The diversity of students at Pierce College Puyallup continues to steadily increase.
“When I think about diversity at this campus, anyone at all should be able to walk through our doors and feel valued and feel like they’re a part of this college community,” Pierce College Puyallup President Marty Cavalluzzi said. “There’s all kinds. There’s gender, age, race, ethnicity and socioeconomic (level). There’s broad categories that we always do, and then there’s just diversity of thought, which for me is just every single person.”
One broad category that’s continuing to gain in admissions and enrollment is the students in the Running Start program. This program gives high school students the opportunity to complete both high school and college classes while still enrolled in high school.
“Talking about changing demographics, one I think is really changing is Running Start; it’s increased,” Cavalluzzi said. “We have 100 more Running Start students than we had last year at this time and more than the year before that. Every year it’s going to grow.”
According to the District Enrollment Overview Report, 639 Running Start students are enrolled at the Puyallup campus and 182 Running Start students are enrolled at the Fort Steilacoom campus.
Another broad category that’s growing is the age range of students enrolled in classes. It’s no longer the straight-from-high school student.
“We have a full range. I think last year, the youngest student to get an associate’s degree was 17 and the oldest was 67 or 77,” Cavalluzzi said.
Pierce College hosts more international students each year. Currently, the Puyallup campus has 14 international students and the Pierce College District has 48 international students.
“Our doors are open to everyone. We market everywhere,” Cavalluzzi said. “We just hired a director for international programs and her job will be to make sure that if any international students want to come here, it’s a good fit for them and we can serve their needs.”
Pierce College is working toward increasing student success by looking at the varying demographics of the college.
This is done through the national program Achieving the Dream, which examines student success by breaking students into multiple categories including age, gender and ethnicity.
“A lot of it is just outreach and making sure people know that they’re wanted. We want them here and we want them to pursue their goals,” Cavalluzzi said.
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