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Highline College | Field Guide 2022

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Highline College was founded in 1961 as King County’s first community college. Highline offers a vibrant and diverse learning environment with over 100 degrees and certificates, including seven applied bachelor’s degrees within eight degree pathways. With about 70% students of color and people representing more than 120 cultures, Highline is the state’s most diverse higher education institution.

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Key Facts

Highest Enrolled Programs

  • Academic Transfer
  • Nursing/Health Occupations
  • Physical and Life Sciences
  • Business/Accounting
  • Early Childhood Education


  • Headcount (all sources): 13,139
  • FTES (all sources): 6,674
  • Headcount (state-funded): 10,652
  • FTES (state-funded): 5,010

Students in Selected Programs

  • Applied bachelor's: 489
  • Apprentices: 2
  • I-BEST: 244
  • International: 378
  • Running Start: 1,437
  • Worker Retraining: 453

Student Profile

Type of Student

  • Academic/transfer: 45%
  • Basic skills: 29%
  • Other: 4%
  • Workforce education: 22%


  • American Indian/Alaska Native: 2%
  • Asian: 24%
  • Black/African American: 25%
  • Hispanic/Latino: 22%
  • Pacific Islander: 3%
  • White: 30%


  • Full-time: 38%
  • Part-time: 62%

Family and Finances

  • Students receiving need-based financial aid: 26%
  • Students with dependents: 46%


  • Female: 65%
  • Male: 35%

Median age


Points of Interest

Celebrating 60 years in higher education

The 2021-22 academic year marks Highline College’s 60th anniversary as a community college. From its humble beginnings at a high school campus in 1961 to an expanding presence in the community on top of an 80 acre college campus in 2021, Highline College has seen its fair share of change in the last 60 years. Its first 385 students have now grown to more than 350,000 alumni. Programs and careers students pursue have evolved as well as the types of degrees Highline offers, which include more than 120 different certificates, associate and Bachelor of Applied Science degrees.

Highline receives Dept. of Education Title III grant

The US Department of Education recently awarded Highline a five-year, $2.2 million Title III A Strengthening Institutions Program grant to expand the college’s capacity to serve low-income students. The institution-wide grant will be used to reduce student equity gaps, improve completion and retention rates, increase student advising, and expand professional development for faculty and staff. 

Contributing to the area’s economic development

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 2020, Highline provided 1,170 hours of service to more than 379 clients and helped launch 14 new businesses, 797 jobs supported, and generate $11.735 million in loans, grants and investments. Businesses Highline served reported a $3.438 million increase in revenue. Highline’s economic development initiatives include the Small Business Development Center and StartZone.

Data is from the 2020-21 academic year. Reflects headcount unless otherwise noted.

*May not add up to 100% because students may be counted in more than one race. Percentages calculated on reported value.


Dr. John R. Mosby


  • Sharmila Swenson, chair
  • Joseph S. Bowman IV, vice chair
  • Sili Savusa
  • Travis Exstrom

Year Founded


Service Area

Southwest King County

Legislative Districts

11, 30, 33, 34, 47

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Last Modified: 2/17/23, 11:41 AM

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