Public Information Requests
The Texas Public Information Act provides the public a right of access to information collected, assembled, maintained, owned or controlled by a governmental body unless otherwise expressly provided by law. The act is found in Chapter 552 of the Texas Government Code. Public information is defined as information “collected, assembled, or maintained in connection with the transaction of official business.”
Houston Community College is a governmental body subject to the act. Therefore, any member of the public may make a written request for access to or copies of public information. Public information must be disclosed “promptly.” How promptly is a matter of how easily accessible the information is, whether the records contain confidential information that must be redacted prior to disclosure, and whether an Attorney General ruling must be sought with regard to information that is subject to an exception. Most records are provided within 10 days, but some requests are so complex and voluminous that it may be several weeks before access is granted or denied.
When a request for information is received, it should be forwarded to the Office of General Counsel for immediate action. With limited exceptions, in order to withhold information, the General Counsel's Office must request an opinion from the Attorney General within ten business days from receipt of a request. Faculty members may release information from a student’s educational record directly to the student without sending the request to the General Counsel's Office.
The College was closed for business Monday, March 16, 2020 through and including Friday, March 20, 2020 for the Spring Break holiday.
To protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff with regard to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), Houston Community College facilities are closed beginning March 20, 2020 until further notice. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Texas Governor’s recent disaster declaration, HCC is following the Texas Attorney General’s guidelines regarding the Texas Public Information Act (the “Act”). The Attorney General has clarified that if a governmental body has closed its physical offices for purposes of a public health or epidemic response or if a governmental body is unable to access its records on a calendar day, then such day is not a business day for purposes of the Act, even if staff continues to work remotely or staff is present but involved directly in the public health or epidemic response. As such, HCC will process open records requests upon HCC’s return to normal operations/business days, in accordance with the Act and the Attorney General’s guidelines.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I submit a public information request?
Public information requests must be written. A Public Information Request is available online to assist requestors with making public information requests. Requestors may also contact the Public Information Coordinator at (713) 718-8295 for assistance with writing public information requests.
To Whom & Where do I submit my public information request?
Public information requests shall be addressed to the Public Information Officer. Public information requests may be sent by any one of the following methods:
- MAIL- HCC c/o Public Information Officer P.O. Box 667517, MC 1144 Houston, TX 77266
- IN PERSON- HCC Administration Building, 3100 Main, 12th Floor, Houston, Texas 77002
- FACSIMILE- c/o Public Information Officer (713) 718-7585
- ELECTRONIC MAIL- email@example.com
Requests that are sent by facsimile and/or electronic mail must be sent by the above means in order to be considered a valid request for information under the Texas Public Information Act.
What is the cost to obtain copies of records?
The cost to obtain records depends on a variety of factors including but not limited to the following:
- The format (i.e. paper, CD, DVD, etc.) the requestor wishes to receive the requested document
- Whether the record is in archive
- Whether computer programming is required to retrieve the requested data
For more information regarding the cost to obtain records, please see the Houston Community College Public Information Request Charge Fee Schedule below posted online or contact the Public Information Coordinator at (713) 718-8228.
|Standard-size paper copies (8 1/2 "X 11" or 8 1/2 "x 14")||$0.10/page|
|Oversized paper coy (11" x 17")||$0.50/page|
|VHS Video Cassette||$2.50/each|
|Blueline/Blueprint Paper||$0.20/linear foot|
|1. Programming Personnel Charges||$26.00/hour|
|2. Other Personnel Charges*||$15.00/hour|
|3. Overhead Charges (20% of Personnel Charges)||(Programming/Other Charge X .20)|
|Microfiche or Microfilm Charge|
|1. Paper copy||$0.10/page|
|2. Fiche or film copy||Actual Cost|
|Remote Document Retrieval||Actual Cost|
|Computer Resource Charges|
|Miscellaneous Supplies||Actual Cost|
|Postage/Shipping Charges||Actual Cost|
|Fax Charges||Actual Cost|
|Other Charges||Actual Cost|
|Outsources/Contracted Services||Actual Cost|
Other Personnel Charge only applies if the number of respon sive documents copied is greater than fifty (50) pages. Personnel Charge may include actual time to locate, compile, reproduce, and/or redact information.
* See 1 Texas Administrative Code §70.10.
What do I do if I receive a public information request?
If your department has received a public information request, please follow these steps:
- Date stamp the request upon receipt.
- Review the request to see if your department has any responsive documents.
- Upon receipt, forward the request to the HCC Public Information Coordinator by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by facsimile at (713) 718-7585. Please do not send public information request through interoffice mail. Also note whether your department has documents that are responsive to the request.
- Provide copies (not originals) of the responsive documents to the Public Information Coordinator by the established deadline. Please note that requests to review or receive copies of documents must be approved by the HCC General Counsel or designee.
- If the requested documents are in active use or are in storage, please provide a date and time when the documents will be available for review.
- Provide a signed Time Expense Form to the Public Information Coordinator. The Time Expense Form provides information on the time spent to gather, locate, and/or copy documents in response to a public information request. Also include the budget account number to be reimbursed.