2019-2020 Pierce College Catalog 
    Jul 24, 2024  
2019-2020 Pierce College Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Getting Started

Access and Disability Services (ADS)


Access and Disability Services (ADS) is dedicated to ensuring access and inclusion for all students with disabilities at Pierce College. ADS serves students with both temporary and permanent disabilities. We provide academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids or services to qualified students with disabilities. Students may also find additional support through assistive technology on both the Fort Steilacoom and Puyallup campuses. Contact us for more information. 


FS: 253-964-6501
PY: 253-864-3254
JBLM: 253-964-6567

Who May Enroll

Pierce College District Eleven has an open door admissions policy, practices equal opportunity and does not discriminate in its educational programs.  Pierce College admits students based on the provisions of RCW 28B.50.090(3)(b): “Each college district shall maintain an open-door policy, to the end that no student will be denied admission because of the location of the student’s residence or because of the student’s educational background or ability.”

Pierce College admits anyone

  • who is competent to profit from the curricular offerings of the college and
  • would not by presence or conduct create a disruptive atmosphere inconsistent with the purposes of the college and
  • is 18 years of age or older or
  • whose high school class has graduated or
  • is a high school graduate or
  • has earned a GED or
  • has qualified for admission through the Running Start program or
  • is a participant in other approved programs designed for age-specific groups

Applicants who will be 17 years of age or younger on the first day of instruction in the quarter of enrollment who do not meet the admissions standards must obtain written permission quarterly from the school district in which they reside before enrolling in classes.

Applicants who will be 15 years of age or younger on the first day of instruction in the quarter of enrollment must petition for underage admission.

Admission to the college does not guarantee admission to any specific program, course, or class.  Generally, admitted Pierce College students may enroll in instructional programs offered by any campus or college operated by the district, as long as the student meets the requirements for enrollment.  Pierce College reserves the right to determine admission to the College and/or the ability of students to enroll in certain classes.

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.  

General Admissions:

Special Admissions Programs

Special admission program applications are required in addition to the general college admissions application and may require an application fee. Please refer to each program’s website for specific program requirements and information.

  • Dental Hygiene and Veterinary Technology program applications must be submitted to the admissions office at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom.
  • Nursing program applications must be submitted to the Nursing office at Pierce College Puyallup.
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) applications should be submitted to the respective BAS program office. 

Once the admissions application is processed, students will receive additional information electronically including advising and registration steps.

There are also additional requirements for international students. See “International Students” in this section.

Former Students

Former students 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.

Once the admissions application is processed, students will receive additional information electronically including advising and registration steps.

Students who attended other colleges or universities 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.
  • 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. 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. For more information on reciprocity, see Inter-College Reciprocity Policy in the Academic Information section of this catalog.

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. 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 web page.

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 the Intensive English Program web page 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:

  • 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 on the Intensive English Program web page.

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 Education Web Page

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 the International Education Insurance web page 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 U.S. on a student visa is not allowed.

Financial Aid

Financial Aid Web Page

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 on October 1 for the upcoming academic year that begins in July. Completing the FAFSA or WASFA is the first step of the application process. Students who are new to the college must also apply for admissions.

The FAFSA is completed by students who are U.S. citizens and some eligible non-U.S. 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. Visit the Financial Aid web page to determine which form to complete.

Additional documents may be requested by the Financial Aid office. Students will be notified via their Pierce student email and in the financial aid portal.

Students are encouraged to apply early to maximize their financial aid awards to ensure they have funding available prior to the start of the quarter. 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. 

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, this may impact financial aid. Students are encourage to contact the financial aid office to allow for revisions to their financial aid award. If a student adjusts their class schedule, there may also be an impact to their financial aid award.  Students are encourage to speak with financial aid first.

Types of Financial Aid

Grants and Scholarships

  • Federal Pell Grant: Awarded based on financial need. 
  • 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. 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 at the Washington Student Achievement Council website.
  • 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.
    • Opportunity Grant Scholarships support certain professional/technical programs and are need-based.
    • Scholarships may be available from outside donors, academic departments and the Pierce College Foundation.


  • 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 for 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 Direct Stafford Loans allow students to borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education. Students must first apply for financial aid using the FAFSA. Federal Direct PLUS loan applications are available at on the Federal Student Aid website.

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 four years.
  • Parents receiving DSHS/WorkFirst cash assistance.

Contact the Workforce staff at 253-964-6265 or visit the Workforce web page 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, a student’s SAP will be evaluated. 

Failure to meet SAP standards will result in a loss of aid eligibility. For more information, please review the entire SAP policy online.

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 web page.


FS: 253-964-6521
PY: 253-840-8343
JBLM: 253-964-8185

Pierce College uses multiple methods to help match a student’s current skill level to appropriate coursework in English, reading and mathematics. Multiple methods such as Smarter Balanced Assessment scores, college transcripts, high school transcripts, placement reciprocity or a computer based assessment will be used. 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.

Smarter Balanced Assessment 

Smarter Balanced Assessment scores of level 3 or 4 may be used for placement into English courses. Students who want to use these scores for placement need to provide a copy of their individual score report to a Testing Center or their advisor. The report is provided by the Washington state high school and must include the student’s name, scaled scores and level scores. Smarter Balanced Assessment scores may be used for placement for up to one year after high school graduation.

College Transcript

Credits from other regionally accredited colleges may be used for initial placement into English, reading and/or mathematics. 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.

High School Transcript

High school transcripts may be used to determine English, reading and/or mathematics placement. Refer to the Testing Centers web page for specifics on placement.

Students who completed AP mathematics or English classes and received a score of 3 or higher should contact their advisor for information on placement and possible college credit. For additional details refer to the Advanced Placement Procedure.

Placement Reciprocity

A student who qualifies for a specific level of English, reading or mathematics, either through course completion or local skills assesment, will have that course placement level honored at Pierce College in accordance with the Washington Placement 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.

Computer Based Assessment

Computer-based assessment in English, reading, and mathematics is available for students to determine appropriate placement. Students are encouraged to take advantage of review resources prior to taking the assessment. Review resources and testing schedules can be found on the Testing Centers web page or the JBLM Testing web page

Getting Started - Getting Connected

FS: 253-964-6705
PY: 253-840-8431
JBLM: 253-964-6567

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 start to finish. Accessing your student portal and completing the new student guide is an easy and convenient way to get the information and resources needed to begin as a student at Pierce College.

Access your student portal.


All students new to Pierce College will work with an advisor. In an effort to provide the very best service to our students and prepare them to succeed, advisors will help students:

  • Explore career pathways and clarify academic goals/interests
  • Foster skills of independence, personal responsibility, decision-making and planning for college
  • Learn about appropriate college and community resources
  • Establish connections with Pierce College
  • Learn about the culture of higher education

College Success

College Success 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 enroll in College Success (COLLG 110) during the first quarter of attendance.

If a student fails to enroll in a COLLG 110 class their first quarter of attendance, the student’s schedule will be altered to meet the requirement.  

Students who earn below a 2.0 grade in COLLG 110 are required to re-take COLLG 110 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 will not be required to take COLLG 110.
  • Students enrolled in a certificate program that is fewer than 25 credits will not be required to take COLLG 110.
  • Students who have a degree from a regionally accredited institution will not be required to take COLLG 110.
  • Students who are matriculating at another institution and are attending Pierce for a quarter will not be required to take COLLG 110.
  • Students who have successfully completed (2.0, C, P, or higher) an equivalent course at another institution can transfer the course and will not be required to take Pierce’s COLLG 110. An unofficial transcript will suffice for the waiver of the requirement. Official transcripts will be required to formally transfer the credit.  
  • Students who believe they should be exempted from COLLG 110 and do not meet any of the above exceptions may request an exemption through the Degree Exception Request process. See the Degree exception petition form on the Forms web page. 


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 3 days of the instructional quarter. The instructor’s signature is required to register for a class on the 4th through the 10th day (8th day for summer quarter) of the instructional quarter. Specific dates are published in the academic calendar.

Late registration after the 10th day (8th day for summer quarter), 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 cashier’s office for more information. Students receiving financial aid should also check with the financial aid office.

Registration Blocks

All prior college financial obligations must be paid prior to registration. Students may not be 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, dropping or withdrawing from classes are published in the academic calendar. Students may add, drop or withdraw from a class through the online registration website or by submitting a Schedule Change Form to the registration office at Fort Steilacoom or Puyallup.

For classes 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

If a class is dropped before the census date of the class session, no record of the class will appear on the student’s transcript. After the census date, a student may withdraw from a class until the last day to withdraw for the session. The class will be on the student’s official transcript with a “W” grade. 

For additional information regarding dates, refer to the academic calendar. 

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 (8th day in summer quarter) of the instructional quarter or term with permission of the instructor. Check the academic calendar for the specific dates each quarter for classes at Fort Steilacoom or Puyallup. Check the Pierce College at JBLM web page 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 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 in the prerequisite course 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 re-enroll following the enrollment policy in effect at the time, which may include a requirement for the instructor’s signature and 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 Tuition and Fees web page.

Pierce College reserves the right to change, without notice, any fees to comply with state or college regulations and policies. The admissions and registration offices have the most current information available.

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 $35, 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.

Puyallup Student Transportation Fee

A student-approved fee of $3.50 per credit is used to cover the costs for the construction of new parking, funding free bus passes to all students and developing a reserve fund for future parking and improvements.

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 Pierce College at JBLM web page.

  • 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 be granted for medical emergencies or military active duty assignment. Students must complete the Excused Withdrawal and Refund Petition form available on the Forms web page.

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 and 
  • Be physically present in Washington for 12 continuous months prior to the beginning of the quarter and
  • Have established a bona fide domicile in Washington State for 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. 

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 Services 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. 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 Offices (VSO) at Fort Steilacoom and Puyallup 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. 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 primarily attending at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, they may choose the VSO that 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 a student’s funding status, payment of benefits may be made directly to the student or both to the student and to the college. Students should be prepared to meet the cost of tuition, fees, books and other expenses themselves prior to receiving any payments from the VA.

Students must 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).

*”GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.”