Jun 23, 2024  
2020-21 Gaston College Catalog 




General Admission Requirements (for Curriculum Programs)

Gaston College subscribes to the open-door admission policy. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and possess a high school diploma or equivalent to enroll.

Associate Degree, Diploma, and Certificate Programs

For most programs of study, the following steps should be completed prior to registration.

  1. Complete the North Carolina Residency Determination Service (RDS) at ncresidency.org. Upon completion, you will be assigned a Residency Certification Number (RCN). The RCN is required to submit an application to Gaston College.
  2. Complete an online application at cfnc.org/gastonapp.
  3. Submit official transcripts and/or test scores for placement if you:
    • Graduated from a US high school less than ten years ago, or
    • Took the ACT or SAT less than 10 years ago, or
    • Took the GED® since 2014 and scored 170 or higher on all four GED® test subjects, or
    • Took the HiSET and scored a 15 on all five HiSET subtests and a 4 on the essay.


In accordance with the new Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-74), Gaston College has eliminated the College Placement Test Ability-to-Benefit (ATB) alternative for students planning to first enroll in a program of study on or after July 1, 2012 and who have NOT earned a valid high school diploma from a regionally accredited institution or a recognized equivalent (e.g., GED®).  As noted in the law, neither ATB testing nor earning six credits applicable to a degree or certificate will satisfy the academic qualifications for receiving financial aid. Students who fall in this category and who wish to receive financial aid may establish eligibility by completing an approved GED® or Adult High School program.  Additionally, some employers, licensing boards, and credentialing agencies may not recognize credentials from non-regionally accredited high schools, even after a student has received course credit or completed a program of study at Gaston College. In order to qualify for federal financial student aid, students will need to submit both an official high school transcript and official transcripts from all colleges previously attended. 

Placement Policy

Unweighted GPA = or > 2.8



Student is college ready for any gateway English and math course and any course that has a developmental English or math prerequisite. 

Unweighted GPA between 2.2 and 2.799



Student is college ready for any gateway English and math course with a required co-requisite course.

Unweighted GPA < 2.2

The College will evaluate subject-area ACT or SAT scores to determine if student is college ready in math and English using the following  scores (based on national and state validation studies):

English:  ACT Reading 22 or ACT English 18

                SAT Writing 480 or SAT Critical Reading 480

Math:      ACT Math 22

               SAT Math 530

Student with ACT scores within 2 points of the national and state validation scores are college ready for any gateway English and math course with a required co-requisite course.

Unweighted GPA < 2.2 and subject-area score(s) below college ready

Student will be required to complete a developmental transition course in Math and English

Students with a high school transcript GPA more than 10 years old or who have an international high school transcript.

Student will take the State Board approved RISE placement diagnostic to determine placement. 

*This policy applies to an individual who has an official transcript grade point average (GPA) from a high school that is legally authorized to operate in the United States and who graduated from that high school within ten years of college enrollment.

  1. Submit an official high school transcript to the Office of Registration and Records at Gaston College, 201 Highway 321 South, Dallas, NC 28034-1499. In lieu of an official high school transcript, the following official documents will be accepted:
    1. Adult high school transcript
    2. GED® scores
    3. Official transcript from an approved correspondence high school* (see statement below regarding non-regionally accredited high schools)
    4. Official transcript from Home School along with Home School Record(s) (must be accompanied by a letter or card issued from the NC Division of Non-public Education)
    5. Transcript from a regionally accredited college or university reflecting attainment of an Associate degree or higher.
  2. Submit official college and/or university transcripts, if applicable. College transcripts are not required for admissions; however, official documents are required for consideration of transfer credit.
  3. Complete the online New Student Orientation.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a Gaston College Application for admission at least four weeks prior to start of the semester. This ensures the applicant ample time to complete the entire admission and enrollment process. Applicants transferring to Gaston College from another college or university must submit an application and meet the admission requirements for the program of study they intend to pursue at Gaston College. Students who have not registered for a one-year period are required to re-apply and meet current admissions requirements.

Programs of Study with Competitive Admission Requirements

General admission to the college does not guarantee admission into certain programs of study. For example, many programs of study within the Health and Human Services division have additional competitive admission requirements. These programs of study include Associate Degree Nursing, Practical Nursing, Cosmetology, Dietetic Technician, Dietary Manager, Esthetics, Therapeutic Massage, Medical Assisting, Phlebotomy, Nursing Assistant, Health and Fitness Science and Veterinary Technology. Applicants should contact the department chair within their program of study to ensure awareness of any additional or new program-specific admission requirements.

Opportunities for Students without a High School Diploma or GED® (18 years or older)

Applicants not having attained a high school diploma but who are 18 years of age may apply for and enroll in certain certificate and diploma programs. These programs of study include Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Technology; Welding Technology; and Certified Nursing Assistant. In addition to completing the general Gaston College admissions application, these applicants must take the College Placement Test and complete the online New Student Orientation prior to registration. Non-high school graduates may also register for courses as a Special Credit student (see statement below regarding Special Credit students). However, students must meet any course prerequisites prior to registration. Please note: Students not possessing a high school diploma or its equivalent are not eligible for financial aid.

Admission for Special Credit or Visiting Students (Non-degree Applicants)

Students wishing to register for credit courses but have no intention of completing a program of study will be classified as Special Credit or Visiting students and may be admitted to credit classes with an advisor’s approval. Students registered as Special Credit or Visiting Students may earn a maximum of 15 credit hours before having to declare a curriculum major or program of study. Tuition and fees are the same as for regular curriculum students. Students listed in the Special Credit or Visiting major code cannot receive financial aid. Credits earned may be applied to a degree, diploma, or certificate program by completing a Petition for Major Change form in the Counseling Center.


The state of North Carolina partially subsidizes the cost of North Carolina public college and university tuition for all students whose domicile, or permanent legal residence, is in North Carolina.  Residency determination establishes if students should have in-state or out-of-state tuition.  Because North Carolina residency status is governed solely by North Carolina statute, lack of eligibility for in-state status in another state does not guarantee in-state status in North Carolina.  The residency statute mandates only those who can demonstrate a minimum of twelve months of uninterrupted domicile (legal residence) in North Carolina are eligible for in-state tuition.  The statute also places the burden of proof on the student to establish, by a preponderance of evidence, that they are a bona fide domiciliary rather than mere residents of North Carolina.

The Residency Determination Service (RDS) was established in coordination with the University of North Carolina (UNC), the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS), the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA), and the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) as the centralized service for determining residency for students.  This service enables a student to use one residency determination for admissions applications to multiple North Carolina public colleges and universities and to demonstrate residency for state aid programs consideration at all (public and private) North Carolina colleges and universities.

Visit www.ncresidency.org for more information.  

International Students

International students seeking admission to Gaston College must submit, along with an admissions application, an official or certified copy of their high school transcript and an official/certified copy of any college work completed. If the original copies of these transcripts are in a language other than English, an official English translation is required. Students whose foreign transcripts cannot be evaluated by college personnel are responsible for providing a transcript evaluation from a recognized American transcript evaluation agency. Proof of English proficiency is required. Before entering a full-time academic (college) program, a student is required to have a minimum Testing of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL IBT) score of Reading: 17, Speaking: 16, and Writing 16 or Academic International English Language Testing System (Academic IELTS) score of Reading: 6.5, Listening: 6.5, Speaking: 6.5, and Writing: 6.5.

Once an international student is admitted to the U.S. with F-1 status, certain obligations must be met in order to maintain that status. The international student must continue to carry a full course of study. This is defined as undergraduate study at a college or university which consists of at least 12 credit hours per semester. In addition to not accepting employment off campus, the international student must keep his or her passport valid for at least six months. An extension of status must be applied if the student wishes to remain in the U.S. beyond the period of time for which he or she was admitted. F-1 students are required to disclose fully and truthfully all information requested by INS regardless of whether the information requested is material.

Gaston College is a commuter institution and does not have residence halls or student housing for rent. Students are responsible for finding their own housing. Transportation to the college must be arranged by the student.


Policies and procedures for International students are subject to change in accordance to federal requirements and guidelines.

College Now-A Career and College Promise (CCP) Program

Session Law 2011-145, the Appropriations Act of 2011, authorizes the State Board of Education and the State Board of Community Colleges to establish the College Now Career and College Program. This program replaces all previous high school programs (Huskins, Dual Enrollment, and Learn & Earn Online). College Now provides seamless dual enrollment educational opportunities tuition free for eligible North Carolina private, public, charter, and home schooled high school students, allowing them to accelerate completion of college certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees that lead to college transfer or provide entry-level job skills. College Now includes College Transfer Pathways, Career & Technical Education Pathways, and Cooperative Innovate High School Programs (Early College). Students are responsible for paying for registration fees and textbooks unless the School System incurs the cost. Information on current pathways being offered may be found through the College’s website (gaston.edu).

Application requirements for the College Transfer Pathways and the Career Technical Pathways include: (1) High School Transcript, (2) Completed Career and College Promise Enrollment Form with required signatures, and (3) Completed College Application. Entrance Requirements for the College Transfer Pathways include: (1) Must be a junior or senior, (2) Must have a unweighted GPA of 2.8 or higher on high school course work OR demonstrate college readiness through approved assessment tests (Plan, PSAT, SAT, ACT, RISE, NCDAP, Accuplacer, Asset), and (3) Maintain 2.0 college GPA after two (2) courses. Entrance requirements for the Career & Technical Education Pathways include (1) Must be a junior or senior, (2) Must have a unweighted GPA of 2.8 or higher on high school courses or demonstrate college readiness through approved assessment tests (Plan, PSAT, SAT, ACT, RISE, NCDAP, Accuplacer, Asset), (3) Must meet prerequisites of courses in career pathway, and (4) Maintain 2.0 college GPA after two (2) courses.

Gaston Early College High School (GECHS)

Gaston Early College High School (GECHS) is an innovative high school located on the Dallas Campus of Gaston College. The Early College High School is operated by Gaston College and Gaston County Schools through a joint partnership.

This exclusive, non-traditional high school offers Gaston County students a unique opportunity to receive a high school diploma while earning an Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, or Associate in Engineering degree from Gaston College. GECHS offers state-of-the-art technology and rigorous academics. Students take college courses at no additional cost, and after graduation, they may transfer to a four-year college or university.

The University Center at Gaston College

The University Center at Gaston College was established in 1990 through the efforts of Appalachian State University, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Gaston College. Located on the Gaston College’s Dallas Campus, the University Center coordinates a cooperative program with various area colleges and universities to bring four-year and graduate-level classes to Gaston College in order to make classes more accessible to the citizens of Gaston and Lincoln counties. Identifying the needs within the community and cooperation with various senior institutions are the dominating factors that determine the classes offered through the University Center. Most courses are offered during evenings for the convenience of working adults.

Requirements for Continuing Education Programs

Requirements for admission to courses in Economic and Workforce Development/Continuing Education vary by program. Please consult the college website at gaston.edu/economic-workforce-development/getting-started-with-continuing-education/ or the most current copy of the Economic and Workforce Development/Continuing Education course schedule for details.

Persons under the age of 16 are permitted to register only for specific summer enrichment programs. Some classes are restricted to persons age 18 and older.