Facts and Information
Highline College is nationally and internationally recognized as a premier community college, a reputation earned through the development of an institutional culture that values innovation, globalization of curriculum and community participation. Highline is one of 34 community and technical colleges in Washington state.
Highline’s main campus is located on an 80-acre wooded site in the Pacific Northwest, 20 minutes south of downtown Seattle. Perched on a hill in Des Moines, Wash., the main campus overlooks beautiful Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Classes are also offered at the Marine Science and Technology (MaST) Center at Redondo Beach and additional locations in the community.
As a public institution of higher education serving a diverse community in a multicultural world and global economy, Highline College promotes student engagement, learning, and achievement, integrates diversity and globalism throughout the college, sustains relationships within its communities, and practices sustainability in human resources, operations, and teaching and learning.
|Acting President Jeff Wagnitz, Ed.D.|
|Vice President for
|Vice President for
Jeff Wagnitz, Ed.D.
|Vice President for
|Vice President for
Lisa Skari, Ed.D.
Recent Notable Achievements and Awards
Highline’s commitment to diversity, social justice and multiculturalism earned the college awards and recognition.
Highline received a prestigious Award of Excellence from the American Association of Community Colleges twice in the past three years. In 2016, the AACC recognized President Jack Bermingham and the college’s five-member Board of Trustees for their exemplary collaboration and working relationship, and in 2014, Highline was recognized as a leader among the nation’s community colleges for increasing diversity as well as educational and social justice equity.
For the fourth consecutive year, Highline received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. Highline was one of only two institutions in Washington — and one of only nine community colleges nationwide — to receive the 2016 award. The award is given annually by Insight into Diversity magazine.
Highline also earned national recognition from Community College Week as one of the top 100 associate degree producers in 2015. Highline ranked 64th out of the top 100 associate degree producers in the Asian-American student category, down slightly from its rank of 48th in 2014. Community College Week used data provided by the U.S. Dept. of Education for these rankings.
Economic Impact of Highline College
Having a college in the community is not only a boon for nearby students, but also for those who have never set foot on campus. Why? Highline contributes to the economic vibrancy of the area. For every $1 invested at Highline during 2014–15, society gained $9.80 in added taxes and public sector savings, according to a study by Economic Modeling Specialists International (“Analysis of the Return on Investment and Economic Impact of Education,” Dec. 2016). Learn more and read the full study at “Study Shows Highline Added $631.5 Million to Economy.”
Economic Benefits of International Students
The organization NAFSA: Association of International Educators estimated that international students and their dependents contributed approximately $789.1 million to Washington state’s economy for the 2014–15 academic year, which translated into 504 direct and indirect jobs in the 9th Congressional District. Highline’s international students contributed approximately $16.9 million to the local economy that year through tuition costs and living expenses.
Highline’s Funding Sources
For the 2015-16 academic year, Highline received $42.8 million in funding.
Student Tuition and Fees
|Quarterly Tuition (2016-17 academic year)||Cost|
|Lower Division Courses:|
|Resident (full time/15 credits)||$1,284|
|Nonresident (full time/15 credits)||$3,087|
|Bachelor of Applied Science Courses:|
|Resident (full time/15 credits)||$2,060|
|Nonresident (full time/15 credits)||$6,046|
Special Initiatives / Grants
- Achieving the Dream
- MESA Program: Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement
Total credit and non-credit students
Total credit students (64% of all students)
Median age of credit students
Total number of international students
Total number of Running Start students
Ethnicity of the Student Population
|1%||Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander|
|<1%||Native American or Alaska Native|
|19%||Prefer not to answer|
|17%||Prefer not to answer|
Why Students Enroll at Highline
|50%||attend to transfer to a four-year college/university|
|30%||attend for basic skills programs|
|17%||attend for work-related courses (current or future)|
|3%||attend for high school completion programs|
|<1%||attend for personal enrichment|
Type of Course Enrollments*
|%||Type of Enrollment|
|35%||of enrollments in transfer courses|
|26%||of enrollments in professional/technical courses|
|25%||of enrollments in basic skills|
|9%||of enrollments in pre-college level courses|
|5%||of enrollments in community courses|
*Course enrollment may differ from students’ reported purpose for attending.
Serving Our Community
Approximately 92 percent of Highline’s students come from King County. The balance comes from neighboring counties.
Highline Students by City‡
|City||Number of Students||Percentage of Students|
‡Of the 16,737 students reporting
The Area We Serve
Highline College is one of 34 community and technical colleges in Washington state and serves the people of King County.
As of fall 2015, 1,246 people work at Highline, serving students at multiple locations throughout King County. About 84 percent — or 1,046 — of these dedicated professionals live and pay taxes in King County.
Degrees and Programs
Highline offers comprehensive community college programs as well as new bachelor’s degrees in five high-demand programs: Cybersecurity and Forensics, Global Trade and Logistics, Respiratory Care, Teaching and Early Learning, and Youth Development.
Highline’s associate degrees provide preparation for transfer to four-year colleges or universities. The college offers applied associate degrees and/or certificates in more than 60 professional-technical education programs, designed to help students succeed in today’s marketplace. Students also come to Highline for pre-college, basic education and short-term training programs as well as continuing education.
Community Education and Training Services
Community Education and Training Services at Highline College provides options for short-term stackable certificates and pathways to professional-technical degrees in business, health care, human services and retail management. For direct application in today’s competitive business environment, additional professional development courses are also available. Topics include computer technology, entrepreneurial training, languages, and leadership and management. Businesses also use Highline’s Contract Training services to offer customized, professional training and consulting that provide critical knowledge and skills to maximize employees’ and the organization’s performance.
Highline contributes to the economic development of south King County by providing no-cost business training and one-to-one technical assistance for new and existing businesses. Such assistance helps local businesses achieve sustainability and self-efficiency. In 2015, Highline provided 2,225 hours of service to more than 408 clients and helped launch 16 new businesses, create 43 new jobs, and generate $1.62 million in loans and investments. Businesses served report $2.9 million increase in revenue. Highline’s economic development initiatives include the Small Business Development Center and StartZone.
Established in 1972, the Highline College Foundation is a nonprofit corporation, governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. As of June 30, 2016, the Foundation’s assets were $4.6 million. The Foundation supports scholarships, emergency assistance to students, faculty professional development and technology. Under the leadership of the Foundation’s president, Mike Slater, and Board of Directors, it is actively expanding its capacity to raise external funds. For the year ending June 30, 2016, it had awarded more than $200,000 in scholarships.
Highline was founded in 1961 as the first community college in King County. It serves approximately 17,000 students and has more than 350,000 alumni. The campus was built in 1964 with additional buildings added in following years to meet student and technology needs.