HIP Frequently Asked Questions

For current registration information, please view our Upcoming Courses page.

Questions? Contact Program Manager and Lead Instructor, Rozzell Medina, at (971) 361-9883 or r.medina@oregonhumanities.org.

What to Know About HIP

What is Humanity in Perspective, and who qualifies?

Is HIP free?

Do I receive college credit for participating?

Is HIP only for students who want to go to college?

How do I register for a HIP course?

What is a cohort?

What makes a HIP cohort unique?

How to Attend Classes 

When and where does the HIP learning community meet?

Will upcoming courses meet in person?

Do I have to live in Portland in order to attend? 

What is the attendance policy, and what if I need to miss a class?

Course Requirements and Expectations

How do I know if I qualify?

What do we learn?

What is expected of me if I become a HIP student?

What can I expect from the instructors and other students in this class?

I am trying to meet my basic needs. Why does this opportunity matter?

Accessibility and Technology Assistance

What technology will I need in order to succeed in online HIP courses?

Will HIP provide classroom accommodations (for online or in-person learning), and how can I request them?


What to Know About HIP

What is Humanity in Perspective, and who qualifies?

Humanity in Perspective (HIP) is an Oregon Humanities program that offers free, for-credit college-level courses  for adults and youth who are living on low incomes and/or facing barriers to continuing their education. 

HIP is also a learning community where students use the humanities as a tool to learn about the world, reflect on circumstances in their lives, and develop and deepen their abilities to make change for themselves and their communities. Courses focus on these core humanities subjects: art, history, philosophy, literature, critical thinking, and writing. 

HIP class discussions, writing assignments, and readings are in English, with support for students around English grammar, reading skills, and writing skills. The course is offered by Oregon Humanities in partnership with Bard College and Portland State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. HIP is part of the national network of the Clemente Course in the Humanities.

The course is primarily for people who live in Oregon and do not already have a four-year degree from a college or university in the U.S., although there are occasional exceptions. You do not need a high school diploma, GED, or proof of legal residence to qualify. 

If you aren’t sure whether or not you qualify, please feel free to ask. 


Is HIP free? What other kinds of support or assistance are available?

Yes, HIP is free. There is no tuition. There are no fees. We provide all readings and materials at no charge. For students who attend in person, Trimet day passes are provided at no cost, as well as snacks and limited childcare stipends. Assistance for improving access to technology may be available for those who need it. For example, if there is a piece of equipment that may contribute to your success in the course, you are welcome to request it, and it may be purchased for you or loaned to you. 


Do I receive college credit for participating?

Yes. Students receive semester credits from Bard College when they complete a Humanity in Perspective course. These credits can be transferred, meaning that they can generally be applied toward undergraduate degrees at colleges and universities. HIP faculty are happy to provide guidance to students who want to find out how to apply for college and transfer credits. Additionally, participating in HIP can help to nurture habits, skills, and strategies that will benefit people who are planning on or considering going to college. 

HIP is part of the international network of the Clemente Course in the Humanities. Individuals can currently earn up to a total of nine free credits by taking Clemente courses.

In addition to earning free college credits, those who complete a HIP course will earn a certificate from Bard College, which they can list on applications and resumés.


Is HIP only for students who want to go to college?

Earning college credit is an important aspect of this experience for many people. However, HIP is not only for people who plan on going to college. It is an opportunity for participants to explore very diverse interests and discover new pathways that can be relevant in a variety of learning, work, and other contexts. HIP is also a wonderful way to make meaningful connections and build community.


How do I register for a HIP course?

You can register online by following the link posted on the Upcoming Courses page. Registration is noncompetitive and takes about 15 minutes to complete. Since seating is limited, early registration is strongly encouraged.

If registration is closed, you can sign up through this link to be notified of future course offerings and registration dates.

If you would like to register for a course over the phone, or if you have any other questions, please contact Rozzell Medina, HIP program manager and lead instructor, at  (971) 361-9883; or write to him at r.medina@oregonhumanities.org. 


What is a cohort?

You might notice that we use the terms “cohort,” “class,” “course,” and “learning community” to mean the same thing. Learning in community is an important part of the HIP experience, so we don’t separate the fact that this is a class or course from the fact that we are learning together as a cohort or learning community.


What makes a HIP cohort unique?

True to its name, Humanity in Perspective is intended to help participants put their own humanity into perspective and to put our shared humanity into perspective. Rather than learning primarily about things that someone else deemed important, we approach the experience in a way that makes learning relevant to the lives, interests, needs, and communities of HIP participants.

In the HIP learning community, curiosity and life experiences are seen as very valuable and worth exploring alongside—and in relation to—core humanities subjects. Classes are discussion-based, not lecture-based. An important part of class is sharing your own thoughts, questions, feelings, and perspectives, as well as listening to others and learning together. We get creative and make learning relevant to our lives, interests, and communities.

In HIP, the core humanities subjects  are:

  • Art

  • Literature

  • History

  • Philosophy

  • Critical thinking and writing

We learn by:

  • having interesting conversations

  • exploring diverse media and connections between subjects

  • collaborating on projects that we sometimes design together based on shared interests

  • going on field trips (in-person courses)

  • visiting with guest speakers

  • reading, writing, making, and more! 

Power is shared by everyone in the learning community and not held exclusively by one or two people. Everyone in the class is encouraged to advocate for themselves, each other, and for the quality and integrity of the community learning experience.


Attending Classes

When and where does the HIP learning community meet?

We now offer both online and in-person courses. Please see our Upcoming Courses page for details on where and when courses will happen.


Will upcoming courses meet in person?

Courses may happen online or in person depending on the course. Again, please check the Upcoming Courses page to see which courses where and how HIP courses will occur. For online courses, our instructors and presenters are experienced in creating remote learning experiences that nurture meaningful connections while exploring the course material in diverse and engaging ways. Limited funds are available to support students’ access to the technology they need to succeed in the course.

 If you apply for an upcoming HIP course, we ask you to keep in mind that you may need to be adaptive and open to shifting possibilities and structures depending on current health recommendations. Your instructor will also be adaptive and open and work with you to ensure that this is a positive experience.


Do I have to live in Portland to attend?

Qualifying participants living in Oregon and within a short distance of the Oregon border in neighboring states are encouraged to apply for online HIP courses.

For in-person HIP courses offered in downtown Portland, you are welcome to register as long as you qualify, there is space in the course, and you are able to attend class regularly.


What is the attendance policy? What if I need to miss some classes?

We ask everyone who commits to being in a HIP course to try their best to complete the course. We want participants to succeed, and we do what we can to encourage success. If there is something you need to help you succeed in class, we hope you’ll let us know. If you think there’s something you need to succeed, but you’re not sure what it may be, let us know that too, and hopefully, we can figure it out together.

It is our hope that everyone will attend 75 -100% of all classes. Attending a class means arriving on time and staying for the entire class.

Of course, we understand that things come up, and we ask that you let us know if you’ll be missing a class (or multiple classes). Our hope is that you’ll let us know beforehand, but we understand that you might need to let us know afterward instead. If your attendance becomes inconsistent, we will check in with you about making—and sticking to—a plan for success.


Course Requirements and Expectations

How do I know if I qualify? 

The main requirements are a strong desire to participate, a willingness to make a commitment, and the ability to follow through as dedicated, engaged members of the HIP learning community.

You qualify if you:

  • are age eighteen or older (except for youth courses)

  • are an Oregon resident (you can request an exception if you live near the Oregon border in a neighboring state)

  • can read a newspaper in English

  • have a household income at or below the limit that corresponds to your household size

  • do not already have a 4-year degree from a college or university in the USA


Number of people in household (does not include housemates)

Income limit for HIP (Two times the federal poverty guideline)

















For households of more than 8 people, add an additional $9,440 per person.

You do not need to have:

  • a GED

  • a high school diploma

  • any proof or documentation of immigration status

Students bring a wide range of lived experiences, and Humanity in Perspective staff is ready to support students bringing those experiences into the classroom. If you are curious or concerned about your eligibility or ability to succeed in this experience, please contact the Program Manager and Lead Instructor, Rozzell Medina, who will be happy to have a conversation with you about it. 


What is expected of me if I become a HIP student?

Like many rewarding opportunities, HIP requires a commitment. HIP faculty will work with students who have concerns about time management on creating strategies for success. In order to graduate, we expect students to meet the following expectations:

  • Strong attendance. See the attendance policy, and feel free to ask if you have any questions about the attendance policy.

  • Be present. Be engaged. Pay attention, and be thoughtful with your fellow students and HIP faculty. 

  • Be a thoughtful, respectful, and dependable collaborator. We will talk more about what this means when the course begins but know that collaboration is a very important part of the work we do in HIP. You will be learning, working, and sharing with other people.

  • Complete assignments, readings, etc. There will be creative projects, written assignments, readings, and more. If making time for these activities becomes a problem, HIP faculty will work with you to make a plan and stick to it.

  • Advocate for yourself. Ask for support when you need it. Mentorship and tutoring are available outside of regularly scheduled class time if you ask for them. Be an active collaborator in the creation of the experience for yourself and your learning community.


Accessibility and Technology 

What technology will I need in order to succeed in online HIP courses?

You will need to have a tablet or computer and a reliable internet connection to participate in online classes. A smartphone is not recommended because its smaller size limits the ability to interact with the group and onscreen materials. Limited financial assistance for accessing necessary technology will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. There are questions on the registration form and in the interview that will determine any needs you may have around technology access. We are committed to addressing barriers for participants who wish to take this course, so limited access to the internet or technology should not discourage you from signing up. 


Will HIP provide classroom accommodations (for online or in-person learning), and how can I request them?

We are committed to creating a learning environment that meets the needs of students. In your Zoom or phone interview, you will be invited to share any requests for accommodations or anticipated barriers that might affect your ability to participate and learn in this course. We will strive to meet requests for accommodations to our best ability, and these requests will not affect admission.


What do we learn?

HIP honors individuals’ unique learning objectives and nurtures an environment where relevant learning, activity, and connections happen. Together, we will explore our perspectives, experiences, and relationships to ideas about power, justice, knowledge, identity, nature, creativity, and community in an engaging and supportive environment.

Success will look different for all students based on their individual needs, objectives, and circumstances. While in the program, students develop their capacity to read carefully, listen well, ask thoughtful questions, make coherent, respectful arguments across differences, and write with clarity. We hope that by participating in HIP, students become invested in lifelong learning, and deepen and broaden their commitment to being engaged in their communities.

Please see our Upcoming Courses page for more information.


I am trying to meet my basic needs. Why does this opportunity matter? 

 If you decide to participate, this course can help you:

  • Strengthen your communication, writing, organizing, and thinking skills

  • Demonstrate a record of your commitment to a college-level course

  • Get experience toward getting a GED, college degree, or a new job

  • Model educational habits for your children

  • Gain skills that can be used to advance social change in your community

  • Make valuable connections with individuals and organizations  

  • Deepen your familiarity with influential work and ideas within the core disciplines


What can I expect from the instructors and other students in this class? 

  • Students shape the content of the course with their knowledge, perspectives, creativity, curiosity, and intuition. They get to know and support one another; are accountable to themselves and their learning community; and work, play, and experiment for the benefit of their individual and collective learning. 

  • The Lead Instructor and Program Manager coordinates most aspects of the class and supports students, instructors, presenters, and other members of the learning community. They also share resources and connections and work with students to ensure that they feel engaged, supported, and inspired.

  • Instructors design and instruct courses in alignment with the aims and practices of HIP detailed above. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this and familiarize yourself with Humanity in Perspective. We hope this has been helpful. Please reach out if you still have questions.

Rozzell Medina
Program Manager and Lead Instructor
Phone: (971) 361-9883


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