Running Start

Prospective Students

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 take college classes while earning credit for high school. Students may take classes at any one of the three Green River campuses or online. Students interested in Running Start may learn more about the program by reading this website or attending an information session on campus.

Green River's Running Start Program at a glance:

  • 1,600+ students participate from over 40 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 have the option to earn their high school diploma from Green River by completing any associate degree.
  • Students pursue both transfer and career and technical education programs.
  • Students participate in campus activities and leadership.


Eligibility Criteria

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, see below for more information.

English Placement

Students must be eligible for Engl& 101 to participate in Running Start. Most students complete an assessment to demonstrate they are prepared for college-level coursework. Green River uses a placement tool called the College Success Assessment, which assesses reading and math skills. College Success Assessment placement also helps guide students in their decisions about which classes to take. 

Students may use alternative placement methods if they believe their placement scores do not accurately reflect their ability or skill levels. These alternative methods include high school or college transcripts, AP or IB test scores, Smarter Balanced Assessment scores and placement reciprocity. See our placement website for more information on alternative placement methods. Most students generally use College Success Assessment to demonstrate eligibility for Engl& 101.

Math Placement

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 recommended students continue with math. Students may use any method of placement on our placement website for math.

Benefits and Considerations

Benefits of participating in Running Start:

  • Students and families can register for up to 15 tuition-free college credits per quarter based on high school enrollment.
  • Earn high school and college credit simultaneously.
  • With careful planning, students can earn an associate degree along with their high school diploma.
  • Experience the rigor of college-level coursework and increased personal responsibility.
  • Wide variety of classes and degree options.
  • Flexible class schedule (day, afternoon, evening, hybrid, and online course options) at multiple campus locations (Auburn, Kent, and Enumclaw).
  • Small class sizes (average class size is 32 students).
  • Participate in college activities and leadership opportunities, with the exception of intercollegiate athletics.

Challenges of participating in Running Start:

  • Running Start is not entirely free. The average quarterly cost for a full-time Running Start student is approximately $200 in fees per quarter. Textbooks can range from $100-300+ per quarter. We have a Fee Waiver & Book Loan Program to students who qualify, which can reduce the cost of attendance.
  • Classes move at a faster pace than high school; a year-long high school course is condensed into an 11 week quarter.
  • Green River has a different break schedule than high school. Students are responsible for planning their schedules accordingly.
  • Parent/guardian access to student records is limited. The College must abide by strict privacy rules. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student educational records without student written permission. We provide all Running Start students an opporunity to complete a Release of Information form.
  • College is an adult learning environment. Courses may cover controversial issues.
  • Students must arrange their own transportation to and from campus; parking is free.

How College is Different from High School


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:

  • 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 $100-300 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 (courses that begin with the number ‘0' 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 one and ten (see Tuition and Fees). Additionally, Running Start students who enroll in more than 15 credits will be charged tuition for the sixteenth credit and beyond.

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 allowing students to loan required textbooks for classes if they are available. 

Eligibility Criteria:

  • You are eligible for the Free or Reduced Lunch program in the high school district you are enrolled through. OR
  • You are a foster youth. OR
  • Your family income falls within the income chart established by the state in awarding the State Need Grant (SNG) as noted below:
2016-2017 SNG Program

(rounded to nearest $500)
Family Size Gross Income
1     22,000
2     29,000
3     35,500
4     42,500
5     49,500
6     56,000
7     57,500
8     58,500
9     60,000
*10     61,000

*If your family size is more than ten, please contact the Running Start Office for eligibility information.

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).
  • 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.

Additional Information:

  • 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 program.

Applying for the Fee Waiver and Book Loan Program:

  • Complete the Fee Waiver and Book Loan Program Application 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. Applying for the Fee Waiver and Book Loan Program cannot retroactively cover fees owed from quarter prior to application.
  • You will receive an email after your application has been processed.

Getting Started


  • Apply for admission to Green River College online at:
  • Activate your required student email account at: All Green River communication will be sent to your Green River Student email account.
  • Questions about applying? Contact Enrollment Services at (253) 833-9111 ext. 2500 or

Determine Eligibility

  • To be eligible for Running Start, you must place into ENGL& 101. Students who plan to take math courses or courses with math prerequisites must show eligibility for college-level math. Visit our placement website for more information on placement options, testing policies, and practice tests.
  • English eligibility is determined by the College Success Assessment. Math eligibility is determined by WAMAP exam. Each assessment is $10.
  • Visit the testing website for locations and hours of operation for the Assesment and Testing Center. Appointments are not needed for testing. Allow up to 1-2 hours for testing. You will receieve your score once you complete your test.
  • Bring photo ID and your Green River student ID number when you are ready to test.
  • To utilize your transcript or test score as means of placement, bring a copy of your transcript or scores to the Welcome Center to meet with a Getting Started Specialist to verify English and/or math eligibility.

Obtain Running Start Enrollment Verification Form

  • Take proof of eligibility for ENGL& 101 to your high school counselor (or district office for home-schooled and private school students) and obtain your Running Start Enrollment Verification Form (EVF).
  • 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 a completed EVF with student ID number, student signature, and parent or guardians' signature.

Submit Running Start Enrollment Verification Form

Email your completed EVF to Retain the original copy for your records. Make sure your EVF is completely filled out. It is important it includes your Green River student ID number, a valid and legibl email address and phone number, and is signed by your high school counselor (or school district official), you, and your parent/guardian.

Complete Orientation and Registration

Students who have submitted their EVF will receive an email with instructions on how to complete an online Running Start pre-orientation to learn about Running Start and Green River policies. Once the student completes the pre-orientation, they will be scheduled an appointment for an in-person Running Start Registration, Advising, and Planning session where students will register for classes. Both sessions are mandatory for participation in Running Start at Green River.

New Student Registration Dates & Deadlines

Below are important registration dates for upcoming quarters.


Registration Opens

Registration Deadline

Winter 2017

November 21, 2016 December 28, 2016

Spring 2017

Februrary 21, 2017 March 27, 2017

Fall 2017

May 15, 2017

September TBD, 2017


Information Sessions

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.

Sign Up