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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Running Start?

Running Start is a legislated educational partnership between Washington state community and technical colleges, several Washington universities and Washington high schools that expands educational options for high school students. It allows juniors and seniors in high school to take college level courses. Students receive both high school and college credit for completed classes. The high school determines how college classes and credits apply toward high school graduation requirements. Students may enroll simultaneously in high school and college or they may enroll solely in college classes.

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Who Qualifies for Running Start?

Students must be an enrolled junior or senior in a public Washington state high school, or in a public Washington School District and not have earned a high school diploma. Students must have a 2.25 GPA on an accredited high school transcript in order to qualify for Running Start. If a student does not have an accredited high school transcript, the student must score into college level Writing and Reading on the COMPASS test (English 101 and Reading 107) and Math 97 or 100.

Can a Running Start student attend high school and college full-time?

Students who stay at or below the 1.2 FTE (Full-Time Equivalency) of a combined high school/college schedule may attend Running Start tuition-free. Students who choose to enroll above the 1.2 FTE will pay per-credit college tuition for every credit in excess of the combined limit.

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What does Running Start Cost?

Running Start covers the cost of tuition for college level classes up to 15 college-level credits per quarter. College level classes have a number of 100 or higher (Example: Psychology 100). Classes taken which are under college level (under #100 – Example, Math 99) are to be paid by the student at regular college tuition rate. If credits exceed the allowable 15 credits, or the allowable 1.2 FTE if enrolled in both high school and college, the student will be charged at the regular college tuition rate (1-10 credits rate.) Students are responsible to pay for all fees, books, supplies, and other materials required for the class. Running Start students who qualify for free or reduced lunches in their school districts may show proof of eligibility and may be exempted from the fees attached to the courses covered by Running Start.

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How many credits are awarded towards high School Credits?

Five (5) College credits are equal to one (1) high school credit. Skagit Valley College sends a copy of the Running Start students' transcript to the high school at the end of every quarter. The high school applies the same grade received at the college onto the high school transcript.

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How many quarters is a Running Start student allowed to attend?

A maximum of six consecutive college quarters is allowed for eligible high school juniors. A maximum of three consecutive college quarters is allowed for eligible high school seniors. Summer quarter is not funded by Running Start.

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How transferable are the college credits earned through the Running Start Program?

Transferability of college credits and whether they apply to a degree at a 4 year institution may vary. Students should always check with the university they plan to attend regarding transferability of credits.

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How do I apply to the college and register for classes?

Running Start students must fill out a paper Application to begin the process. Running Start students cannot apply online for Admissions to SVC. Students must register for classes every quarter in person and cannot register for classes online. See Application Process.

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What services and activities may Running Start students participate in at college?

Although Running Start students may not participate in athletics, they are eligible for support services, activities, music and other programs. Federal and state "Financial Aid" is not available to Running Start students but students are encouraged to apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) in January prior to their high school graduation.

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Is there a minimum grade point average required?

To begin the Running Start program at SVC a student must have a high school 2.25 GPA or higher. Students must then maintain a college 2.0 GPA to remain in good academic standing. Click here to see the Academic Standards policy.

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Are Running Start students treated differently for class selection?

Running Start students enroll into and attend classes like other students at Skagit Valley College. Classes are offered during the day, in the evening, or through e-Learning (online).

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Things to consider before doing Running Start
  • The pace of college courses is faster than at the high school and requires motivation, self-discipline and independence.
  • The college is an adult environment and Running Start students are expected to behave accordingly. Classes may contain adult/mature content.
  • The classroom environment requires critical thinking and advanced analysis skills.
  • The high school setting provides a social network that might not be available at the college.
  • Scheduling of college classes may conflict with high school classes, holidays, and extracurricular activities.
  • Skagit Valley College follows federal guidelines (FERPA): written permission from the student is required for instructors and staff to share records with parents. View Student Records Policy.
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