FW campus won't advance without state cash
By Tamara Young - Staff Reporter
Highline and UW Tacoma officials say there will be no college campus in Federal Way without funding from the state.
"We will not be able to develop new distance learning options," said Mike Wark, assistant vice chancellor for external relations UW Tacoma. "UW Tacoma does have some distance learning classes that students can take now."
"At this point, if the budget isn't approved, there is no back-up plan for offering classes in Federal Way," Highline interim President Dr. Jeff Wagnitz said.
"In the foreseeable future, neither UW Tacoma nor Highline plans to deliver any courses or programs in Federal Way that aren't in our existing inventory of offerings," Dr. Wagnitz said.
"The start-up costs for the project are estimated to be $800,000," Wark said.
The state funding will cover remodeling of the storefront or business office, computers for student use, classrooms and workstations for students to work on homework, Wark said.
"Highline would offer lower-division courses that serve a wide range of degrees with an emphasis on STEM, education, and health care," Wark said. "UW Tacoma would initially offer upper-division distance learning courses in these fields."
Also, the campus will host classes for Running Start students and will open a transfer-pathway for students to pursue a bachelor's degree in their chosen field, he said.
"Federal Way Public Schools is developing pathways from high school into a degree program that will be available at the new facility and at the two campuses," Wark said.
At first there will be limited coursework available in the facility. As demand grows, specific degree and certificate programs will be developed on site, he said.
And it will aid adults who have some credits, but no degree to attend school closer to home.
A large portion of students who attend UW Tacoma come from the Federal Way area. The plan for the facility would help to better serve the community by providing classes that are a little easier to access, Wark said.
Distance learning will only be facilitated via a classroom when a location is setup, Wark said.
Federal Way officials have asked for nearly $800,000 to launch the joint campus.