Jul 18, 2024  
Catalog/Handbook 2021-2022 
Catalog/Handbook 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

About Polk State College



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, Polk State College has over 180 full-time faculty members who teach more than 16,000 credit- and 10,000 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 Clear Springs Advanced Technology Center in Bartow, and the Center for Public Safety in Winter Haven.

Since 1964, Polk State College has awarded over 55,000 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 baccalaureate degree programs. In 2009, the institution changed its name to Polk State College to reflect the creation of its first baccalaureate degree program. Polk State College currently offers baccalaureate degrees in Supervision and Management, Nursing, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, and Aerospace Sciences.

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.


Polk State College will be the first choice for higher education in Polk County.


Polk State College, a quality-driven institution serving Polk County and beyond, transforms students’ lives through the power of teaching and lifelong learning by providing access to affordable associate and baccalaureate degrees, career certificates, and workforce employment programs delivered through various modalities and innovative technologies, and by diverse, qualified faculty and staff.

Core Values

  • Service
  • Integrity
  • Knowledge
  • Diversity
  • Leadership

Where to Begin

This Catalog contains a wealth of information; even more details on specific topics can be found on the College’s website (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 provide targeted information to 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.

Polk State strongly encourages new students to follow the Admission Steps to Polk State found on the College website. This list contains practical step-by-step instructions for admission.

Accessing Polk State Archived Catalogs

Digital catalog archives are available from Academic Year 2010-2011 forward; these can be accessed by using the Catalog drop-down window. Older printed catalogs are available in the College’s libraries, or these can be requested by contacting registrar@polk.edu


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 Clear Springs Advanced Technology Center in Bartow, and the Center for Public Safety in Winter Haven.

The Winter Haven Campus, overlooking Lake Elbert and, established in 1968, houses both academic and district-level administrative functions.

The Lakeland Campus, established in 1988, is located on Winter Lake Road in South Lakeland. The campus includes three academic buildings.

The Polk State Airside Center, south of Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, is home to the College’s medical imaging programs (i.e., Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Cardiovascular Technology, and Radiography) and the Aerospace Sciences 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 Clear Springs Advanced Technology Center, located on State Road 60 in Bartow, is home to the Polk State Corporate College, as well as several high-tech degree programs.  

The Center for Public Safety, located off Highway 540, is a state-of-the-art training center for the College’s 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 and 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 Polk State College’s continuous non-discrimination statement:

Polk State College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender transition, 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 non-discrimination policies:

Lonnie Thompson
Chief Diversity Officer of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Title IX Coordinator
999 Avenue H, N.E.
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. Information about restrictions and accommodations can be found in the Resources and Activities section of this Catalog.

Student Grievances and Rights

Polk State College provides clear instructions for students regarding their rights and the College’s grievance procedures. This information can be found in this 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.

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, individuals can 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. A hard copy of the Annual Security Report is available 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, within certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by Polk State, as well as on public property within, immediately adjacent to, or 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 are found to pose a significant security risk are 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. General parking areas are provided, and students are not issued parking tags or decals. A student 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 and 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 from Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 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 from Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 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.

A student ticketed for violating parking regulations is fined in accordance with Polk State College District Board of Trustees Rule 2.18: Campus Parking Policy.  Fines can be paid to the Cashier on either campus. Unpaid parking fines prohibit the student from obtaining a transcript.

Student Fingerprinting Policy

A student 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 individuals taking lower-division prerequisite courses, such as Introduction to the Teaching Profession (EDF 1005) and Introduction to Diversity for Educators (EDF 2085). For Polk County public K-12 classrooms, each student must be fingerprinted by the Polk County School Board. It is the student’s responsibility, not the College’s, to pay the fee for this service. Any student who is completing field experiences at an accredited private school must follow the fingerprinting procedure established by the specific institution.

Fingerprinting and background checks are required for students in selected programs; details are located in the specific program’s section of this Catalog.


A vast array of information about Polk State College is available through the College’s website (polk.edu),  including program information, the Academic 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 (i.e., for student-assigned Polk State College email accounts); Canvas (i.e., for online instruction); and PASSPORT (i.e., to register, change classes, pay tuition, view transcripts and degree audits, and change personal information). Additionally, information about online courses, hybrid courses, and other distance-education tools can be found on the College website at online@PolkState. The website also provides a directory of staff and instructor phone numbers and e-mail addresses.