Federal Way campus aims to open this fall

By Thunderword Staff

A Federal Way campus that would bring together classes from Highline and UW-Tacoma could open as soon as this Fall.

Plans for this campus had been uncertain due to a lack of adequate funding for the complete start-up costs. 

Highline interim President Dr. Jeff Wagnitz is expected to tell the Board of Trustees on Monday that money has been found to make the project possible.

"We believe we have found a pathway to offset some of these expenses, reconfirming our commitment to begin offerings onsite this fall," Dr. Wagnitz said in his letter to the trustees.

The City of Federal Way, along with the University of Washington-Tacoma and Highline, have been working together to create this campus for students to attend classes in the Federal Way area.

Federal Way legislators had asked for $800,000 to pay for the project.  The Legislature eventually allocated $500,000; city policy adviser Yarden Weidenfield had earlier said the project probably couldn't be pulled off for less than $600,000. 

So far, there's been no word on where the extra $100,000 has been found, or if cost projections have been revised.  Officials from UW-Tacoma and the City of Federal Way did not respond to requests for comment.

Also, no one from either school has said what classes will be offered at the new campus.  City officials have been trying for several years to attract a college to the area as a means of spurring economic development. 

Dr. Wagnitz had earlier said that the campus could also provide a closer school for Running Start students, or any other students who may not have easy access to either Highline or the university in Tacoma.

Highline once had a Federal Way campus, but it was closed in the mid-2000s following years of low enrollment.  The University of Phoenix also closed its Federal Way campus several years ago.

Nearly two-thirds of those who live in the city and who are older than 25 years have earned a high school diploma, but no baccalaureate degree, according to one study.

MGT of America Consulting did a higher education needs assessment for the Federal Way area.

The study also said that Federal Way is projected to grow 17 percent in the next 25 years, which would further increase the need for local higher education classes. 

Federal Way campus aims to open this fall

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