It is Columbia Basin College’s mission to provide “access to educational programs, workforce development, basic skills, cultural enrichment, and [to promote] physical and emotional well-being” for not only its student body, but the community it serves as well. This community college is committed to the green movement with several endeavors to make the campus a greener environment including raising environmental awareness, promoting energy and water conservation, sponsoring a recycling plan, and becoming a designated “Tree Campus USA”, which are just a few highlights of the campus’ many environmentally friendly accomplishments.
With its main campus in Pasco, Washington, the college has two other campuses in what is known as Tri-Cities, Washington including a campus in Richland and another in Kennewick. Accreditation is granted by the Northwest Association of Colleges and Universities. Founded in 1955, with an enrollment of approximately 8000 students, CBC is a leading agent of community engagement and a model of institutional environmental sustainability in the area.
The Associate in Art (AA) degree and the Associate in Science Transfer (AST) degree are designed to be transferable to a four year institution. Besides AA degrees, Columbia also offers certificates.
Under the Arts and Science Division students can take courses in communication studies, music, visual arts, literature, and theatre arts. This department also houses an Art Center where cultural activities relating to theatre, music and art can be experienced by students and the community alike.
The general education requirements for both the AA and AST degree are similar. Both degree plans require courses in English, math, social/behavioral science, natural science and humanities.
Under the department of Career and Technical Education students can take courses in welding, automotive technology, nuclear technology, and take advantage of apprenticeship opportunities.
As is customary at community colleges, there is an Adult Basic Education (ABE) and English as a Second Language (ESL) program. These classes serve a population of the community that is usually marginalized because of their educational background. As it is the goal of community colleges to give access and opportunity to all and to directly address the needs of the community, programs such as ABE and ESL are absolutely necessary. ABE courses build a solid foundation in math, writing, and reading for adult learners. Similarly, ESL classes serve a similar population and purpose. Individuals that may have what is considered limited English proficiency are encouraged to attend these courses that focus on English conversational, writing, or reading skills. Ultimately, ABE and ESL provide “survival” skills as the workforce is becoming more and more competitive and one’s credentials are becoming more and more important. The ESL and ABE programs act as platforms on which a strong educational foundation can be built.
The agriculture program is also strong. This program primarily focuses on research and development. It also is highly involved in outreach. In fact, there is an AA degree option that is transferable to a four year institution for interested students. In terms of research and development, In fact, there are several farms of approximately 20 acres dedicated to research in agriculture on campus. There is also a greenhouse to test experimental theories in agriculture. The purpose of the research overall is to increase the use of renewable fuel as been advocated by the state of Washington.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Dedicated to being responsive to its community, there are several programs in place that target particular student populations.
WorkFirst is a program that provides assistance to families with financial burdens by helping family members find employment options, build their capacity for better jobs, and help them retain the jobs they may already have.
CAMP stands for the College Assistance Migrant Program and this program provides service to the children of seasonal or migrant workers.
HEP is a program whose target audience is also migrant workers and seasonal farm workers. This program helps them improve their reading, writing, and math skills in preparation of taking the GED.
Running Start is a program for high school students where they can enroll in college level courses while still in high school. Students in this program must be either a high school junior or senior and meet the eligibility requirements.
There is also a program known as the Opportunity Grant. This particular grant waives tuition and pays for books and fees of students who earn below a certain amount in terms of income reported.
BRIDGES is a coordinated effort between CBC and Washington State University Tri-Cities. It is a program that allows students to transfer directly and be accepted at WSU Tri-Cities with junior standing. In this program students meet with an advisor at both schools.
The first step of the admissions process for freshmen applicants is to complete an application for admissions. There is an application fee which can be paid on the web, in person, or over the phone. After completing these two steps, new students are then required to take an assessment test known as the COMPASS test. The deadline to apply for the fall semester is mid August.
Transfer students are required to submit an application as well, pay the application fee, and submit all transcripts from previously attended institutions.
International students are required to submit an international student application, pay the application fee, submit a letter of “financial responsibility” and complete the TOEFL.
CBC offers a few scholarships for qualified students. For this scholarship, students need to complete a separate application.
Federal Financial Aid
Most importantly, to be considered for federal financial aid such as the Pell Grant or Work Study program, students are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, best known as the FAFSA. This application can be obtained online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Information gathered on the FAFSA pertains to your or your legal guardian’s tax returns and income. This information will then be transmitted to your selected school. The school will then present you with what is known as a financial aid award. This award can contain a combination of awards from loans to scholarships.
The fitness center includes cardiovascular and strength training equipment. There are also soccer, baseball, and softball fields on site. Intramural sports are divided into two different categories, off campus and on campus. Off campus activities include bowling and golf. The on campus activities include basketball, flag football, dodgeball, tennis, soccer, and volleyball.
While being physically active is great, being socially active is equally as important. If possible, try to get involved in some of the numerous clubs, such as the Association of Student Nurses, the Creative Writing Club, Japanese Culture Club, Northwest Collegiate Ministry (NCM) and Small World United Club. Also the college offers events such as BBQs, club sponsored events, and performances that all students can participate in.
There is also a Tutor and Writing Center and a Resource Center that students who need additional academic help can visit to receive free tutoring and access to computer labs.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The athletic department fields teams in both women’s and men’s sports. Women participate in basketball, golf, softball, soccer, and volleyball. Men are offered similar choices, including golf, soccer, basketball, and baseball. Teams compete in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges.
Additional School Information
To serve the needs of parents in the community, the college offers a co-op experience where parents learn to care for their children in ways that are more “nurturing” and “stimulating”. It is a cooperative that enhances parenting skills and presents parents with the opportunity to spend more time with their children in a supportive mutual learning environment.
Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.