Running Start

Running Start is a dual credit enrollment program that allows juniors and seniors to earn college credits while completing their high school education.

Students may take one class per quarter or all of their courses on the college campus. Students enroll in college courses at a community college such as Clark College or Lower Columbia. Courses are taught on the community college campus by college faculty. Students earn college and high school credit when they complete the course. The credit and grades students earn will be transcribed on their permanent college transcript.

All of Washington’s public four-year colleges and universities accept Running Start credit.

  • Tuition is paid by the state of Washington
  • Books and transportation are paid by students/families**
  • Class fees are paid by students/families**
  • Transportation is not provided by the school
**Students on Free/reduced lunch program may have fees waived by filling out the required documentation for the college

FAQ

Clark and Lower Columbia College have 3 Quarters: Fall, Winter, Spring

Fall– late September through December

Winter – January through March

Spring – April through June

 

Visit the college’s website to find exact dates.

Please Note: Summer quarter is not covered by Running Start; therefore, students pay tuition for summer. Students will need to obtain an OFFICIAL transcript from their college in order to transfer those credits to their high school transcript.

English and Math Placement for Running Start Students

There are options for students to place into college level courses. Check the link above for placement options. Student scores on the Smarter Balanced Language Arts and Math assessments may be used for placement into college classes. BGPS students may also qualify for a college level course if they have taken Algebra 2 and received a grade of B or better. See math placement chart.

Every 5-credit course at Clark or LCC is equivalent to 1.0 high school credits.  A 3-credit course is equivalent to 0.6 high school credits.

# of high school classes # of College Credits
0 to 1 15
2 12
3 10
4 7
5 4
6 3
Any additional credits need to be paid for by the student/parent. However, students on free or reduced-priced lunch can take additional credits at no additional charge. They will need to provide documentation to the Running Start office.

For example if you’re currently enrolled in 6 high school classes, you can take 3 college credits.

Scheduling: full time vs part time

A student can attend both their district high school and the college or attend full time at the college. Some students may choose to (or need) to take Algebra 2 or World Language class at their high school.

Yes, if you plan to get a Battle Ground School District high school diploma and participate in the graduation ceremony, you will still need to meet all of the graduation requirements of the district. 

Studies and surveys consistently indicate that most students can successfully transfer credits earned through Running Start programs, both in-state and around the country. Parents and students are encouraged to educate themselves about the transferability of college credits to another college. The receiving institution has the right to determine which college credits it will accept. Most Washington colleges have transfer credit equivalencies listed on their “Transfer Credit” webpages to assist students with determining how college credits and exam scores will transfer. 

Unlike students in K-12 schools, Running Start students have a responsibility to request any necessary accommodations from their college directly. The student should contact the college’s disability services office well in advance of any published deadlines to make the request. The college may require documentation in support of a request for accommodations.

For students with an IEP: If Running Start has not previously been contemplated in the formulation of your IEP, parents/students may wish to discuss with their school district whether the IEP should be modified to reflect Running Start enrollment.

A second-year senior may enroll in the Running Start Program if they have been enrolled previously as a junior or a senior but may only take those specific courses needed to meet the school district, charter school or tribal compact school graduation requirements. Additionally, a student enrolled in Running Start for more than one senior school year is limited to 45 total college credits for their senior years. A second-year senior is generally understood as being a student who has failed to meet high school graduation requirements by the end of the student’s 12th grade academic year in accordance with WAC 392-169-055.

Running Start Enrollment Verification Form image

The RSEVF is an OSPI form that must be completed for each student enrolling in Running Start and for each college term. It is a communication tool that outlines how the student’s 1.20 FTE will be split between the high school and the college, provides the free and reduced-price lunch status of a student to the college, informs the high school of the classes the student will be taking at the college, and explains the 1.20 FTE limitation to the student and parents and why tuition may be due to the college. Running Start Enrollment Verification Form

Yes. A RSEVF must be completed prior to the beginning of the Running Start class for each Running Start student including those who attend private schools and are home-based, for each term, and for each college. Completion would include the student, parent, high school, and college signatures. Copies of each student’s completed form should be retained at the high school and college, as well as a copy given to the student.

Yes. If a student changes his high school or college schedule after the RSEVF has been signed, the student should reach out to their high school counselor by email immediately to determine if a new RSEVF needs to be submitted. This informs all parties of the effect the schedule change on the claimable FTE and gives the college the opportunity to contact the parents/student for tuition.

Yes. Running Start students shall pay mandatory fees, including course and placement testing fees, as established by each college, and potentially technology and other fees in accordance with RCW 28B.15.020 and RCW 28B.15.041. Washington colleges and universities must make available fee waivers for low-income Running Start students in accordance with. RCW 28A.600.310(2). 

A Running Start student shall be considered low income and eligible for a fee waiver upon proof that the student is currently qualified to receive free or reduced-price lunch. Acceptable documentation of low-income status may also include: 

  • Student has been deemed eligible for free-reduced-price lunches in the past five years. 
  • Family income is equal to or less than 50 percent of the state median. 
  • Family income is less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level. 
  • Receiving any state or federal assistance funds. 
  • A youth in care.

Consumable supplies, textbooks, and other materials retained by the student “are not within the definition of fees and therefore not subject to the mandatory low-income waiver provisions.” 

Fee Waiver Form for students on the free or reduced lunch program

Running Start Fee Waiver

Running Start students may enroll tuition-free for a maximum of 15 college credits but are limited to a combined 1.20 FTE when enrolled in both high school and Running Start courses. When a Running Start student seeks more credits, colleges should charge appropriate per-credit rates for any credits beyond the 15-credit maximum or beyond 1.20 FTE, up to the maximum credits allowed for all enrolled students by institutional policy.

No. Running Start students who earn an Associate’s degree may request a Washington high school diploma from the college. If a student fails to earn an associate’s degree, he/she/they would need to meet the requirements of the district to be awarded a high school diploma through the district in accordance with RCW 28B.50.535. 

Yes. The community and technical colleges are authorized to issue high school diplomas for Running Start students who enroll in the college and complete an associate of arts degree, associate of science degree, associate of technology degree or an associate in applied science degree. Students must provide a written request to the college registrar’s office or designee to receive a Washington high school diploma from the college in accordance with RCW 28B.50.535.

A Running Start student may request the college-based high school diploma when they apply for graduation with their associate degree or anytime thereafter.

Under federal law, students who attend postsecondary educational institutions hold the confidentiality rights to their education records. They have the right to consent prior to any disclosure of information from education records held by the postsecondary institution. However, an exception to the consent requirement allows the parents of dependent students to review their student’s education records without the consent of the student. Proof of dependency is usually verified via a copy of the most recent year’s federal tax form showing that the parent claims the student as a dependent. Neither the age of the student nor the parent’s status as a custodial parent is relevant. If a student is claimed as a dependent by either parent for tax purposes, then either parent may have access under this provision. In accordance with 34 CFR § 99.31(a)(8).

Yes. Except for intercollegiate sports, Running Start students may participate in any activities on the college/university campus, consistent with the institution’s general requirements for participation in extracurricular activities.

Yes. Running Start students may participate in any high school activities, including sports, consistent with the high school and school district’s own eligibility requirements and Washington Intercollegiate Activities Association (WIAA) handbook. WIAA guidelines allow participation by Running Start students. Students should work with their high school counselor to ensure they are taking the equivalent of a full course load to maintain eligibility with the WIAA.

Public community and technical colleges offer transfer associate degrees that make it easier for students to transfer to a bachelor’s degree program. These are the kinds of transfer associate degrees:

  1. Direct Transfer Agreement Associate Degree
  2. Associate of Science – Transfer Degree 
  3. Major Related Programs

These degrees allow students to meet all or most lower division general education requirements before they transfer. Depending on the degree, they may also meet some lower division requirements for their major.

Once admitted to a bachelor’s degree program, students who complete these transfer degrees can generally expect:

  • 90 transferrable quarter credits
  • Junior class standing

The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges has more information about the kinds of degrees and certificates offered at Washington’s public community and technical colleges. 

Direct Transfer Agreement Associate Degree

Associates in Arts Direct Transfer Agreement Worksheet

Transfer option to four-year institutions:

The DTA degree transfers to all public four-year schools and to many independent colleges in Washington. It includes lower division general education courses required by most schools.

In addition to the state-level agreements, schools may have more requirements. Students who want to transfer should talk to academic advisors at both schools. 

Find the list of schools offering this degree on the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges website. Northwest Indian College also offers the DTA.

Associate of Science – Transfer Degree / A science or engineering transfer degree:

The AS-T is for students who want to earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering or science. Before students transfer, they take lower division major classes and some general education classes. After they transfer, students finish the rest of their general education requirements and upper division major classes. All public four-year schools and many independent colleges accept the AS-T. 

There are two AS-T options:

  • Track 1 agreement for biological sciences, environmental/resource sciences, chemistry, geology, and earth science.
  • Track 2 agreement for engineering, computer science, physics, and atmospheric sciences.

In addition to the state-level agreements, schools may have more requirements. Students who want to transfer should talk to academic advisors at both schools. 

Find the list of schools offering this degree on the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges’ website. Northwest Indian College also offers the AS-T Track 1.

Other Transfer Options

The best way to transfer between colleges is with a transfer associate degree. Schools have processes to support students with these degrees. But there are other ways for students to transfer in Washington State.

Technical or Applied Science Degree

There are two kinds of technical or applied science degrees:

Associate of Applied Science (AAS)

The AAS is for students who want to start a career right after graduation. These degrees include accounting, culinary arts, or automotive technology. Some credits may transfer to a four-year school depending on the type of credits earned. Depending on the school and degree, some four-year schools may accept the entire AAS.

Associate in Applied Science – Transfer Degree (AAS-T)

The AAS-T is also for students who want to start a career right after graduation. But this degree can also transfer to some pre-approved bachelor’s degree programs. It includes at least 20 general education credits that can transfer. Find more information about AAS-T degrees on the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges’ website.

Depending on the degree, students can transfer some or all credits to a four-year school. Students who want to transfer should talk to academic advisors at both schools.

Transferring without a degree

Many students transfer to another college before they finish their associate degree. In these cases, schools transfer credits on a course-by-course basis. There are two ways schools can support students who transfer without a degree. 

Reverse Transfer

Reverse transfer degrees let students transfer credits from a four-year school toward an associate degree at a community or technical college. Students should talk to advisors at both schools to find out if they qualify. All four-year schools, Western Governors University – Washington, and Washington’s community and technical colleges participate in reverse transfer. Find more information on the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges website.

Washington 45

Washington 45 is a list of general education courses. Both community and technical colleges as well as public four-year schools offer these courses. And most four-year schools accept that these courses meet a year’s worth of general education requirements. The largest number of credits that can transfer is 45. 

Student Responsibilities and Agreements:

  • As a participant in the Running Start program, I understand that it is my responsibility to meet all expectations of both the high school and the approved college in which I participate.
  • As a student, I may participate in sports and other activities, provided they meet high school eligibility and WIAA requirements. Athletes need to complete a form to submit to the athletic director at their home high school to ensure they are taking enough classes at their home high school and/or Running Start.
  • As a student, I must not schedule college courses that would conflict with ongoing high school classes.
  • As a student, if I add or drop a course at Clark College I must notify my high school counselor of the change to update my EVF form and check graduation requirements.
  • Students who will request to waive any fitness credit for high school graduation may have take at least 3 credits of Health, HPE, or Physical Education (fitness) at Clark College or LCC.  Students are still responsible for the knowledge portion of physical education through taking the selected state “Classroom Based Assessment” for that graduation requirement.
  • Students who need to pass spring quarter Running Start classes in order to meet their graduation requirements, will not receive their diploma until August.
  • Grades earned in Running Start are calculated into G. P. A. and become part of the permanent high school/college transcript. Failing grades cannot be removed.
  • As a student, I am responsible for obtaining information related to high school events, including graduation.
  • Students are responsible for determining how high school and Running Start courses meet other community college and university requirements and/or prerequisites for transfer or specific programs.
  • As the student, I am responsible for all assigned costs associated with participation in Running Start, including books and fees.

Responsibilities of Parents

  • Attend the orientation meeting with your student at Clark College or Lower Columbia College.
  • Check in with your student that they have completed the EVF form with their high school counselor and turned it into the College.
  • Get familiar with the resources on this page, graduation requirements, transfer agreements, etc.
  • Colleges do not have the same requirements as the high schools do as far as communication about class performance or grades with parents.  Students must do their own communication with college instructors.  To help your student with this, ask your student to share their college grades with you and facilitate the best way to approach the professor for a solution if a problem arises.

Deadlines

After registering for classes, you must contact your counselor promptly to have your Enrollment Verification Form (EVF) signed. You will fill out an EVF for EACH QUARTER you take at the college. Check with each college for the deadline to submit your EVF. Deadlines are usually the:

Fall Deadline for Winter Quarter: End of November

Winter Deadline for Spring Quarter: End of February

Spring Deadline for Fall Quarter: End of May

Counselors are NOT responsible for dropped classes at the college because you did not have your EVF signed and sent to the College by the deadline.


Timeline for New Running Start Students

February: Visit Clark’s Running Start information page. It is important to follow each step under “new student”.

March / April: Students will need to sign-up for a mandatory orientation at Clark College in April/May and meet with an advisor. Please visit the Clark College website for more details.

March / April / May:  Students will submit their Enrollment Verification Form to their high school counselor after registering for classes. Please list your scheduled classes on the EVF before submitting for signature. Student is responsible for getting their EVF to Clark. Submit to enroll@clark.edu or Lower Columbia College – runningstart@lowercolumbia.edu

Deadline to submit your EVF:  In order to ensure that there are counselors available to sign off and review classes registered for Fall quarter, students should submit their EVF by the end of May to your high school counselor.

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