachusetts resident”. At Holyoke Community College, a person shall be classified as a Massachusetts resident if he or she (or the parent of an unemancipated student) shall have resided in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for purposes other than attending an educational institution for six months immediately preceding the student’s entry or reentry as a student. A person having his or her residency elsewhere than in Massachusetts shall not be eligible for classification as a Massachusetts resident for tuition purposes, and will be classified as a non-Massachusetts resident.

Each case will be decided on the basis of all facts submitted with qualitative rather than quantitative emphasis. A number of factors are required for residency to determine the intention of the person to maintain permanent residence in Massachusetts. No single indicium is decisive. The burden of proof rests on the student seeking classification as a Massachusetts resident. The following shall be indicia of residence for tuition purposes:

  • For unemancipated persons, the residency of parents, having custody, within Massachusetts
  • Certified copies of federal and state income tax returns
  • Permanent employment in a position not normally filled by a student
  • Reliance on Massachusetts sources for financial support
  • Possession of a Massachusetts high school diploma
  • Continuous physical presence in Massachusetts during periods when not an enrolled student
  • Military home of record
  • All other material of whatever kind or source which may have a bearing on determining residency

Eligibility: the following individuals shall be eligible for in-state tuition:

  • Any person who is registered at an institution as a Massachusetts resident shall be eligible for continued classification as a Massachusetts resident for tuition purposes (until attainment of the degree for which he or she is enrolled) during continuous attendance at the institution.
  • The spouse of any person who is classified or is eligible for classification as a Massachusetts resident is likewise eligible for classification as a Massachusetts resident. This provision will not apply in the case of a spouse in the United States on a non-immigrant visa.
  • A person who is a lawful immigrant or permanent resident of the United States (or is eligible to apply and has applied for such status) is eligible to be considered for Massachusetts residency for tuition purposes, provided that he/she meets the same requirements for establishing residency in Massachusetts as are required of a United States citizen. Non-citizens who are in (or who are eligible to apply and who have applied for) refugee/asylum status are likewise eligible to be considered for Massachusetts residency for tuition purposes, provided that they meet the same requirements for establishing resi­dency in Massachusetts as are required of a United States citizen. All non-citizens must provide appropriate United States Citizenship and Immigration Services documentation to verify their status.
  • Those students whose higher education pursuits are funded by the Department of Institutional Assistance, the Massa­chusetts Rehabilitation Commission, or any of the other Commonwealth of Massachusetts public assistance programs.
  • A member of the Armed Forces of the United States who is stationed in Massachusetts on active duty pursuant to military orders, his or her spouse, and dependent children. A person does not gain or lose in-state status solely by reason of his or her presence in any state or country while a member of the Armed Forces of the United States.
  • Full-time faculty, professional staff, and classified staff employees of the public higher education system and their spouses and dependent students.

For more information, including definitions, appeal process, and reclassification procedures, please see the Massachusetts In-State College Residency Tuition Policy offered by the Board of Higher Education (Residency Policy).

New England Regional Student Program Status (NERSP)

Students who reside in a New England state other than Massachusetts may qualify for tuition classification status through the New England Regional Student Program. Students must meet the same residency requirements for tuition purposes (reside in New England state for 6 months for purposes other than attending an educational institution immediately prior to enrolling as a student) and be enrolled in an approved degree or certificate program. For more information on the New England Regional Student Program, including eligible programs of study, see the Tuition Break overview on the NEBHE website.

Change in Residency Status to Massachusetts Resident Status

A student may at any time request the institution to reclassify him or her as a Massachusetts resident, if the factual basis for his or her classification as a non-resident or NERSP has changed. To do so, the student shall submit a “Change of Residency” form to the Admissions Office for its review and final classification as a resident or non-resident student.

(CORI) Criminal Offender Record Information / (SORI) Sex Offender Registry Information

Students will be subject to a CORI and SORI check for certain programs in which clinical, field, or other practical experience work­ing with vulnerable populations is a required part of the program–including, but not limited to: Deaf Studies, Education, Human Services, Medical Assistant, Nursing, or Radiologic Technology. The results of this report may or may not disqualify a student from completing a program. Specific details and a complete copy of the college policy can be found in the current edition of the HCC Student Handbook.

Course Placement

In alignment with revised DHE Accuplacer Cut Score Working Group Recommendations issued January 2019, and in accordance with HCC’s Strategic Plan, Strategy 2, Objective 2, Action 1 (2.2.1) “Expand access to college courses using multiple measures for placement”, the following options for college-level eligibility are in place at HCC:

ENGLISH - Options for ENG 101 eligibility:

  • High School GPA of 2.7 or greater
  • score of 3 or higher on the AP English Literature and Composition or English Language and Composition exam
  • SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) section score of 480 or higher
  • ACT English score of 18 or higher
  • Earned Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college/university
  • course placement established by HCC English placement test taken January 28, 2019, or later
  • course placement established by Accuplacer Classic version taken before January 28, 2019
  • score of 245 or higher on the Next Generation Reading Accuplacer AND WritePlacer score of 5 or higher
  • score of 259 or higher on the Next Generation Reading Accuplacer AND WritePlacer score of 4 or higher

MATHEMATICS - Options for College-level Eligibility:

  • High School GPA of 2.7 or higher: eligible to enroll in Math 125 (Number Systems), Math 130 (Drugs and Dosages), or Math 142 (Statistics)
  • High School GPA of 2.7 or higher and a grade of B or higher in Algebra 2: eligible to enroll in Math 104 (College Algebra). The department strongly recommends that students choosing this option take the HCC Math placement test.
  • SAT Math score of 530 or higher
  • ACT Math score of 22 or higher
  • GED Mathematical Reasoning score of 165 or higher
  • All students are eligible to enroll in Math 155 (Topics in Mathematics)
  • course placement established by HCC Mathematics placement test taken January 28, 2019, or later**
  • course placement established by Accuplacer Classic version taken before January 28, 2019**

** HCC math placement test scores and Accuplacer Classic math placement test scores are valid for two years from the date of the test.

Students who do not meet one or more of the options listed above will take the HCC placement test in either or both English and Mathematics. This placement test will determine appropriate course level placement.

Student Right-to-Know Graduation and Transfer Rates

The federal government mandates that all institutions participating in Title IV or HEA programs disclose to current and prospective students the graduation and transfer-out rates of first-time, full-time degree/certificate seeking (FTFTDS) students.

In compliance with these mandates, HCC followed 418 first-time, full-time students who enrolled in one of HCC’s degree or certificate programs in fall 2020. As of fall 2023, 32% of these students had graduated, 19% transferred to another institution prior to graduating from HCC, and 11% are still enrolled at HCC. In sum, 62% of the first-time, full-time degree/certificate seeking college students entering HCC in fall 2020 have, as of fall 2023, graduated or continued their studies at HCC or at another public or private university in the United States. Rates are based on status at 150% “time-to-credential” (i.e. 1.5 years for certificates and 3 years for degrees).

Graduation and transfer-out rates disaggregated by gender, race/ethnicity, and financial aid received can be found online on the Consumer Information page on the HCC website, www.hcc.edu/about/consumer-information.