2019-2020 Pierce College Catalog 
    May 19, 2024  
2019-2020 Pierce College Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Information

Earning Credits

Credit Hours/Credit Load

Credits for courses leading to degrees are earned on a quarterly credit-hour basis. In general, a class that meets one hour a week yields one credit; five hours a week yields five credits. Laboratory and activity classes may vary from this pattern. Although an average of 15 credits per quarter is recommended for making progress toward a degree as a full-time student, Pierce College serves many students who, because of employment or family obligations, choose to attend part-time. Pierce recommends that students work with a faculty or academic advisor to plan the credit load that best meets their specific needs and educational goals.

Pierce College has established a quarterly maximum credit load to facilitate student success. During fall, winter and spring quarters at the Fort Steilacoom or Puyallup campuses, the maximum credit load is 22 credits; during summer quarter, it is 18 credits. For Pierce College at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the maximum credit load in any term is 18 credits. All approvals for registering for more than the maximum credit load must be noted on the student’s registration form and signed by the student’s advisor, director of advising and entry services, or dean.

Academic Credit for Non-Traditional Learning

Academic credit for non-traditional learning enables people to earn credit and recognition for the skills and knowledge they have already acquired. An assessment of prior learning occurs after enrollment at Pierce College.

Pierce College may award academic credit based on results from the following assessment methods:

  • National standardized tests, such as College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), Dantes Subject Standardized Test (DSST);
  • Course challenges, including written, oral or demonstration assessments (developed by faculty);
  • Prior experiential learning evidenced by a directed portfolio compilation that identifies applied learning outcomes mastered through a variety of experiences and is offered at the discretion of each department; and
  • Advanced Placement (AP) as appropriate to the student’s program at Pierce College. Students who achieve the American Council on Education (ACE) recommended credit granting scores on these examinations may earn credit for Pierce College degrees and certificates.

Award of credit for non-traditional learning occurs when a student’s prior learning outcomes are assessed and determined to be the equivalent of the learning outcomes attained upon completion of a Pierce College course or degree. Credit will be issued in accordance to the equivalent course or education pathway.

Exam credits with no equivalency may be awarded as elective credit. ACE recommended credits for each exam are listed in semester hours. However, credits will be converted and awarded as five quarter hours for each three semester hours.

Academic departments are responsible for outlining a process that reflects competencies and outcomes within their specific disciplines. The college supports as guidelines the principles of best practices published by the Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges, cross-sector collaboration guided by the Washington Student Achievement Council, as well as the policies established by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. If a student wishes to investigate the possibility of having non-traditional learning recognized by the college, the student should first consult with their advisor, who will direct them to the appropriate department expert.

The categories of assessment described below are most commonly used by Pierce College to determine whether or not students have met the learning outcomes for a particular course of program. Note: not all departments use the assessments listed below or offer academic credit for non-traditional learning. Students should check with a specific department for policies and further information on how these assessments apply to specific disciplines.

CLEP and DSST (National Standardized Tests)

CLEP and DSST testing is available through the Pierce College at Joint Base Lewis-McChord National Test Centers. Administrative registration and testing fees may apply. CLEP exams assess learning outcomes for course content in composition and literature, world languages, history and social sciences, science and mathematics and business. DSST exams assess learning outcomes for course content in business, humanities, math, physical science, social sciences and technology. For additional information on which examinations are offered, which exams are accepted for credit, testing hours, fees and test preparation, visit the Pierce College National Test Center web page.

Credit by Examination (Course Challenges)

Students may receive Pierce College credit for up to two courses per quarter by successfully completing an examination on the course subject matter. Credit by examination may be attempted only once for any given course and may not be used to improve a grade earned at Pierce College or to challenge a course prerequisite for a course successfully completed. Credit by examination does not satisfy the graduation residency requirement. A per-credit fee is charged. Students should contact the department from which they are seeking credits for examination information. Further information and application forms are available through the testing centers at Fort Steilacoom or Puyallup.

Prior Experiential Learning (Portfolio Assessment)

Prior experiential learning, often referred to as portfolio assessment, is a process that awards credit on the basis of knowledge mastered for specific courses at the discretion of each department. Appropriate faculty members will evaluate the portfolio to determine if it is acceptable and the amount of credit that may be awarded.

Current on-the-job work experience, if related to academic or professional/technical studies, may enable students to obtain credit for their experience in a chosen field. Experiential learning is college level learning that has been acquired through work experiences and self-study. Credit will be awarded for the college-level learning gained from these experiences, not from experiences only. Students should recognize that college credits are usually useful to them only if the credits are a required part of the major or certificate program in which they are actively engaged. This credit is not accepted automatically by transfer schools. Anyone planning to transfer should research this matter with the transfer school(s) concerned. Students may initiate assessment of work experience credit through professional certificates, licenses and portfolios as determined by academic departments. Students should review the various options available to recognize their learning accomplishments and work with the academic department from which they are seeking credit. Preparation of the portfolio is the sole responsibility of the student who chooses to initiate the process. Not all departments use portfolio assessment. Students should check with the specific department from which they are seeking credit for details on policies, guidelines and fees.

Advanced Placement

The Advanced Placement (AP) program is sponsored by the College Board and consists of college-level courses and examinations for high school students. Pierce College accepts credit for work done in this program in accordance with standards set by the Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges. Students who receive AP scores of 3, 4, or 5 in the approved subject areas will be granted AP credit at Pierce College. AP credits will be awarded as “P” grades on the Pierce College transcript and may be used to fulfill pre-requisite and degree requirements. AP credit may be earned in any of the following subject areas: art, English, history, foreign language (French, German or Spanish), mathematics (calculus, computer science and statistics), music theory, political science, psychology and science (biology, chemistry or physics). Students may request transcription of AP credits after completing fifteen (15) college level credits (courses numbered 100 or higher) at Pierce College with a 2.0 or higher grade point average. No fees apply.

Cambridge International (CI)

Pierce College will grant a minimum elective credit for each Cambridge International Examination for A-level exam with a passing grade or above for approved examinations. Credit will be awarded on the basis of official Cambridge International Examination results, not transcript notation. Duplicate credit for the same subject taken on different exams will not be granted. No grades are posted for A-level exams.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

Pierce College will grant a minimum elective credit for an International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher Level (HL) exam score of 5 or higher. Credit will be awarded on the basis of official IB results, not transcript notation.

Professional Certifications and Licenses

College credits may be awarded for professional certifications and licenses earned by the student if the organization providing the training program is recognized by the American Council on Education (ACE), international, federal, state or local agencies, and the appropriate Pierce College academic department determines that the certification/license is college-equivalent learning. Students should contact the department from which they are seeking credits for professional certification and license fee information.

Credits Awarded for Service

Credit for VISTA, Peace Corps or AmeriCorps

Pierce College will grant 15 credit hours of elective credits for one year or more (at least nine months’ active service) in VISTA, Peace Corps or AmeriCorps. To receive such credit, students must submit a resume of their VISTA, Peace Corps or AmeriCorps experience to the evaluations office for review. The credit granted may apply to any Pierce College degree and will be granted after the student has earned 15 or more college-level credits with a college-level grade point average of 2.0 or higher in residence at Pierce College. However, general credit of any nature cannot be used to fulfill the specific course requirements of any program.

Credit for National Guard/Reserve Military Service

Pierce College will grant up to 15 quarter-hour credits toward the Associate in Technology – General degree for Reserve and National Guard military experience. Once a student has completed basic and advanced training of at least 120 days in Armed Forces training school, they become eligible for five credits. For each 24 days of reserve service (summer camps and weekend active duty for training) beyond the initial basic and advanced training, the student becomes eligible for one additional credit. A maximum of 15 credits can be earned for a combination of all military service. These credits will be granted after the student has earned an equal number of credits in residence at Pierce College. These credits cannot be used to fulfill a specific course requirement of any vocational program.

Earning College Credit While in High School - Dual Credit Programs

Career and Technical Education (CTE - formerly TECH PREP)

Pierce College has agreements with several school districts to award credit for some professional/technical courses taken in high school. Through this program, high school students who complete selected high school courses with a “C” grade or better can earn community/ technical college credit. For more information, high school students should contact their high school counselor or career specialist, visit the Pierce County Careers Connection website, or call 253-583-8803 or 253-583-8816.

Running Start

Academically qualified high school juniors and seniors may enroll in the Running Start program, which gives high school students the opportunity to take college courses on campus at Pierce College to fulfill high school graduation requirements. Running Start is available fall, winter and spring quarters. Students may enroll simultaneously in high school and college classes, or solely in college classes. The maximum credit eligibility is based on the student’s combined high school and college enrollment. College tuition for eligible classes is covered through Running Start. For more information, high school students should contact their high school counselor or visit the Running Start web page

Grading System and Academic Standards

Pierce College’s grading system provides a permanent record student performance and achievement. Grades are reported as decimals to the nearest tenth. Grade point averages (GPA) are computed to the nearest hundredth. The numeric grades shown in the columns below will appear on the student record. The letter grades are an approximate equivalency guide to the official Pierce College decimal grades.

Specific decimal grades may be required to meet a class prerequisite, maintain good academic standing, receive credit toward a degree, and meet program-specific requirements.

4.0 - 3.9 A
3.8 - 3.5 A-
3.4 - 3.2 B+
3.1 - 2.9 B
2.8 - 2.5 B-
2.4 - 2.2 C+
2.1 - 1.9 C
1.8 - 1.5 C-
1.4 - 1.2 D+
1.1 - 1.0 D (lowest passing grade)
0.0 F Indicates student did not do passing work in the course, did not attend during the quarter, or did not officially withdraw

Grade Symbols

* Grade missing or not yet issued.
I Incomplete: Issued when a student has been delayed in completing the required work. Time limit for removal of “I” grade is determined by the instructor, but is not to exceed four quarters following the quarter in which the grade was issued. An “I” grade on a transcript after one year (four quarters) is automatically converted to a “0.0.” 
N Audit: Not computed in GPA.
NC No Credit: Faculty-initiated grade. This grade is not computed in the grade point average and cannot be changed.
P/NP Pass/No Pass: Not computed in GPA.
R Repeated Course: The “R” shows beside the lower grade(s) received and only the highest grade is computed in the GPA.  
S Satisfactory: Indicates the student is making satisfactory progress but has not completed all the competencies for a given level of instruction. No credit is received. The “S” grade is used only for ABE and ESL classes numbered under 100. Courses with “S” grade designators cannot be applied toward any degree or certificate program. Not computed in GPA.
W Withdrawal: Student-initiated by following official withdrawal procedures. Not computed in GPA.
WE Excused withdrawal: Administrative grade Issued when a student has been administratively withdrawn due to extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s control.  Must be approved by the Registrar. Not computed in GPA.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

Grade point averages are calculated by dividing the grade points by the credit hours completed.


HIST& 156  5 credits x 2.2 (grade) = 11.0 grade points
PSYC& 100  5 credits x 3.7 (grade) = 18.5 grade points
MATH& 107  5 credits x 2.6 (grade) = 13.0 grade points
COLLG 110  3 credits x 3.8 (grade) = 11.4 grade points
  Total   18 credits 53.9 grade points

53.9 grade points divided by 18.0 credits = 2.99 GPA

Pass/No Pass

Students may take a class for pass/no pass credit if the class is not in the student’s major field of study or if the class does not fulfill a core requirement for the student’s Pierce College degrees. Classes taken as pass/no pass may only be used as general elective credit for AA-DTA and AS-T degrees. Classes that are prerequisites for other courses should not be taken pass/no pass with the exception of ABE/ESL classes.

The student and instructor must sign a pass/no pass contract before the last instructional day of the quarter with the exception of ABE/ESL courses. Pass/no pass grades are not computed in the GPA. “NP” is assigned when minimum standards of the class are not met.

Students may withdraw from a class being taken pass/no pass by following the same procedures as for any other class.

Repeating a Course

Students may repeat a course to improve their grades; however, all grades will remain on the transcript.  A course may be repeated only twice (taken a total of three times) unless otherwise specified in the college catalog. Students must re-register and pay all associated tuition and fees to repeat a course. Some programs may have more restrictive policies regarding repeating courses. Consult with programs for specific information. 

Repeats must be for classes with the identical course department, number and credit level with the exception of college-initiated changes to course departments and/or numbers. All classes to which the repeat policy applies must be taken at Pierce College.

Once the class repeat has been processed, the letter “R” will be placed next to the lowest grade(s) on the student’s transcript to indicate the class has been repeated.  Only the highest grade earned will be calculated into the grade point average (GPA). The college administratively calculates and posts the “R” designator on repeated classes.  The repeat process is not applied to grade symbols I, NC, NP, P, W, or WE, as these are not calculated in the GPA. The repeat indicator cannot be applied to a class if that class was used to meet the completion requirements of a posted degree or certificate.

Students who plan to transfer to another institution and/or plan to apply to programs with specific grade/entrance requirements should be aware that their GPAs might be recomputed by that institution and/or program. Repeated courses will be received in accordance with the receiving institution and/or program’s own requirements and policies. Students receiving financial aid, veterans benefits, or other third party funding, and/or those participating in athletics should consult those offices prior to repeating a course. Benefits or eligibility may be reduced or lost due to course repetition.

Grade Changes

Grade changes occur only when a legitimate error has been made in computing, reporting or recording a grade, or when a temporary grade (such as “I” Incomplete) needs to be changed to a permanent grade. Grade changes are reported by the class instructor to the records office.

Grade changes will be accepted and posted to a student record up to four quarters (including summer) following the quarter in which the original grade was issued. This time limitation applies to “I” grades as well as other grades. Exceptions to the four-quarter time limit may be made only in cases of documented grading errors.

An “I” grade on a transcript after one year (four quarters) will be automatically converted to a “0.0” without instructor input.

Students with questions regarding a class grade should contact the class instructor. When one year has elapsed from the time the grade was issued, the grade becomes a permanent part of the student’s record.

Withdrawal with Approved Excuse

A Withdrawal with Approved Excuse (WE), also referred to as an excused withdrawal or hardship withdrawal, is a grade recorded for a class from which a student has withdrawn or was unable to complete due to extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s control. Students must submit a petition for a Withdrawal with Approved Excuse.  

In order to qualify for the issuance of a Withdrawal with an Approved Excuse (“WE”) grade, a student must satisfy all of the following conditions:

  • The coursework of the course cannot have been fully completed. “Completed” is typically demonstrated by the completion, whether successful or not, of a final assessment (e.g. final exam, paper, etc.).
  • Extenuating circumstances beyond academic performance in the course must be demonstrated and will require some form of documentation. Extenuating circumstances include, but are not limited to, serious medical conditions, serious family emergencies, military deployment, the student’s death and other severe/catastrophic circumstances.
  • Generally, students have up to one year from the end of a course to submit a request for an Excused Withdrawal. Appeals and exceptions to this condition must be documented.
  • Generally, an Excused Withdrawal is only approved for all courses in a quarter, except in unique circumstances where a student can demonstrate the extenuating circumstance(s) directly impacted the student’s ability to complete the requirements of a specific course(s) such as a broken leg for a student who is enrolled in a dance performance course. Considerations for different modalities may also be considered.
  • An Excused Withdrawal may be an option regardless of the amount of the course and coursework that has been completed, as long as all components of the course have not been attempted (e.g. completing the final exam/assessment would disqualify eligibility).
  • A student who is granted a Withdrawal with Approved Excuse for medical reasons may not be permitted to return until the student provides a statement from a medical provider showing that the student is medically ready to return.

Grade Report

Grades are accessible via the MyPierce student portal, on the Pierce College website or student kiosks located at each college. Grades will be withheld if a student has a financial obligation to the college.

Students with questions regarding a class grade should contact the class instructor. When one year has elapsed from the time the grade was issued, the grade will become a permanent part of the student’s record.

Grade Forgiveness Policy

Grade forgiveness gives students who wish to continue their education at Pierce College a fresh start from previous grades that are detrimental to their educational goals.

The following conditions are required in order to petition for grade forgiveness:

  1. Currently enrolled in the Pierce College District.
  2. Have a period of four (4) consecutive quarters of no enrollment in credit classes in the Pierce College District.
  3. Complete a minimum of 24 credits from the Pierce College District after return.
  4. At time of petition, have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 in coursework at Pierce College after return.

Classes petitioned cannot have been used toward a previously earned degree or certificate. Grade forgiveness can only be granted once. Students have an option to have one designated quarter only or the designated quarter and all previous quarters forgiven. Only classes prior to the stop out period may be petitioned. Classes that a student successfully completed in a forgiven quarter with a 2.0 or higher will remain in the GPA/Credit calculations and will not be forgiven.

If the petition is approved:

  • The original grade(s) remain on the student’s transcript.
  • Forgiven grades are not calculated in the Pierce College GPA.
  • Forgiven classes cannot be used to meet degree/certificate requirements.
  • Forgiven classes cannot be used to satisfy prerequisites for future courses.
  • Forgiven classes cannot be reinstated.

All amendments to a student’s transcript shall be made by the Registrar’s Office. The Registrar’s Office will notify the student in writing of the decision and include an updated transcript for approved petitions.

Grades forgiven through this policy may or may not be honored by Pierce College special/selective admissions programs and other educational institutions as each institution interprets transcripts according to its own policies.

Students receiving funding from sources such as financial aid and veterans educational benefits are subject to federal regulations and guidelines. Students are advised to contact financial aid and/or their funding source to determine how this policy may affect funding.

Course Grade Appeal

Student Grade Appeal Procedure

Procedures are established for a student to appeal a final grade. Students who believe they have been awarded final course grades improperly by members of the faculty may appeal those grades. Only final course grades may be appealed. The grade appeal process encompasses informal, formal and appeal steps. Formal grade appeals must be initiated by a student within 30 instructional days, not including summer quarter, following the official posting of the grade by the college to the student’s academic record.

Copies of the procedure are also available in the Offices of the Vice Presidents of Learning and Student Success, Division Offices, the Offices of the Deans of Student Success, and the Student Life Offices.

Academic Honors

Students who complete a minimum of 12 credits for the quarter and earn the quarterly grade point average (GPA) listed below for that quarter will receive the associated honor.

4.0 GPA – Chancellor’s List 
3.90 to 3.99 GPA – President’s List
3.50 to 3.89 GPA – Dean’s List

At the time of degree/certificate awarding, students who earn a cumulative college-level grade point average of 3.5 or above for all Pierce College credits with a minimum of 25 credits earned at Pierce College will be considered an Honors Graduate. The annual commencement program is printed prior to the end of spring quarter; therefore, honors notations in the program are based on a student’s Pierce College transcript through winter quarter.

Academic Standards

Pierce College is committed to student academic success.  The primary purpose of the Academic Standards Policy is to quickly identify and alert students who have not met academic standards in order to provide students resources and the opportunity to improve their academic success. This Academic Standards Policy is not the same as the Satisfactory Academic Policy (SAP) for financial aid recipients. 

Pierce College will review academic progress each quarter to identify and support students who may be struggling and congratulate those who are improving. Students will remain in the categories identified below to ensure continued student support through their academic journey and to monitor student progress.

Good Academic Standing

Students who earn a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or better will be considered in Good Academic Standing.

Academic Concern

The first quarter in which the quarterly grade point average falls below 2.0, students will be notified and placed on Academic Concern.

Academic Alert

Students on Academic Concern whose quarterly grade point average is less than a 2.0 in any subsequent quarter will be notified and placed on Academic Alert.

Academic One-Quarter Dismissal

Students on Academic Alert whose quarterly and cumulative grade point averages are below 2.0 in any subsequent quarter will be notified and may be dismissed for one quarter subject to a Dean review.  Students may not appeal the Academic One-Quarter Dismissal.

Academic Four-Quarter Dismissal

Students returning from an Academic One-Quarter Dismissal whose quarterly and cumulative grade point averages are below 2.0 in any subsequent quarter will be notified and may be dismissed for four quarters subject to a Dean review. Students may appeal the Academic Four-Quarter Dismissal.


To graduate with a degree or certificate from Pierce College:

  • Earn the lesser of (at least) 20 college level credits or 25 percent of the credits applicable to the degree or certificate at Pierce College; and
  • A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.00 or higher for all college level Pierce College courses applicable to the degree or certificate.

Students are advised to apply for graduation by submitting a Degree and Diploma Application at least two quarters prior to the quarter in which they intend to complete their requirements. Students are encouraged to meet with their advisors to ensure they are meeting degree requirements.

For more information about graduation evaluations, please contact the Evaluations office at 253-964-6678 or by email at evaluations@pierce.ctc.edu.

Students attending Pierce College at JBLM can find information for submitting Degree and Diploma Applications on the JBLM Graduation web page.

Pierce College reserves the right to automatically award degrees and certificates completed without student application.

Commencement Ceremony

Commencement Web Page

The Pierce College Distrct commencement ceremony is held annually in June for all students who have completed graduation requirements during that academic year and those who are projected to complete spring and summer quarters. Students and their families are encouraged to participate in this special occasion. JBLM students completing degrees and certificates are invited to attend the commencement ceremony sponsored by Armed Forces Continuing Educational Services. JBLM students are also encouraged to attend the Pierce College District commencement ceremony.

Participation in the commencement ceremony does not imply a degree has been awarded. Students must meet all degree or certificate requirements before a degree or certificate is awarded. All diplomas are mailed to students after degrees and certificates have been verified. 


Notice of Change - Name, Address, Other

Students should promptly report a change of name, address or other information. To change an address or phone number, go to the Pierce College MyPierce student portal.

To change a legal name, students must provide legal documentation of the name change. A legal name is the name that appears on a passport, driver’s license, birth certificate or U.S. Social Security Card. Legal names, not preferred names, will appear on transcripts, diplomas, official student accounts and financial aid records, certification documents, student employment records and immigration/SEVIS documents.

A preferred name is a name a student wishes to be known by in the college community that is different from a student’s legal name. Preferred names do not require documentation. More information is available on the Preferred Names web page or at the registration office at any college site.


Pierce College Transcripts

A transcript is the official documentation of a student’s educational record. Transcripts are released only if a student has submitted an authorization for release of the transcript and if the student has met all financial obligations to the college. Transcript request forms are available at all college sites within the Pierce College District or on the Transcripts web page. For recorded instructions, call 253-964-6787.

Transcripts from other Institutions

Transcripts from other institutions are official when 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 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. All transcripts forwarded to Pierce College from other institutions become the property of the college and cannot be returned to the student or forwarded to a third party. To have credits from another institution officially transferred to Pierce, a student may complete a Transfer Credit Evaluation form. 

Student Rights, Responsibilities, Conduct and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Student Conduct Code

Student Rights Information Policy

As members of the academic community, students are encouraged to develop the capacity for critical judgment and to engage in an independent search for truth. The freedom to learn depends upon appropriate opportunities and conditions in the classroom, on the campus and in the larger community. Students should exercise their freedom with responsibility.

Admission to Pierce College carries with it the expectations that students shall conduct themselves as responsible members of the Pierce College community, observe the standards of conduct, respect the rights, privileges and property of other members of the academic community, maintain a high standard of integrity and honesty and not interfere with legitimate college business appropriate to the pursuit of academic goals.

The student’s success is dependent on the district fostering a positive district-wide climate that supports learning, communication, recognition and collaboration among a diverse faculty, staff and student body.

As an agency of the state of Washington, Pierce College must respect and adhere to all laws established by local, state and federal authorities. Pierce College also has developed a set of rules and regulations to ensure the orderly conduct of the affairs of the district. These rules and regulations, if violated, may result in student discipline in accordance with the procedures established in the student code of conduct.

The Student Rights and Responsibilities/Student Code of Conduct Policy is available online. Copies are also available in the offices of the Vice Presidents of Learning and Student Success, Student Life, Deans of Student Success and Associate Dean – Student Conduct. 

Student Rights for Equal Opportunity/Notice of Nondiscrimination

The Pierce College District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, perceived or actual sensory, 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 in its programs and activities.

Members of the college community or visitors who believe they have been the subject of discrimination or harassment should report the incident or incidents to the District’s Title IX or Section 504 Coordinators.

Vice President of Human Resources/Title IX Coordinator 
9401 Farwest Drive SW 
Lakewood, Washington 98498
District Section 504 Coordinator
9401 Farwest Drive SW
Lakewood, Washington 98498

The full Discrimination and Harassment Policy is on the policy web page.

Notification of Students’ Rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Pierce College has adopted procedures in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), as amended, and maintains confidentiality of student records. FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy of student educational records and affords students certain rights with respect to their educational records. Students have the right to:

  • Inspect and review their education records within 45 days of the date the college receives a written request for access. Students should submit a written request to the registrar that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the registrar, the student will be advised of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  • Request the amendment of the education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students must write to the college official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the college decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the college will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  • Consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. With few exceptions (stated below), no one will have access to student records without the written consent of the student. Pierce College will not release a student’s record to a parent/guardian without the student’s written permission. Such a policy is in effect regardless of the student’s age or financial dependency upon the parent/guardian.

Exceptions which permit disclosure without written consent include:

  • Disclosure of those items the college designated as directory information. Pierce College designates the following items as directory information: name, dates of enrollment, degrees, awards and honors received, enrollment status, participation in officially recognized activities and sports and the weight and height of members of athletic teams. A student’s directory information may be disclosed unless a student files a Request for Non-Disclosure of Directory Information form with the registration office by the 10th day of the quarter (8th day for summer quarter). Requests submitted after the deadline will be honored; however, disclosure of directory information may have occurred.
  • Disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is defined as a person employed by the college in an administrative, supervisory, academic or support staff position (including law enforcement unit); a person or company with whom the college has contracted (such as the National Student Clearinghouse, an attorney, auditor or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill their professional responsibility.
  • Disclosure of education records to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
  • Other disclosures permissible without written consent include disclosure to: comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena; specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes; appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student; organizations conducting certain studies on behalf of the college; accrediting organizations; appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; state and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to a specific state law; victims of certain offenses, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding  regardless of the outcome; anyone in the final result of a campus disciplinary proceeding in which a violation of certain offenses occurred; parents of a student under age 21 who violates drug or alcohol laws or policies; and in connection with an emergency such as suicide risk, to appropriate persons if the knowledge of such information is necessary to protect the health and safety of the student or other persons.

Pursuant to the Solomon Amendment, Pierce College is required to provide, upon request, the following information to representatives of the Department of Defense for military recruiting purposes for students 17 years of age or older: student’s name, address, telephone listing, date of birth, level of education and academic major for currently enrolled students only. This information is not released if a student has filed a Request for Non-Disclosure of Directory Information.

Students may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the college to comply with the requirements of FERPA. Contact: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 600 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20202-4605. Further information and a copy of the complete FERPA policy are available at the registration office at any campus.

Student Holiday for Faith and Conscience

Per RCW 28C.18.068, Pierce College students are entitled to two days of excused absences per academic year for reasons of faith or conscience or for organized activities conducted under the auspices of a religious denomination, church or religious organization.

Students’ grades may not be adversely impacted by absences authorized under this policy. Each holiday taken under this policy must be taken as a whole day, i.e., the day may not be divided into hours. Use of any portion of a class period or day is considered a whole day of absence.

Student Procedures

  • Students must submit a completed Request for Holiday for Faith and Conscience form.  Forms are available in the offices of the Vice President for Learning and Student Success and Executive Director of Pierce College at JBLM.  The form must be submitted to the office of the Vice President for Learning and Student Success (Fort Steilacoom or Puyallup) or the Executive Director of Pierce College at JBLM two weeks prior to the absence date, unless the student can demonstrate they recently learned of the event.  If the absence date falls within the first two weeks of the quarter, students must submit the request by the end of the second day of the quarter.  Students enrolled in Veterinary Technology, Nursing, Dental Hygiene, and other programs with an internship or clinical component should consult with their Program Director and consider Program Handbook policies and procedures early in this process.
  • All absences under this policy must be approved by the office of the Vice President for Learning and Student Success or the Executive Director of Pierce College at JBLM in advance of the absence. The college will not authorize an absence for a student after the absence occurs without exceptional and compelling circumstances.
  • If the student’s desired absence date is on a day when a test was scheduled or an assignment was due, the professor may require that the student take the test or submit the assignment before or after the regularly assigned date.
  • If a student fails to notify any of their professors of an authorized absence, the professor is not obligated to make any accommodations for the student’s absence or treat the absence as authorized under this policy or the law.
  • Additional procedural specificity is available on the form.

Alcohol/Drug-Free Environment

Pierce College intends to provide a healthful, safe and secure environment and has adopted and implemented a policy and program to prevent the unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs or alcohol by students and employees on Pierce College property or as part of Pierce College activities. The policy and prevention program is in concert with the Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989. The unlawful possession, illegal manufacturing, use or distribution of illicit drugs or alcohol is prohibited. Any violation of this policy may be reason for disciplinary action in accordance with the Pierce College Students Rights and Responsibilities/Student Conduct Code (WAC 132K-135).

Pierce College recognizes drug and alcohol use and/or dependency to be a health, safety and security problem. The use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol may result in numerous physiological, psychological and sociological disorders. College and community resources are available to assist students and employees with problems related to alcohol and other substance abuse. Persons who need assistance with problems related to drug or alcohol abuse are encouraged to use appropriate support agencies. A listing of support agencies is available in the Welcome Center at Fort Steilacoom and the Student Success Center at Puyallup.

Discrimination and Harassment Policy

The Pierce College District supports and values the dignity of each member of its community and is committed to maintaining an environment free from discrimination and harassment. This commitment applies to all levels and areas of operations and programs and is intended to ensure that all students and employees are provided equitable opportunities to realize their goals and to function safely and effectively within the Pierce College environment.

All members of the Pierce College community and visitors have the right to be free from all forms of discrimination and harassment. All individuals are also expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others.

This policy prohibits illegal discriminatory conduct and harassment, not lawful expression. This policy is not intended to limit lawful expression of intellectual inquiry or artistic expression; nor is it intended to restrict lawful expression in course content or department activities.

Pierce College recognizes its responsibility under state laws and their implementing regulations to investigate, resolve, implement corrective measures and monitor the educational environment and workplace to stop, remediate and prevent discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, perceived or actual sensory, 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. Pierce College prohibits discrimination against and harassment of members of these protected classes, as well as any additional class(es) protected by local, state or federal law. Any individual found to be in violation of this policy will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including the possibility of exclusion from Pierce College facilities, dismissal from Pierce College as a student and/or dismissal from employment, as applicable.

Members of the college community, guests, or visitors who believe they have been the subject of discrimination or harassment should report the incident or incidents to the District Title IX/EEO Coordinator identified below. If the complaint is against that Coordinator, or if for some other reason a report cannot be made to the Coordinator, the complainant should report the matter to one of the alternate designees listed below.

  District Title IX/EEO Coordinator
  Title IX Coordinator/EEO Coordinator
  9401 Farwest Drive SW
  Lakewood, Washington 98498

Alternate Designees:
  District Affirmative Action Officer
  District Section 504 Coordinator
  Deputy Title IX Coordinator - District Athletics
  Deputy Title IX Coordinator - Pierce College Puyallup
  Deputy Title IX Coordinator - Pierce College Fort Steilacoom
  Deputy Title IX Coordinator - Pierce College at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Specific information on filing a complaint, how Pierce College processes and responds to complaints, and a definition of terms related to this policy may be found in the Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Procedure policy web page.

Consumer Protection (Title IV) Student Complaint Process

The Higher Education Act (HEA) prohibits an institution of higher education from engaging in a substantial misrepresentation of the nature of its educational program, its financial charges or the employability of its graduates. The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) maintains a process to investigate complaints of this nature brought by community and technical college students in the state of Washington. For information, contact SBCTC Student Services, PO Box 42495, Olympia, WA 98504-2495, 360-704-4315. For more information, see the Consumer Protection Student Complaint policy web page.

Student Grievances

Grievance Policy Web Page

Procedures have been established for both informal and formal resolution of a student’s grievance relating to an action by an employee of the college. If the grievance cannot be resolved informally, it can be pursued formally. The services of the college ombudsperson are also available to students in pursuing grievances. Copies of the procedure are also available in the Offices of the Vice Presidents of Learning and Student Success and the Offices of the Deans of Student Success.

Annual Security Report, Annual Fire Safety Report and Daily Crime/Fire Log

The Pierce College District 11 Annual Security Report (ASR) is prepared in accordance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act. The ASR contains Pierce College’s policies, procedures and programs concerning safety and security. The ASR also reflects Clery Act crimes and alcohol, drug and weapon violations and referrals which were reported to have occurred in the most recent three years on campus, in or on off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by the college and on public property immediately adjacent to the campus. The ASR is available online or you may pick up a paper copy at either the Fort Steilacoom or the Puyallup Campus Safety office or at one of the education centers located on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. 

All reported fires and criminal incidents, including alleged incidents, are compiled into a Daily Crime/Fire Log. The Daily Crime/Fire Log is kept current reflecting the most recent 60-day period and is available for public inspection at both the Fort Steilacoom and Puyallup Campus Safety offices. Older logs are available for public inspection within two business days of request.

Inter-College Reciprocity Policy

Colleges of the Washington State Community and Technical College (CTC) system have developed and adopted guidelines, as follows, for reciprocity of transfer coursework among colleges in the CTC system.

Reciprocity of Individual Courses:

If a student transfers an individual course that meets a Communication Skills, Quantitative Skills or Distribution Requirement at the sending Washington Community and Technical College for a specific transfer degree, that course is considered to have met that requirement at the receiving college for a similar transfer degree, even if this course does not have an exact equivalent and even if the course credit is awarded through prior learning credit.

Reciprocity of Distribution Areas/Specific Requirements:

Pierce College will accept an entire Distribution, Communication Skills, Quantitative Skills or other requirements for a transfer degree if the student:

  • Has met the residency credit at the sending college and meets Pierce College’s policy on continuous enrollment.
  • Has met the entire Communication Skills, Quantitative Skills or Distribution Requirements of a transfer degree, according to the sending institution’s degree criteria.  Example criteria include number of disciplines, allowable disciplines, credits, and sequence requirements (or lack thereof). In all these instances, the sending institution’s requirements govern for that particular Communication Skills, Quantitative Skills or Distribution Requirement component.
  • Has maintained a cumulative college-level grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or better at the sending college.

Pierce College agrees to consider the requirement area met if these conditions are met. Students must submit an official transcript to the evaluations office and request an evaluation for transfer credit. It is the student’s responsibility to initiate the reciprocity process and to gather appropriate documentation as needed for review.  

Transfer Rights and Responsibilities

Student Rights and Responsibilities

  • Students have the right to clear, accurate and current information about transfer admission requirements, transfer admission deadlines, degree requirements and transfer policies that include course equivalencies.
  • Transfer and freshman-entry students have the right to expect comparable standards for regular admission to programs and comparable program requirements.
  • Students have the right to seek clarification regarding their transfer evaluation and may request the reconsideration of any aspect of that evaluation. In response, the college will follow established practices and processes for reviewing its credit transfer decisions.
  • Students who encounter other transfer difficulties have the right to seek resolution. Each institution will have a defined process for resolution that is published and readily available to students.
  • Students have the responsibility to complete all materials required for admission and to submit the application on or before the published deadlines as applicable.
  • Students have the responsibility to plan their courses of study by referring to the specific published degree requirements of the college or academic program in which they intend to earn a bachelor’s degree.
  • When a student changes a major or degree program, the student assumes full responsibility for meeting the new requirements.
  • Students who complete the general education requirements at any public four-year institution of higher education in Washington, when admitted to another public four-year institution, will have met the lower division general education requirements of the institution to which they transfer.

College and University Rights and Responsibilities

  • Colleges and universities have the right and authority to determine program requirements and course offerings in accordance with the institutional missions.
  • Colleges and universities have the responsibility to communicate and publish their requirements and course offerings to students and the public, including information about student transfer rights and responsibilities.
  • Colleges and universities have the responsibility to communicate their admission and transfer-related decisions to students in writing (electronic or paper).

Washington 45

A student who completes courses selected from within the general education categories listed below at a public community, technical, four-year college or university in Washington State will be able to transfer and apply a maximum of 45 quarter credits toward general education requirement(s) at any other public and most private higher education institutions in the state. 

For transfer purposes, a student must have a minimum grade of C or better (2.0 or above) in each course completed from this list. Students who transfer Washington 45 courses must still meet a receiving institution’s admission requirements and eventually satisfy all their general education requirements and their degree requirements in major, minor and professional programs.

The list of Washington 45 courses does not replace the Direct Transfer Agreement, Associate of Science Tracks 1 and 2, nor does it guarantee admission to a four-year college.

NOTE:  Although these courses are listed under categories, the actual course may satisfy a different general education category at a receiving institution.

Academic Calendar 2019-20

For Pierce College District: Fort Steilacoom, Puyallup and Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) 

Summer Quarter - 2019


July 2 Instruction begins District Wide
July 4 Independence Day** District Wide
July 29 Last day of instruction - Term 1 Fort Steilacoom and Puyallup
July 30 Instruction begins - Term 2 Fort Steilacoom and Puyallup
August 22 Instruction ends Fort Steilacoom and Puyallup
August 30 Instruction ends JBLM - Online Session 1
September 5 Instruction ends JBLM - Lecture/Hybrid 

Fall Quarter - 2019

September 23 Instruction begins District Wide
October 14 Columbus Day*** JBLM only
October 15 Instructions begins JBLM - Online Session 2
October 18 District In-Service Day* District Wide
November 11 Veterans Day*** JBLM only
November 27 RPD Day* District Wide
November 27 Instruction ends JBLM - Online Session 1 & Lecture/Hybrid
November 28-29 Thanksgiving** District Wide
December 6 Instruction ends Fort Steilacoom and Puyallup
December 9-11 Final exams Fort Steilacoom and Puyallup
December 13 Instruction ends JBLM -  Online Session 2

Winter Quarter - 2020

January 6 Instruction begins District Wide
January 20 Martin Luther King Jr. Day** District Wide
January 21 Instruction begins JBLM - Online Session 2
January 30 RPD Day* District Wide
January 31 District In-Service Day* District Wide
February 17 Presidents Day ** District Wide
March 11 Instruction ends JBLM - Online Session 1 & Lecture/Hybrid
March 19 Instruction ends Fort Steilacoom and Puyallup
March 20, 23, 24 Final exams Fort Steilacoom and Puyallup
March 20  Instruction ends JBLM -  Online Session 2

Spring Quarter - 2020

April 6 Instruction begins District Wide
April 20 Instruction begins JBLM - Online Session 2
May 8 District In-Service Day* District Wide
May 15 Graduation at JBLM JBLM
May 25 Memorial Day ** District Wide
June 8 Instruction ends JBLM - Online Session 1 & Lecture/Hybrid
June 16 Instruction ends Fort Steilacoom and Puyallup
June 17-19 Final exams Fort Steilacoom and Puyallup
June 19 Instruction ends JBLM - Online Session 2
June 19 Graduation District Wide

*No classes, college open
**Holiday, college closed
***Holiday observed at JBLM only

For updated information on events and activities, see the online Pierce College calendar.

This calendar is subject to change. Please verify dates with the colleges. Emergency closure due to inclement weather and other emergencies will be relayed to major local radio and TV stations. Information is also available on the Pierce College website and at the FlashAlert website.