Polk State College has served the higher education needs of Polk County for more than 50 years.
In 1964, the College opened its doors at a temporary location on the Bartow Air Base. Enrollment in that first year reached 1,107, and the College's faculty numbered 33.
Over the years, the College has experienced dramatic growth and change. Today, we have over 130 full-time faculty members teach more than 12,000 credit- and 9,000 non-credit-seeking students in locations throughout Polk County, including campuses in Lakeland and Winter Haven, the Polk State Airside Center south of Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, the Polk State JD Alexander Center in Lake Wales, the Polk State Lake Wales Art Center, the Polk State Clear Springs Advanced Technology Center in Bartow, and the Center for Public Safety in Winter Haven.
Since 1964, Polk State College has awarded over 35,000 degrees. Approximately 70 percent of Polk State graduates earn the Associate in Arts (AA) degree. Because Polk State's courses are parallel and equal to courses offered by the State University System, AA graduates seamlessly transfer to state universities.
In addition to the AA, Polk State offers numerous Associate in Science degree programs that are designed to lead directly to employment opportunities, as well as further education in bachelor's degree programs. In 2009, the College changed its name to Polk State to reflect the creation of its first bachelor's degree program. Polk State College currently offers bachelor degrees in Supervision and Management, Nursing, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, and Aerospace.
For all the growth and change it has known in its more than 50-year history, Polk State College has remained committed to serving the community's higher-education needs.
Promote excellence and student success through innovation, community impact, and engagement.
Polk State College, a quality-driven institution, transforms students' lives through the power of education by providing access to affordable associate and baccalaureate degrees, career certificates, and workforce employment programs delivered by qualified, diverse faculty and staff.
Polk State College's Core Values are Diversity, Integrity, Knowledge, Leadership, and Service.
Where to Begin
This catalog contains a wealth of information, but for even more details, students should visit polk.edu. The website provides information about admission requirements, student services, the student registration process (in PASSPORT), faculty members, clubs, athletics, and student activities, as well as campus maps and much more.
The online catalog is viewable on mobile devices, and is complete with search features that allow students to find information relevant to their questions. The online catalog is divided into sections of related information about regulations, admission, advising and registration policies, financial aid and scholarships, programs of study, courses and more.
It is strongly recommended that new students follow the Admission Steps to Polk State found on our website. It contains practical step-by-step instructions for admission.
Polk State College has locations across Polk County, including full-service campuses in Winter Haven and Lakeland, the Polk State Airside Center south of Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, the Polk State JD Alexander Center in Lake Wales, the Polk State Lake Wales Arts Center, and the Polk State Clear Springs Advanced Technology Center in Bartow and the Center for Public Safety in Winter Haven.
The Winter Haven campus, overlooking Lake Elbert, was established in 1968 and houses both academic and district administrative functions.
The Lakeland campus, established in 1988, is located on Winter Lake Road in South Lakeland. The campus includes three academic buildings and a maintenance building.
The Polk State Airside Center, south of Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, is home to the College's medical imaging programs - Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Cardiovascular Technology, and Radiography - as well as the Aerospace program.
The Polk State JD Alexander Center, located on Central Avenue in downtown Lake Wales, offers a wide variety of general education and elective classes that lead to both Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees.
The Polk State Lake Wales Arts Center, located on State Road 60, offers credit and non-credit fine arts courses, as well as gallery exhibits, concerts, and theatrical performances that are open to the public.
The Polk State Clear Springs Advanced Technology Center, located on State Road 60 in Bartow, is home to the Polk State Corporate College, as well as high-tech degree programs.
The Center for Public Safety is off Hwy 540 and is a new state-of-the-art training center for our public safety programs.
Polk State College is committed to the "one college" concept, with uniform requirements and rules at all its locations. However, some activities, such as athletics, music, and drama, are available only on the Winter Haven or Lakeland campuses.
Polk State College Foundation
The Polk State College Foundation, Inc. (Foundation) is a tax-exempt corporation with the purpose of providing Polk State College with resources for the advancement of the College, its students, faculty, staff, and other constituencies in fulfillment of the College's mission. More information about the Foundation can be found on the Foundation website and in the Resources and Activities section of this catalog.
Equal Access /Equal Opportunity
Polk State College is an equal access/equal opportunity institution committed to excellence through diversity in education and employment. The College complies with all state and federal laws granting rights to students, employees, and applicants for employment or admission to the College.
The following is our continuous non-discrimination statement:
Polk State College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status, genetic information, disability, or pregnancy in its programs, activities, or employment. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies:
Director, Equity & Diversity (Title IX Coordinator)
999 Avenue H NE
Winter Haven, FL 33881-4299
Office: WAD 227
863.292.3602 Ext. 5378
Equal Opportunity for Students with Disabilities
Polk State College adheres to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. All services, degree programs, and classes are open to eligible students with disabilities. Reasonable accommodations are provided, based on individual needs. Students with documented disabilities may be eligible for extended testing time, special computer equipment, tutoring, recorded texts, note-taker services, interpreters, course substitutions, and other necessary and reasonable accommodations to ensure equal access.
Note: Limited admission programs may have performance restrictions that apply. Restrictions (where applicable) are outlined in each program's student handbook. For more information see the Resources and Activities section.
Student Grievances and Rights
Polk State College provides students with clear instructions on their rights as students and grievance procedures. This information can be found in the catalog under the Student Bill of Rights section. Information about filing grievances to the state of Florida can be found on the Florida College System website here.
Security and Safety
Polk State College continually strives to provide students, faculty, staff, and visitors with a safe and secure environment. Security officers are on duty 24 hours a day and continually patrol the College's campuses and centers. To reach a security officer, dial 5059 from a College phone, 863.297.1059 from a non-College phone, or use the emergency phone stations located on campus.
The Annual Security Report is available at polk.edu on the Safety and Security page. Students may receive a hard copy of the Annual Security Report from the Safety/Security Department on the Winter Haven and Lakeland campuses. Copies may also be mailed upon request.
The website and report contain information regarding campus security and personal safety, including crime prevention, crime-reporting policies, disciplinary procedures, and the enforcement authority of Polk State's security officers. In addition, the Annual Security Report contains three years of crime statistics, including crimes reported on campus, in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by Polk State, and on public property within, immediately adjacent to, and accessible from the campus.
With security and safety in mind, all Polk State College employees are fingerprinted and are subject to a criminal background check. Employees who appear to pose a significant security risk shall be terminated.
Polk State College provides parking at all facilities for its students, faculty, and staff. Restricted-area parking is controlled on all campuses through parking tags or decals issued to faculty and staff members. Students are not issued parking tags or decals. General parking areas are provided for students. Students with exceptional needs should visit the Student Services Office for additional consideration. The College does ticket vehicles that are parked in violation of the designated/restricted areas on each campus.
The parking restrictions are as follows:
- Lakeland Campus: Areas identified by signage and yellow lines are restricted to faculty and staff, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The President's parking space is reserved at all times.
- Winter Haven Campus: Areas identified by signage and yellow lines are restricted to faculty and staff, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The President's parking space is reserved at all times.
Polk State College provides handicapped parking spaces for those with proper vehicle identification.
Students ticketed for violating parking regulations are fined in accordance with Polk State College Board Rule 2.18. Fines can be paid to the Cashier on either campus. Unpaid parking fines shall prohibit the student from obtaining a transcript.
Student Fingerprinting Policy
All students completing any level of school-based field experience or observation must be fingerprinted before entering a public or private K-12 classroom. This policy includes students taking lower-division prerequisite courses, such as Introduction to Education (EDF 1005) and Teaching Diverse Populations (EDF 2085). For Polk County public K-12 classrooms, students are fingerprinted by the Polk County School Board. There is a fee for this service. It is the student's responsibility, not the College's, to pay this fee. Students who are completing field experience at an accredited private school must follow the fingerprinting procedure established by that institution.
Fingerprinting and background checks are required for students in selected programs. Specific information relating to such requirements is available in the specific program section of the catalog.
A vast array of information about Polk State College is available at polk.edu. The website contains information and facts about Polk State College, including program information, the College Calendar, course descriptions, and detailed instructions about application and registration. College news, event schedules, campus locations and maps, and information about various departments can also be found on the website.
The Polk State College website provides links to many resources, including the library's electronic catalogs, databases, and research tools; financial aid; the bookstore; Windows Live for student-assigned Polk State College e-mail accounts; PAL (Polk Access to Learning) for online instruction; and PASSPORT to register, change classes, pay tuition, view transcripts and degree audits, and change personal information. Additionally, students attending online@PolkState courses can find information about their Internet courses, hybrid courses, and other distance education information though the College website at online@PolkState. Students can also find phone numbers and e-mail addresses for their instructors.