New Student Frequently Asked Questions

Updated for Spring 2021

All students residing in a residence hall on a Howard College/SWCD campus will be initially tested for COVID-19 (at college expense) upon move-in. Further testing will be done on a case by case basis as needed. Please confer with your campus student services leader for more information concerning testing. 

The first day of classes for the Spring 2021 semester is January 19, 2021.

Move-in Date: Saturday, January 16, 2021

New students are being contacted directly to schedule a move-in time.

Returning students living in the dorms will need to contact the CRE directly to schedule their move-in time.

For questions regarding FAFSA or financial aid, you may contact Jessica Mason, Financial Aid Advisor, at (432) 218-4182 VP/V or email

Although the priority deadline for spring is Oct 1, we recommend you to complete the 2020-2021 FAFSA and turn in any required paperwork as soon as possible.  Information received after the deadline may not be processed in time for registration.

Students must contact the Financial Aid Office to ensure that all files/information are on file in the Financial Aid Office regardless of grant eligibility.

In order to be eligible for financial assistance, you must first complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  It is available online at  There is no cost to submit the FAFSA.  It must be renewed every year.  The FAFSA school code for SWCD/HC is 003574.

Students may not change their majors after registration and may change majors only after the semester ends or before the upcoming semester begins.  Prior to registration, students must see their academic advisors to complete a Major Change form and then submit the form to the Office of Enrollment Services at SWCD.

Students may view their account statements through Campus Connect in their MyHC account.  Tuition, fees, and room & board are due at registration.  Students have the option to participate in a payment plan which requires 50% of tuition and fees to be paid when the contract starts.  There is also a similar payment plan for those who do not have full financing for their room and board as well.  Each payment plan requires a $25.00 enrollment fee.  Payment plans are done through Campus Connect.  Refer to the payment plan pamphlet for more information.  Students must sign up for the payment plan or pay in full by January 11, 2021.  Students who preregistered but have not paid their tuition in full or have not signed up for a payment plan may be dropped from all courses at that time.

You will receive a printed class schedule, statement and book list on Sunday, January 17, 2021. You must send all of them to your VR/TWC-VR immediately.  The purchase orders (payments) from VR/TWC-VR need to be sent to Howard College Business Office, 1001 Birdwell Lane, Big Spring, TX, 79720 or via fax:  (432) 264-5133.  Their phone number is (432) 264-5035, if you have questions.

Printed Service Authorizations for books must either be emailed to or hand-carried to the bookstore.  The Bookstore phone number is (432) 264-5050 if you have questions.

A tool kit is a set of tools required for certain majors. This is a one-time charge (if self-pay, sales tax will be applied) when the student enrolls in the major that requires a tool kit.  The following majors require a tool kit:  Automotive Maintenance Technician (AUMT), Building Construction Maintenance Technology (BCMT), and Welding (WLDG).  Contact the Office of Instruction at 432-264-3775 V or 432-218-4252 VP or for further information.

SWCD New Student Registration will take place on January 17, 2021 from 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. at the SWCD campus.  After new students complete the assessments for class placement, they will receive assistance from their academic advisors with their registration for classes on January 17, 2021.

All new incoming students whose first language is not English and who have not been otherwise exempted from placement testing will receive an ESOL Waiver (TAC Title 19, Part 1, Chapter 4C Rule 4.54) exempting them from the TSIA in English.  They will take the Math TSIA for math placement and the TABE test for Reading and Writing placement.  These scores will be used for initial placement in the appropriate developmental education or ESOL program.

Exemption from TSIA testing only applies for Level 1 Certificate program courses.  Effective August 26, 2013, all students entering degree programs will be tested for TSI purposes (they must test on the TSIA) unless receiving an ESOL waiver.

Effective October 1, 2013, TEC 51.9192 (Texas law) requires all students under age 22 entering an institution of higher education to provide current proof of vaccination against bacterial meningitis (an immunization given within 5 years of the date of intended enrollment) or meet certain requirements for declining such a vaccination.  New students who have not provided documentation of vaccination will have a hold placed on their account.  Students with a hold will not be allowed to register for classes or enter SWCD campus. The hold will be removed once the appropriate immunization documentation has been provided to SWCD/HC.

In accordance with the TEC 51.306 and 51.403, SWCD/HC will assess and correctly place undergraduate students entering our institution.  Students who do not have college-level skills in reading, writing, or math, as determined by initial testing, will be placed in a developmental education program or ESOL program to improve any skill areas that are found deficient.  The minimum passing standards and testing exemptions can be found at

All new incoming Deaf students who have not been otherwise exempted (above) will receive an ESOL Waiver (TAC Title 19, Part 1, Chapter 4C Rule 4.54) exempting them from the TSIA in English.  They will take the Math TSIA for math placement and the TABE test for Reading and Writing placement.

The Director of Outreach / SWCD will notify the new students on January 16 & 17, 2021, of their TSI status. New incoming students requiring testing will take placement tests on January 16 & 17, 2021  TSIA is only available in Texas.  Students who have taken TSIA at another location within the past year may submit the scores to SWCD Enrollment Services.  The placement testing fee is $36.00 and $12/section for any retest.  Degree seeking students will take the English TSIA during their second long semester.  The cost for this required test is $24.00.

When the students’ scores and their new class schedules are on file in their Academic Advisors’ offices, they will be able to register for classes.

Depending on the availability of vehicles and drivers, SWCD may be able to provide free transportation for first-year students coming from Midland International Air and Space Port (formerly the Midland International Airport) at the beginning of the semester. First-year students may contact the Coordinators of Residence Education, Tammy Szuszitzky at (682) 774-4926 (Text) or or Jon Mason at (405) 250-2137 (Text) or and provide the following information: your name, flight number, airline, or bus schedule, and the date & time you will be arriving.

If SWCD cannot provide transportation, you may contact TRAX at (800) 245-9028.  TRAX is open Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.  Please call TRAX at least 24 hours ahead of time for any trip (local trips included).  A one-way trip to or from the airport via TRAX to SWCD is less than $12.00.  Masks must be worn.  Everyone will be screened.  No international passengers will be allowed to ride TRAX (per TRAX policy).

Another option for transportation, including local trips is Uber (

Residence halls are open during the Fall and Spring terms.  Please contact the Coordinator of Residence Education (CRE) for move-in and move-out dates for each term.  Special arrangements to live in the Residence Hall during mini sessions or holidays are handled on a case by case basis. However, due to the pandemic, students will be required to vacate residence halls at the end of the spring semester.  Please contact the Coordinator of Residence Education for more information.

Residence halls are closed during the Winter Break and Spring Break and residents are expected to vacate the residence halls.  Please contact the Coordinator of Residence Education for closure details and dates.  The college is not responsible for any personal belongings which are left in rooms.

If you have a disability and require specific accommodations to complete the placement exams or TSI requirements, please contact the SWCD Accessibility Services Coordinator to discuss your needs.  Reasonable testing accommodations are provided to allow students with documented disabilities an opportunity to demonstrate their skills and knowledge.  Students who need testing accommodations must submit documentation of their disability to the SWCD Accessibility Services Coordinator at least two weeks prior to the scheduled testing date for review.  Please contact Jim Walterhouse, SWCD Accessibility Services Coordinator, at (432) 242-4290 VP/V or to request testing accommodations.

Since SWCD is a school for the deaf and hearing-impaired, all classes on our campus are taught by teachers who are proficient in ASL.  If a student needs to take a class at the Howard College location, ASL interpreters and note-takers are provided.  For those accommodations, no additional documentation is necessary.

For all other disabilities that require accommodations, including academic, residential, mobility, visual, or dietary accommodations, you will need documentation of the disability.  The documentation needs to be submitted to Jim Walterhouse, SWCD Accessibility Services Coordinator.  It is best to contact the Accessibility Services Coordinator as soon as possible in order to assure that you receive the necessary accommodations.  You may contact Jim at or at (432) 242-4290 VP/V.

Notice regarding emotional support animal accommodations:  If you have an emotional support animal you wish to bring with you to campus, please review the emotional support animal policy found in the online Student Handbook Student Accessibility Services – Howard College – Catalog ACMS. You can find the forms required for an assistance (emotional support) animal at  Please contact Jim Walterhouse, SWCD Accessibility Services Coordinator, at (432) 242-4290 V/VP or e-mail if you have any questions.

Jim Walterhouse is the Foster Care Liaison for the SWCD campus.  If you qualify for assistance, please contact Jim Walterhouse at or at (432) 242-4290 VP/V.

Jim Walterhouse is the full-time counselor for SWCD.  Jim is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and has over 30 years of experience as a counselor.  Jim is deaf and uses ASL but can also communicate orally for those who prefer it.  The counseling office is in the Douglas J.N. Burke Education and Administration Building, Room #123.  The hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Friday (Office is closed for lunch from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.).  Drop-ins are welcomed (as time permits), but for the best service an appointment is preferred.  To schedule an appointment please call Jim at (432) 242-4290 V/VP or e-mail