1.41 Degrees, Certificates, and Diplomas

The Board of Trustees authorizes the issuance of the following degrees, certificates and diplomas:

  • Professional/Technical Certificates
  • Associate in Arts
  • Associate in Science
  • Bachelor of Applied Science
  • High School Diploma

1.42 Academic Freedom

The Board recognizes and will act to support traditional academic freedom as it applies to members of the college community carrying out their assigned duties, responsibilities and obligations, including the professional presentation or study of what might be considered by some to be controversial.

1.43 Civility

Pierce College is committed to every individual's expectation of civility in the workplace while preserving the right to freedom of expression in addressing matters of public concern. All members of the college community must embrace the inherent elements of learning: challenging ideas, debate and expression of thought and accept the responsibility of challenging ideas, debate and expression of thought within a framework of mutual respect and professionalism.

Full Pierce College Civility Policy

1.44 Tenure

The Board, as the appointing authority of tenure, shall promulgate rules and regulations implementing RCW 28B.50.850 through 28B.50.869. The Board will consider for tenure appointments probationary tenure-track faculty who have satisfactorily completed a tenure process in accordance with RCW and the district’s tenure manual. Tenure will be granted to faculty members of such character and scholarly ability that the district can justifiably undertake to employ them for the rest of their academic careers.

1.45 Financial Oversight

Financial Planning

The chancellor shall oversee ongoing financial planning that includes forecasts of enrollment, revenue, and expenditures. Such planning will be used in the process of developing an annual operating budget and presented to the Board as part of the budget approval process.

Budget Approval and Monitoring

The Board of Trustees shall annually approve an operating budget no later than the beginning of the Fiscal Year. In extenuating circumstances, the Board may approve a resolution for continuing expenditure authorization as a temporary measure until an annual budget can be presented and approved.

The treasurer shall provide a report to the Board on the operating budget status at least quarterly. Such report shall include a summary of expenditures to date for major budget divisions, divided as may be reasonable to monitor.

Reserves and Cash Management

The chancellor shall ensure that Pierce College maintains cash reserves within its fund balance accounts for all funds in an amount necessary to allow for prudent cash management of District operations, to ensure sufficient funds are available for working capital, accommodate fluctuations in revenue or expenditures, allow for contract program discontinuance and other unforeseen circumstances, properly manage reimbursable funding requirements, and provide flexibility on non-recurring expenses, such as program start-up costs or equipment purchases.

Under regular operating conditions, the district's goal is to maintain unrestricted reserves of at least 10% and sufficient to repay the principal on debts. The Board may approve spending resulting in lower reserve balances in an emergency situation or when they believe it to be in the best interests of the college's immediate or long-term needs.

Authorization for legally allowable short term transfers and loans between funds to manage the cash balances of funds is delegated to the chancellor.

For transfers and loans between funds that are reasonably expected to last longer than one year, the Board authorizes the chancellor to manage or delegate such transfers and loans with notice to the Board no later than the next scheduled regular meeting.


The Board of Trustees authorizes the chancellor to oversee the investment of surplus local fund cash balances in any legally approved investments.

The Board further authorizes the deposit and withdrawal of Pierce College monies in the Local Government Investment Pool in the State Treasury in accordance with Chapter 294, Laws of 1996. The Board delegates signature authority for deposit or withdrawals of monies in the Local Government Investment Pool to the chancellor or the chancellor’s designee.

Debt Management

All debt must be pre-approved by the Board, except for operating capital leases for equipment or facilities of terms no more than 60 months and less than $1,000,000 in total outlay.

The chancellor or designee may refund, renegotiate, or otherwise change the terms of any debt issue of the college in order to lower total borrowing costs. The amount of debt and debt service shall be reported annually as part of the budget approval process.

Tuition, Fees, and Waivers

The Pierce College Board of Trustees has the authority under RCW 28B.15 to establish certain categories of and charges for tuition and fees as well as tuition and fee waiver provisions. Revisions to any of these charges and/or provisions must be approved by the board. The specific tuition and fee rates, special fees, tuition and fee waiver provisions, and tuition and fee refund policy shall be outlined in the college catalog.

The Board will generally approve modifications and adoption of tuition, course fees, Student and Activities Fees, and other fees related to direct instruction at the same time as the Board approves the Annual Budget. In extenuating circumstances, the Board may approve a resolution to delegate to the chancellor the authority to modify existing course fees other than tuition throughout the year. Such modifications shall be reported to the Board at the next scheduled regular meeting.

The Board may approve a resolution to delegate to the chancellor the authority to adopt or modify fees for local activities unrelated to direct instruction. These fees include but are not limited to facilities rental fees; admission fees for plays, music, athletic, and other events; continuing and community education fees; and fees charged to the general public for services or activities provided by the college. The Board may approve a resolution to delegate to the chancellor the authority to administer the charging and collection of such fees in the best interest of the college. Those fees that are reasonable expected to be ongoing will be reported to the Board on an annual basis.

Tuition and Fee Refunds

Refunds are limited to Fees and Charges that are deemed by the college or state law to be refundable. To be eligible for a refund, a student must officially withdraw from classes. For official withdrawal, refunds are given according to a schedule. The chancellor is delegated the authority to establish and publish this schedule and associated procedures.


The Board of Trustees encourages the implementation of a comprehensive development program and delegates oversight of the program to the chancellor. The development program will include, but not be limited to, the Pierce College Foundation, the cultivation of donor prospects, the marketing of Pierce College, and the solicitation of private gifts from individuals, corporations, and foundations.

Pierce College Foundation is the fundraising arm of the college, operating as a 501(c)3 with an independent Board. Pierce College shall maintain a Memorandum of Understanding with the Foundation outlining the expectations and goals of each entity.

1.46 Honorary Degree

The Honorary Associate's Degree is the highest form of recognition offered by the Pierce College District to persons of exceptional distinction.


  • To honor meritorious and outstanding service to Pierce College and/or to the community at large; and
  • To recognize persons whose lives serve as examples of Pierce College's aspirations for its students.

The honorary degree is awarded by the Pierce College Board of Trustees through a nomination process.

View the Honorary Degree Nomination nomination procedure.