The Washington State Legislature established Running Start as an option to offer high school students more choices to complete their high school education. The Running Start program offers academically qualified high school juniors and seniors enrolled in public high schools the opportunity to earn college and high school credit simultaneously. Students interested in Running Start may learn more about the program by reading this website or attending an information session and determine if it would be a good fit.
Green River's Running Start program at a glance:
- 1,500 students participate from over 30 high schools across 15 school districts.
- Average GPA of a Running Start student is 3.0.
- Mixture of students who are enrolled full-time and part-time at Green River.
- Students pursue both transfer and career/technical education programs.
- Students participate in campus activities and leadership.
To participate in Running Start at Green River, students must:
- Be enrolled through a public high school district. Students who are home schooled or attend a private school are encouraged to contact their local public school district for instructions on their enrollment procedures.
- Be a high school junior or senior, according to grade level placement policies of the district the student is enrolled through.
- Be at least 16 years old upon admission to the program, or turn 16 during the first quarter of enrollment in Running Start.
- Meet minimum placement requirements (ENGL& 101), see below for more information.
Students must be eligible for Engl& 101 to participate in the program. Most students complete an assessment to demonstrate they are prepared for college-level coursework. Green River uses a placement tool called the COMPASS, which assesses reading and math skills. COMPASS placement also helps guide students in their decisions about which classes to take.
Students may use alternative placement methods if they believe COMPASS scores do not accurately reflect ability/skill level. These alternative methods including high school or college transcripts, AP or IB test scores, SBAC scores, math entrance exam (WAMAP), and placement reciprocity. See our placement website for more information on alternative placement methods. Most students generally use COMPASS to demonstrate eligibility for Engl& 101.
There is no required math placement for students to be able to participate in Running Start. However, students are strongly encouraged to continue math courses even if they have met their high school's math requirement for graduation. Stopping out of a math sequence can make it difficult later on to continue with the next level of math. Students may complete math at the high school or decide to take math at Green River; either way, it is a good idea to do so.
Benefits & Challenges
Benefits of participating in Running Start:
- Potential savings of up to 15 tuition-free college credits per quarter.
- Earn high school and college credit simultaneously, with the potential to earn both an associate degree and high school diploma.
- Complete academically challenging college coursework.
- Larger selection of classes and schedule flexibility.
- Ease into becoming a college student by taking classes while still living at home, with support from family and friends.
- Experience a diverse college campus and meet people from different backgrounds.
- Access to campus resources such as tutoring, library, and gym.
- Join student clubs/organizations or participate in student government and leadership (with the exception of intercollegiate athletics).
Challenges of participating in Running Start:
- Running Start is not entirely free; students are responsible for fees, textbooks, supplies, and transportation. Students may qualify for fee waiver and book loan assistance.
- Classes are more rigorous and move at a faster pace.
- Grades receieved during Running Start become part of student's permanent transcript.
- Different academic calendar/schedule from high school.
- Students are responsible for knowing their academic standing and registration status.
- Students are responsible for taking initiative to access resources such as tutoring and advising services.
- Communication between college staff and parents/family is limited (per FERPA regulations).
What does Running Start Cost?
The Running Start program covers up to 15 credits of tuition for college-level courses (courses numbered 100 or above), depending on the number of classes taken at the high school. However, there are other costs that Running Start does not pay for:
- Assessment Fees: COMPASS is $20.
- Textbooks and supplies: Costs will vary depending on required textbooks and supplies required for each class (average cost of books and supplies for a full-time student is $300 per quarter).
- Quarterly student-voted fees: These include facilities fee, technology fee, student center fee, and special services fee.
- Class fees: Cost varies per quarter according to enrollment; see quarterly class schedule for details.
Running Start students may choose to enroll in developmental classes that are below college-level (any course that begins with the number ‘0' or ENGL 100 or READ 104). Enrollment in these courses is separate from the Running Start program and students are responsible for full tuition for those courses. For example, if a student enrolls in Math 097, the student will be charged tuition for the class according to their residency and the per-credit rate applied for credits between 1 and 10 (See Tuition and Fees). Additionally, Running Start students who enroll in more than 15 credits will be charged tuition for the 16th credit and beyond.
Note: All tuition and fees are subject to change.
Fee Waiver and Book Loan Program
Running Start students can take advantage of the Fee Waiver and Book Loan Program which assists students with waiving the cost of quarterly student-voted fees as well as allows students to loan required textbooks for classes (if available).
- You are eligible for the Free or Reduced Lunch program in the district you are enrolled through. OR
- You are a foster youth. OR
- Your family falls within the "income cutoff chart" established by the state in awarding state need grants (SNG) as noted below:
|2015-2016 SNG Program
(rounded to nearest $500)
|Family Size||Gross Income|
*If your family size is more than 10, please ask staff for expanded list.
In order to participate in the Book Loan Program, you must agree to the following terms:
- You may NOT sell Running Start textbooks back to the Bookstore.
- You will be held accountable for the condition of textbooks. The expectation is the textbooks will be returned in good condition (e.g. the cover is intact, all pages are accounted for, it is not written in or excessively highlighted, etc.).
- Books are not guaranteed every quarter and are available on a first come, first serve basis.
- You will submit an application for the Book Loan Program at the beginning of each academic year you are enrolled in the Running Start Program and wish to borrow books.
- You will return Running Start textbooks no later than the last day of the quarter.
- You are responsible for verifying which textbooks are required.
- Book loan is on a first come, first serve basis depending upon availability. Eligibility does not guarantee we have all required textbooks.
- Fee waiver applies to student-voted fees only. Class fees cannot be waived and tuition for classes below college-level are not covered through the fee waiver.
Applying for the Fee Waiver and Book Loan Program:
- Complete the Fee Waiver and Book Loan Program Application (PDF) and submit form to the Running Start Office located in SA 126.
- Applications must be submitted no later than the Friday before the start of the quarter starts to the Running Start Office. Only one application is required for the duration of your time in the Running Start program at Green River (cannot retroactively cover fees from previous quarters).
- You will receive an email after your application has been processed.
Steps to Apply
1) Apply for Admission to Green River College
Apply for admission to Green River College online. It is ideal to apply at least a few days prior to taking the COMPASS to allow time for your application to process and receieve your student ID number before your test.
2) Determine Eligibility
To be eligible for Running Start, you must place into ENGL& 101. Visit our placement website for more information on placement options which include COMPASS, high school transcripts, SBAC scores, or placement reciprocity. Most students take the COMPASS to determine eligibility:
- Visit the testing website for locations and hours of operation for the Assesment & Testing Center.
- It is strongly recommended to pratice prior to testing; see COMPASS sample questions.
- Bring photo ID and your Green River student ID number when you are ready to test. The COMPASS costs $20.
- The test is untimed and takes about 2 hours on average. You will recieve your scores after finishing the test.
- Retakes are limited. See Assessment & Testing for more information on test retakes.
3) Obtain Running Start Enrollment Verification Form
You must complete the Enrollment Verification Form (PDF) with your high school counselor and parent or guardian. The EVF releases you from your high school so you can attend Green River and indicates the number of credits you are eligible to take each quarter. This form must be turned in each quarter in order to participate in Running Start.
Home Schooled students: All home schooled students must contact their local high school district to seek instructions on enrollment procedures, which may differ by district. All students must turn in the EVF each quarter with thier parents or guardians signature.
4) Submit Running Start Enrollment Verification Form
Submit your completed EVF to the Career & Advising Center (SA 126), Welcome Center, or to the Kent or Enumclaw campuses. Upon submission of your paperwork, you will sign up to attend a mandatory Running Start Registration and Orientation session.
5) Attend a Running Start Registration & Orientation Session
All students must attend a Running Start Registration and Orientation session. During this session you will learn about the Running Start program, your responsibilities as a college student, student resources, and you may register for classes.
Dates & Deadlines
November 23, 2015
December 28, 2015
February 22, 2016
March 21, 2016
May 16, 2016
September 12, 2016
If you would like more information about the Running Start program at Green River sign up to attend an information session to learn about the benefits, challenges, eligibility requirements and more.