2017-2018 Pierce College Catalog 
    Apr 24, 2024  
2017-2018 Pierce College Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


Access and Disability Services (ADS)

FS: 253-964-6468
PY: 253-840-8335
JBLM: 253-840-8335

Access and Disability Services (ADS) provides academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids or services to qualified students with disabilities. Please contact an ADS Office to request any disability related assistance with any college process.


FS: 253-964-6501
PY: 253-864-3254

Who May Enroll

Pierce College has an open-door admissions policy, practices equal opportunity, and does not discriminate in its educational programs. No one is denied admission to the college because of race, color, national origin, age, perceived or actual physical or mental disability, pregnancy, genetic information, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, creed, religion, honorably discharged veteran or military status, or use of a trained guide dog or service animal.

Admissions to Pierce College is available to:

  • Individuals 18 years of age or older.
  • Individuals whose high school class has graduated.
  • Individuals who are a high school graduate or have earned a GED.
  • Individuals qualified for admission through Running Start or a similar program.

As a policy, Pierce College does not admit students under the age of 16. Special consideration may be given to students who petition for an underage admission exception. Students should begin the petition process at least 30 days prior to the start of the quarter they wish to attend. Contact the admissions office at Fort Steilacoom or Puyallup.

Special Admission Programs

Some programs of study, such as Nursing, Veterinary Technology, Bachelor of Applied Science degrees, and American Honors require additional application materials and require application fees. These requirements are outlined in the PROGRAMS OF STUDY section.

New Students 

Students planning to attend Pierce College must submit an admissions application. Admissions applications may be submitted at any time. There is no admission fee for the general programs of study.  

Submit an admissions application:

  • Apply online at www.pierce.ctc.edu.
  • Application for admission consideration into the Dental Hygiene and Veterinary Technology programs must be submitted to the admissions office at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom. Applications for admission consideration into the Nursing program must be submitted to the Nursing office at Pierce College Puyallup. Special admission programs may require an application fee.
  • Applications for Bachelor of Applied Science programs are required in addition to college admission. Please refer to each program’s web site.
  • Special admission programs may require an application fee. 

After submitting the admissions application, students will receive a welcome packet electronically indicating that their form is being processed. The packet includes general college information, as well as specific information about orientation, advising and registration.

For the Intensive English Program (IEP) designed for international students, there are additional requirements. See “International Students” in this section.

Former Students

Students who have previously enrolled in courses offered by Pierce College must re-submit an admissions application if they have not been enrolled for four or more consecutive quarters. This will reactivate and update the student’s records. Students will receive a welcome packet electronically, which includes information about orientation, advising and the registration process.

Students who attended other colleges or universities during their absence from Pierce College and who would like credits transferred to Pierce College, are advised to read “Transferring Credits to Pierce College.” An advisor may review transcripts from previous schools during an advising session.

Transfer Students

Students transferring to Pierce College from another college or university must complete an admissions application. 

Transferring Credits to Pierce College

Credits earned at colleges and universities that are recognized by a regional accreditation association are generally accepted by Pierce College. Students with credits from other colleges or universities need to follow these steps to ensure their credits are transferred to Pierce:

  • Submit an admissions application to the college at www.pierce.ctc.edu.
  • Contact the former school(s) and request that official transcripts be sent to the Pierce College admissions office at 9401 Farwest Drive SW, Lakewood, WA 98498. Hand-carried transcripts are accepted only when sealed in official letterhead envelopes from the issuing institution. Copied or faxed transcripts cannot be accepted as official. Transcripts may also be sent electronically directly to Pierce College by the issuing institution. Once the official transcript(s) is on file, the credits will be evaluated and the results emailed to the student. 

Washington Community and Technical Colleges (CTCs) offer reciprocity to students transferring within the CTC system. Students who have fulfilled entire areas of their degree requirements at one college (for example, Quantitative Skills, Communications Skills, or Distribution Area requirements) will be considered to have met those same requirements if they transfer to another community or technical college in-state. Students must initiate the review process and be prepared to provide necessary documentation. For complete information, students should contact the evaluations office. Students are encouraged to pursue reciprocity as early as possible after transfer and, certainly, no later than when they apply for graduation.

Running Start Students

Running Start is a statewide college program for academically qualified junior and senior high school students. Students can simultaneously fulfill high school graduation requirements and earn college credits. College tuition for eligible classes is covered through Running Start for fall, winter, and spring quarters only. Running Start students may take classes in the summer at their own expense.

For more information on the steps to get started, please visit the Running Start website at www.pierce.ctc.edu/dist/runningstart.

International Students

International students may enroll at Pierce College if they meet the college’s admission criteria and the requirements of the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. Admissions and payment of tuition are conducted on a quarterly basis. There is no English language requirement to enter Pierce College’s Intensive English Program. Students take an English-language placement test upon arrival to determine appropriate placement within the program.

Two-Year Program

Students intending to study for a two-year associate degree must have successfully completed high school in their home countries or have passed the equivalent examination. The English proficiency requirement for academic study at Pierce College can be met in several ways, including a minimum International TOEFL score of 61 on the iBT (174 on the computer-based test or 500 on the written test), or successful completion of Pierce College’s Intensive English Program. See www.pierce.ctc.edu/ie-iep for other ways to demonstrate proficiency in English.

Students who are 16 years of age or older who have not completed high school may enroll in the International High School Completion Program (Fast Track). Students who do not have adequate English proficiency must take Intensive English classes before beginning the Fast Track program. The college will evaluate each student’s high school record and design an individual study plan. Students in the Fast Track program take classes that give them credit for both the AA-DTA degree and the Washington state high school diploma.

International Students Applying from Outside the USA

Submit the following to the Pierce College Office of International Education (www.pierce.ctc.edu/ie-apply):

  • A Pierce College international student application form
  • International application fee of $50
  • Academic records: High school transcript (for high school completion applicants) or proof of high school graduation or university/college attendance (for Intensive English and academic program applicants)
  • A current financial guarantee, such as a bank statement showing sufficient funds, or an Affidavit of Support and a bank statement from a sponsor
  • For direct admission to academic programs, documentation of English proficiency as outlined at www.pierce.ctc.edu/ie-iep ​

Email, fax or mail all materials to
Pierce College International Programs
9401 Farwest Drive SW
Lakewood, WA 98498-1999 USA
Telephone: 253-912-2319 Fax: 253-964-6256

International Transfer Students in the USA

Students already studying in the United States at another institution must submit all the documents listed in the previous section. In addition, Pierce College requires a Transfer-In form. Students must have their U.S. school complete the form and send it to Pierce College for review.

Deadlines/Procedures - All International Students

For students applying from their home countries, Pierce College must receive all application materials by Aug. 15 for fall quarter, Nov. 15 for winter quarter, Feb. 15 for spring quarter, and May 15 for summer quarter.

For details on immigration regulations concerning international students, please contact the SEVIS & Immigration Manager at 253-912-2279.

Host Family Programs

Pierce College offers host family opportunities for international students. Contact the homestay coordinator at homestay@pierce.ctc.edu for additional information.

Center for Global Scholars

Pierce College’s residence hall, the Center for Global Scholars, is a living and learning community comprised of international and domestic full-time students who are encouraged to maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA. International students who are over the age of 18 can apply to live in the Center for Global Scholars. Contact the Center for Global Scholars at residencelife@pierce.ctc.edu for additional information.


All international students are required to have medical insurance for the duration of their studies at Pierce. Students will purchase insurance through the college at the time of registration for classes. Students cannot enroll without insurance; see www.pierce.ctc.edu/ie-insurance for details.

Important Financial Note

Pierce College cannot provide financial assistance to international students. On-campus employment opportunities are extremely limited, and taking paid employment off-campus while in the USA on a student visa is not allowed.

Financial Aid

District website: www.pierce.ctc.edu/dist/financialaid
District email: financialaid@pierce.ctc.edu
District phone number: 253-964-6544

Financial assistance may be available from various sources in the form of grants, scholarships, loans and employment. Aid is awarded according to federal, state and institutional guidelines. No student will be denied aid on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability or age.

All prospective students are encouraged to apply for aid. Eligibility is determined through a careful assessment of the student’s financial situation, taking into account personal and/or family income, assets, number of dependents, and the estimated cost of attending Pierce College.

Applying for Aid

Students begin the annual application process by completing either:

​The FAFSA and WASFA applications are available each year in October and must be completed for the upcoming academic year that begins in July. Completing the FAFSA or WASFA is the first step of the application process.

The FAFSA is completed by students who are US citizens and some eligible non-US citizens. The WASFA is completed by students who are ineligible for federal financial aid due to immigration status but may be eligible for Washington state aid. To determine which form to complete visit the financial aid web site: www.pierce.ctc.edu/financial-aid-apply.

Additional documents may be requested by the Financial Aid office. Students will be notified via their student email.

Students are encouraged to apply early to maximize their financial aid awards. The student’s financial aid file will not be considered complete and ready for processing until all requested documents are submitted to the Financial Aid office. Priority processing dates for all quarters are available online at www.pierce.ctc.edu/dist/financial-aid.

If a student’s file is not completed by the recommended submission date, the student’s award may not be ready by the first day of the quarter. In that case, students must pay their own tuition and become eligible for reimbursement at a later time, depending upon financial aid eligibility. Students can also set up a Tuition Installment Plan (TIP) through the cashier’s office.

Financial aid is awarded based on full-time enrollment (12 credits or more). If a student plans to enroll in fewer than 12 credits for any quarter, they must give the financial aid office advance written notification to allow revision of the aid award.

Types of Financial Aid

Grants and Scholarships

Federal Pell Grant: Awarded based on financial need. Students may receive the Pell Grant for a maximum of three (3) full-time (12 or more credits) quarters per academic year. The grant is prorated for less than full-time enrollment.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): Awarded based on exceptional financial need. The grant is available to students enrolled in six (6) credits or more per quarter.

Washington State Need Grant: Awarded to eligible Washington state residents up to the cost of tuition. The grant is prorated for less than full-time enrollment. Students who have earned an AA or AAS/AAT degree in the past five (5) years are not eligible to receive the State Need Grant.

College Bound Scholarship: Awarded in combination with other state financial aid to cover the average cost of tuition and fees. The scholarship is available to students who sign up by the end of the eighth grade and meet specific eligibility requirements. Information is available online at www.wsac.wa.gov/college-bound.

Pierce College grants and waivers: Pierce College reserves a percentage of tuition revenue and offers these funds to Washington resident students in the form of institutional grants and tuition waivers. Pierce College offers the following institutional grants and waivers:

  • Pierce College Grant: Awarded to eligible Washington residents based on financial need. The grant is available to students enrolled in (3) credits or more per quarter.
  • Pierce College Tuition Waiver: Washington State Tuition Waivers provide tuition grants for a limited number of state residents.
  • Scholarships may be available from outside donors, academic departments and the Pierce College Foundation.
  • Opportunity Grant Scholarships support certain professional/technical programs and are need-based.


Federal college work-study programs allow students to work on or off campus with a non-profit agency for a maximum 19 hours weekly (40 hours during quarter breaks).

State work-study programs allow students, with preference to Washington state residents, to work in private industry or business. Students may work for a maximum 19 hours weekly (40 hours during quarter breaks).


Federal Stafford Loan/PLUS allows students to borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education. Applications are available on the financial aid website. Students must first apply for financial aid using the FAFSA.

Special Funding

Through the Worker Retraining/WorkFirst programs, financial assistance may be available to students who are:

  • Receiving Washington state unemployment benefits, have received unemployment benefits in the past 24 months, have exhausted their unemployment benefits, or have been separated from active military service in the last 24 months.
  • Parents receiving DSHS/WorkFirst cash assistance. 

​Contact the Workforce staff at 253-964-6265 or www.pierce.ctc.edu/dist/workforce for information on special funding opportunities.

Agency Funded Students

Students who expect to be funded by an outside agency, such as Boeing or Labor and Industries, need to ensure that vouchers for tuition and fees have been received by the cashier’s office at the college they plan to attend before registration. Students need to initiate this process and contact the agency that will be providing their funding. Students must also arrange with the agency to charge books and supplies in the college bookstore.

Notification of Financial Aid

All notifications from Pierce College Financial Aid will be made via the student email system. Students should check this email regularly for important information.

Maintaining Aid Eligibility

When students accept financial aid, they also accept responsibility for making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). At the end of each quarter, student’s SAP will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. The student completed the level of enrollment for which their aid was calculated and disbursed.
  2. The student earned both a 2.0 cumulative and quarterly GPA.
  3. The student is on track to complete their degree within 125 percent of their degree program length (e.g. 90 credit program must be completed before taking more than 112 credits). 

Failure to meet SAP standards will result in a loss of aid eligibility. For more information please review the entire SAP policy online at www.pierce.ctc.edu/financial-aid-get-aid#progress.

Withdrawing From Classes

If a student withdraws from all their classes, whether officially or unofficially, they may be responsible for repaying all or a portion of their financial aid. For more information, visit the financial aid website at www.pierce.ctc.edu/dist/financialaid.


FS: 253-964-6521
PY: 253-840-8343
JBLM: 253-964-6606

Pierce College uses multiple methods to help match a student’s current skill level to appropriate coursework in English, reading and mathematics. Placement methods include Accuplacer, Smarter Balanced Assessment scores, college transcripts, high school transcripts, and placement reciprocity. Placement is required for admission. Placement assessments are conducted at the Testing Centers located at each campus and at both Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) locations.  For current testing information and schedules, please visit the website for the location of interest.


Computer-based assessment in math, writing and reading is available for new students to determine appropriate placement. Students are encouraged to take advantage of review resources prior to taking the assessment. Review resources can be found on the Placement Services websites www.pierce.ctc.edu/testing-services or www2.pierce.ctc.edu/military/resources/testing

Smarter Balanced Assessment 

Students in the high school graduating classes of 2016 and later may use the Smarter Balanced Assessment scores of level 3 or 4 for placement into math and English courses. Students who want to use these scores for placement purposes need to provide a copy of their individual score report to the Placement Center of their advisor at the location they plan to attend.  The report is provided by the high school and must include the student’s name, scaled scores and recommended level of placement.

College Transcript

Students who have credits from other regionally accredited colleges may be able to use their transcript for initial placement into math and/or English. An unofficial copy of the transcript is acceptable for initial placement; however, an official copy must be on file for credit to be granted towards a degree or certificate program. Transcripts are considered official when they are received by the college from the issuing institution. Hand-carried transcripts are accepted only when sealed in official letterhead envelopes from the issuing institution. Copied or faxed transcripts cannot be accepted as official. Transcripts may also be sent electronically directly to Pierce College by the issuing institution. Contact the former school(s) and request that official transcripts be sent to the Pierce College admissions office at 9401 Farwest Drive SW, Lakewood, WA 98498. 

High School Transcript

High school transcripts may be used to determine initial math placement under the following conditions:

  1. The high school course(s) being used for placement was taken within the past two academic years prior to the start of the term the student wants to enroll in the math course.
  2. A grade of B (3.00) or higher was earned in the last semester of the math course they wish to use for placement.
  3. An unofficial copy of the high school transcript is submitted to their advisor as evidence of successful completion of the prerequisite high school course.

Students who completed AP math or English classes and received a score of 3 or higher should contact their advisor for information on possible college credit. If eligible for credit, a student may not need to take the placement examination.

Placement Reciprocity

A student who qualifies for a specific level of math, English or reading at another institution, either through course completion or skills assessment, will have that course placement level honored at Pierce College in accordance with the Washington state testing reciprocity agreement. 

Students requesting reciprocity from a placement assessment must initiate the process within one year of completing the initial assessment. For more information contact your advisor or the testing center at the location of your primary attendance.


FS: (253) 964-6705
PY: (253) 840-8431

At Pierce College we support students from the beginning of their college journey through the completion of a degree or certificate with our pledge to advise and mentor each student from Start2Finish.

New Student Orientation

New Student Orientation (NSO) is required for all new students seeking a degree or certificate from Pierce College. NSO sessions are an easy, convenient way to get the information needed to begin as a student at Pierce College. This requirement may be waived for exempted student populations. Sessions are offered on a regular basis. See the Advising website for a schedule of orientation sessions at www.pierce.ctc.edu/dist/admissions/getstarted/nso.

Student attending through Pierce College at JBLM should consult www.pierce.ctc.edu/military/academics/advising for more information regarding NSO.


All new students who intend to pursue a degree or certificate at Pierce College will work with an advisor at their primary campus. In an effort to provide the very best service to our students and prepare them to succeed, advisors will:

  • Educate students about the culture of higher education
  • Explore academic programs and careers
  • Clarify goals
  • Foster skills of independence (including taking personal responsibility, decision-making and planning for college)
  • Evaluate academic skills based on previous work experience, learning and test scores
  • Refer students to appropriate college and community resources
  • Establish connections between the student and Pierce College

College Success

Pierce College’s College Success course (COLLG 110 ) is designed to prepare students to navigate the college system and enhance opportunities for success. The course emphasizes college success strategies, self-assessment, goal-setting, career exploration, effective study habits, campus resources, and efficient use of online tools for learning, educational planning and enrollment.

All students are required to successfully complete a College Success course during the first or second quarter of attendance. If a student fails to enroll in the course seven calendar days prior to the start of the student’s second quarter of attendance, the student’s schedule will be altered to meet the requirement. Students who do not pass the course (earn below a 2.0 grade) should retake the course the next quarter that they are enrolled. An administrative block will be placed on the student’s record to ensure the student re-takes the course.


  • Students who transfer in 30 or more credits with a cumulative GPA of a 2.0 or higher
  • Students enrolled in a certificate program that is fewer than 25 credits
  • Students who have a degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Students enrolling at another institution and attending Pierce for one quarter
  • Students who have successfully completed (2.0, C, P, or higher) an equivalent course at another institution can transfer the course. An unofficial transcript will suffice to meet the College Success requirement. Official transcripts will be required to formally transfer the credit.
  • Students enrolled in a statewide Competency Based Education (CBE) program
  • Students who believe they should be exempted from the course and do not meet any of the above exceptions can request an exemption through a Director of Advising and Entry Services.


FS: 253-964-6615
PY: 253-840-8400 
JBLM: 253-964-6567

Students register for classes each quarter. Registration appointment times are assigned to students who are enrolled in the current quarter and to all students who completed classes within the past four quarters. Registration times are assigned based on the total number of credits earned at Pierce College, with students earning the most credits receiving the earlier assigned times. New students and former students who have not attended within the past four quarters may register after the priority registration period.

Students who have informed the college that they are veterans (or spouses receiving veteran education benefits) will receive priority registration during their respective assigned period.

Pierce College at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Registration

Registration for courses at Pierce College at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) is available in person in the Stone and McChord Education Centers, or via email to JBLMRegistration@pierce.ctc.edu. Active-duty Army students using tuition assistance should submit enrollment requests through the GoArmyEd portal system.

Late Registration

Students may register for a class without the instructor’s signature through the first three days of the instructional quarter. The instructor’s signature is required to register for a class on the fourth through the tenth day (eighth day during summer quarter) of the instructional quarter. Specifics are published in the quarterly schedules. Late registration, with the exception of continuous-entry or late-starting classes, must be petitioned through the registration office at the campus location of the class. A non-refundable late enrollment fee will be charged.

Concurrent Registration

Pierce College may participate with other local community colleges to offer a concurrent registration program for state-funded courses. Check with the registration office for more information about concurrent registration procedures.

Registration Blocks

All prior college financial obligations must be paid prior to registration. Students are not permitted to register or change their schedule if there is a financial or registration block on their student record.  Students who have a balance owed for the current quarter may be allowed to make schedule changes through special arrangements with the cashier’s office.

Changing a Schedule After Registration

The dates for adding or dropping classes are published in each quarter’s schedule of classes. Students may add or drop a class through the online registration website or submit a Schedule Change Form to the registration office. If a class is dropped before the 10th day of the quarter (eighth day for summer), no record of the class will appear on the student’s transcript. This day varies if the class does not follow the regular college calendar. Consult the quarterly schedule for firm add/drop dates for each quarter.

To withdraw from a class after the 10th day of the quarter (eighth day for summer quarter), students must do so through online registration or complete a Schedule Change Form and submit it to the registration office. The last day to withdraw is published in the quarterly schedule. Students who follow this procedure will receive a “W” grade for the course; this grade does not impact the student’s GPA.

For courses at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, students must submit a Schedule Change Form at the Stone Education Center on Fort Lewis or the McChord Education Center. Forms are also accepted via fax at 253-964-6729 or by email at JBLMRegistration@pierce.ctc.edu. The dates for adding or dropping classes at Joint Base Lewis-McChord are available on the website at www.pierce.ctc.edu/military.

Auditing a Course

To audit a class, a student must register, pay tuition and/or fees and attend class regularly. A student who is auditing a class is not required to take examinations and will not receive credit for the course. Most classes offered by the college are open to audit. A student may change from credit to audit or audit to credit through the 10th day (eighth day in summer quarter or for courses at Joint Base Lewis-McChord) of the instructional quarter or term with permission of the instructor. Check the quarterly schedule for the specific date each quarter for classes at Fort Steilacoom or Puyallup. Check the Pierce College at JBLM website at www.pierce.ctc.edu/military for the specific date each term for classes at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Independent Study

Independent study is a contract established between a student and an instructor for in-depth work in a particular area of interest. The bulk of responsibility for the study, research and completion of the course rests with the student. The instructor provides expectations, guidance and final evaluation.

Tuition for independent study is consistent with regular tuition rates. A maximum of five credits per class may be carried through independent study during a quarter. Credits earned through independent study may be used only in the general elective category of the AA-DTA and AS-T degrees. A maximum of 15 independent study credits may apply toward any professional/technical degree or certificate.

Administrative Withdrawal - Unmet Prerequisites

Pierce College reserves the right to administratively withdraw a student from any course for which they have not successfully fulfilled the prerequisite requirement. Students who met previous prerequisites at other institutions are required to provide documentation to an advisor or faculty member to verify successful completion and access for enrollment.

Students enrolled in a prerequisite course, prior to completion of that course, are allowed to register for the next course the following quarter. Students who do not achieve the required grade may be withdrawn immediately after grades are posted. Notification of withdrawal will be sent via student email.

Administrative Withdrawal – Non-Attendance

Pierce College reserves the right to administratively withdraw registered students who fail to attend initial class sessions and fail to make arrangements for excused absences through the instructor or division dean. If a student does not make prior arrangements, the instructor may report the student as not attending, and the student will be dropped from the class.

If a student attends a class after being dropped, the student must follow the enrollment policy in effect at the time, which may include a requirement for the instructor’s signature or the payment of a late fee, as applicable.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition rates for Pierce College District are set annually by the state legislature and the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. Tuition rates and fees are posted on the Pierce College website at www.pierce.ctc.edu/tuition-fees.

Students are fully responsible for paying your tuition and other debts owed to Pierce College by the tuition due date. Failure to make payments to Pierce College by the due date may result in your account being referred to an outside collection agency. Students are responsible for all costs including collection costs of 25% to 35% 12% interest and reasonable legal fees as per Washington State Law.

Pierce College reserves the right to change, without notice, any fees to comply with state or college regulations and policies. Policies regarding tuition, tuition rates, student fees, technology fees, tuition/fee waivers, concurrent registration and refunds vary. This may include classes offered through, Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Continuing and Community Education.

Comprehensive Student Fee

A student-approved fee of $3.50 per credit, up to a maximum of $15, is charged each quarter to cover on-campus parking, graduation, transcripts, student kiosk maintenance and student ID production. This fee is refundable on the same basis as tuition.

Technology Fee

A student-approved fee of $3.50 per credit, up to a maximum of $35 per quarter, is charged and used to advance the use of technology by students. This fee is refundable on the same basis as tuition.

Fort Steilacoom Recreation Center Fee

A student-approved fee of $3.50 per credit, up to a maximum of $35, is used to cover the building costs of a multipurpose student recreation center for students at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom and is refundable on the same basis as tuition.

Puyallup Fitness and Recreational Fee

A student-approved fee of $4.25 per credit is used to cover the costs of the fitness and recreation center for students at Pierce College Puyallup and is refundable on the same basis as tuition.

Special Fees

Special fees are charged to cover extraordinary expenses for some courses and/or programs. These are refundable on the same basis as tuition, unless noted in the quarterly class bulletin as nonrefundable.

Tuition and Fee Waivers

Tuition and fees are waived or reduced for certain groups of Washington state residents who enroll for state-funded classes. Contact the registration offices for information.

Tuition and Fee Refunds

To be eligible for a refund, a student must officially withdraw from classes. All refunds are made by check and will be mailed to the student or refunded back to the student’s financial aid or funding source. If a student has an outstanding debt to the college, the college may offset that debt against any refunds due to the student.

For official withdrawals, refunds are given according to the following schedule for Fort Steilacoom and Puyallup classes:

  • 100 percent is refunded if a student withdraws through the fifth day of the fall, winter or spring quarters or if the class is canceled.
  • 50 percent is refunded if the student withdraws on or after the sixth day of instruction through the 20th calendar day following the beginning of instruction for fall, winter or spring quarters.
  • 100 percent and 50 percent refunds for summer and short session classes are given on a timetable proportionate to the standard length of the instructional quarter.
  • No refund is made if the student withdraws after the 20th calendar day of the instructional quarter. 

Refunds for Pierce College at Joint Base Lewis-McChord classes are made in accordance with the refund schedule available on the website at www.pierce.ctc.edu/military.

  • 100 percent refund if the student withdraws from the course before the 4th day of the session
  • No refund for withdrawals after the 5th day of the session
  • For classes which do not follow the regular class schedule, refunds are given on a proportionate timetable. 

Refunds may also be granted for medical emergencies or military active duty assignment. Students must complete the refund petition form at http://www.pierce.ctc.edu/forms.

Definition of Full-Time Student for Enrollment Purposes

A student must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credits in a given quarter to be considered a full-time student. The definition of a full-time student may vary for outside agencies, such as the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Veterans Administration, Social Security and insurance companies. Students are responsible for knowing the enrollment status requirements of any sponsoring agencies.

Residency Status

The state of Washington regulates residency determinations at Washington community colleges and public universities in accordance with RCW 28B.15.012-014. To be considered eligible for the lower resident tuition rate, a student (or his/her parent or legal guardian in the case of a dependent student) must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or have permanent resident immigration status in the U.S. for at least one year, or hold an eligible visa classification (A, E, G, I, J, K or H1)
  • Be physically present in Washington for 12 continuous months prior to the beginning of the quarter
  • Have established a bona fide domicile 12 continuous months prior to the beginning of the quarter 

​To determine if a bona fide domicile has been established, a variety of factors are considered. Simply living in Washington for 12 continuous months prior to the beginning of the quarter does not establish residency or a student’s intent to become a permanent resident of Washington.

Residency questionnaire forms and information about state requirements for establishing residency are available from the admissions office at Fort Steilacoom or Puyallup. All information should be submitted to the college to which the student has applied.

Active Duty military and Washington State National Guard personnel physically stationed in Washington and their spouses and dependents can have the non-resident portion of their tuition waived. Students with questions should contact the admissions office.

Veterans who live in Washington and enroll in Pierce College within three years of discharge from active duty service of 90 days or more may be eligible for resident tuition. This eligibility may also extend to the veteran’s spouse and dependents. Students should contact the Veterans Service Office for information.

Some individuals who are not permanent residents or citizens of the United States may be eligible to pay resident tuition rates. To qualify for resident status, they must complete the Washington Higher Education Residency Affidavit/Declaration/Certification form if they meet the following conditions:

  • Resided in Washington state for the three years immediately prior to receiving a high school diploma and completed their full senior year at a Washington high school.
  • Completed the equivalent of a high school diploma and resided in Washington state for the three years immediately before receiving the equivalent of the diploma,
  • Continuously resided in the state since earning a high school diploma or its equivalent. 

Students must submit the original copy of the Washington Higher Education Residency Affidavit/Declaration/Certification to the admissions office at either college. Faxed or emailed forms, or forms without an original signature, are not acceptable.

All residency determinations are based upon Washington state guidelines.

Residency/Citizenship Status Changes

All documentation required for a review of residency/citizenship status for tuition-paying purposes must be submitted to the admissions office within 30 calendar days from the start of the instructional quarter. Paperwork submitted after 30 days is reviewed for the next quarter.

Veterans Services Office

FS: (253) 964-6505
PY: (253) 864-3194

The Veterans Services Office (VSO) at Fort Steilacoom (FS) and Puyallup (PY) provide assistance for students using GI Bill® education benefits.

Students must designate a VA-approved program of study on their GI Bill® benefit application in order to receive benefits. Only classes listed in the VA-approved curriculum will be funded. All of Pierce College’s transfer associate degrees are VA-approved, and a list of VA-approved technical and certificate programs is available at either VSO.

Students using GI Bill® education benefits should contact the VSO at the campus they will be primarily attending. If the student is going to attend primarily through Pierce College at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, they should choose whichever VSO (FS or PY) is most convenient.

  • Selected programs of study at Pierce College are approved by the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board’s State Approving Agency (WTECB/SAA) for enrollment of those eligible to receive benefits under Title 38 and Title 10, USC.
  • Pierce College does not provide any commission, bonus or other incentive payment based directly or indirectly on success in securing enrollment or financial aid to any persons or entities engaged in any student recruiting or admission activities or in making decisions regarding the award of student financial assistance.

Payment of VA Educational Benefits

Depending on the student’s funding status, payment of benefits may be made directly to the student or both to the student and to the college. The student should be prepared to meet the cost of tuition, fees, books and other expenses themselves prior to receiving any payments from the VA.

It is the responsibility of the student to stay in contact with the VSO to ensure the continuation of benefits on a quarterly basis. This also includes changes to the student’s enrollment status, such as adding and dropping classes.

All VA benefit checks are mailed directly to the student’s residence or directly deposited into the bank account of the student’s choice. Generally, payments are made at the end of each month of school attendance for as long as the student is enrolled and making satisfactory academic progress.

Information about credit/quarter requirements for benefits is also available at either VSO (FS or PY).