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Running Start

The Running Start program was enacted by the Washington State Legislature in 1990 to allow 11th or 12th grade students to enroll in courses at local community or technical colleges. The cost for the Running Start program, including tuition costs for participating students, is deducted from high school funding by the State and forwarded to local community colleges and technical schools. Students are responsible for books, supplies, lab and parking fees, and transportation. 

To qualify for the Running Start program a student must demonstrate skills that allow him/her to be successful in college level classes. Students interested in taking classes at the Community College through Running Start must take the Compass Test and score at college level in Reading, Writing and/or Math.

Once a student qualifies for Running Start s/he makes a decision about how many classes will be taken at the college and how many will be taken at high school. Courses taken at the community or technical college are counted toward high school graduation requirements. Students may construct a schedule that meets their individual needs. A release form must be completed by the high school counselor and turned in at the community college before the student registers for college classes.

Deadlines for the Running Start program are strictly enforced. Check with your high school counselor or the college you attend for specific dates.

Community college credits earned are transferable to public colleges and universities in the state. Policies of state independent universities vary, from Seattle University’s policy that essentially reflects the policy of the public universities, to University of Puget Sound’s policy that will not assign college credit to any course which may have been available to students at their high school. For example, if a student takes Math 102 (Pre-Calculus) through Running Start, UPS will not award college credit because other students from the same high school may have taken Pre-Calculus at the high school. Out-of-state universities’ policies also vary.

Running Start students are responsible for having a college transcript forwarded to their high school at the end of each college quarter. A five-credit college course equals 1.0 high school credit with a three-credit course equaling 0.6 high school credit. Each one credit at the college level equals 0.2 credit at the high school level.

Running Start grades are posted to the high school transcript using the Bethel School District grading scale. A five credit college course will have the same effect on a student’s cumulative grade point average as a 1.0 credit high school course.

Students who wish to drop a Running Start class will need to notify their high school counselor and the Running Start coordinator.

Interested in Running Start? Contact your counselor for program requirements and more information.