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Running Start

Attend College While Still in High School

Running Start

Attend College While Still in High School

Running Start

Attend College While Still in High School

Frequently Asked Questions

Please click on each question below for answers to frequently asked questions. For a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions, please visit: https://www.sbctc.edu/resources/documents/colleges-staff/programs-services/running-start/running-start-faqs.pdf

Who qualifies for Running Start?

To be eligible for the Running Start program at SVC, students:

  • Must be enrolled in a public, Washington State high school;
    • Homeschool students must enroll with a public high school to participate in the program
  • Must be classified as a high school junior or senior under the grade placement policies of the school district;
  • Must be under the age of 21 as of September 1 of the school year;
  • Must have not earned enough credits to receive (or have already been awarded) a high school diploma or its equivalent (excluding GED) as of the beginning of the school year.

For a full definition and list of Running Start eligibility requirements, please review the Washington Administrative Code 392-169-020.

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

Yes, Running Start students can participate full time or part time, either taking classes solely at the college, or a combination of high school classes and college classes. Quarterly college credit eligibility is based on the number of minutes that students are enrolled in high school classes. If students would like to attend college classes full time, they may still take one class per semester at the high school, if they choose. The more high school classes a student takes each semester, the less credits they may take at the college per quarter. In more technical terms, students who stay at or below 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 their eligibility will pay college tuition for every credit in excess of the combined limit, unless they are eligible for the fee waiver, which grants them ability to exceed the limit. Fee waiver students pay fees above credit eligibility, but not tuition.

What does Running Start cost?

Running Start pays for the cost of tuition for eligible, college-level classes, up to 15 credits per quarter (or more for students who qualify). Students are responsible for other college costs.

  • The number of credits students are eligible for is determined by the school district, based on high school course enrollment.
  • Students are responsible to pay for all fees, books, supplies, and other materials required for their classes.
  • 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 resident college tuition rate for the additional credits (1-10 credits rate).
    • For example, if a student is eligible for 15 credits, but enrolls in 18 credits, they will be charged for 3 credits at resident college tuition rates.
  • College-level classes have a number of 100 or higher, such as Psychology 100. Classes taken below college level, such as Math 099, must be paid by the student at resident college tuition rates.
  • Running Start students who qualify for free or reduced-priced meals in their school districts, see the “What if I qualify for free/reduced priced meals at school?” FAQ.
What if I qualify for free or reduced priced meals?

Running Start students who qualify for free or reduced priced meals (or have qualified within the past 5 years) may be eligible for a fee waiver.

  • Students must provide documentation of eligibility.
  • Books, supplies, and transportation costs are not included with the waiver and are the responsibility of the student.
  • If eligible, students should complete the section referring to meal eligibility on the quarterly Running Start Enrollment Verification Form. Students may also submit an approval letter from their school district, dated within the past 5 years.
  • If credits exceed the allowable amount, even with this waiver applied, the student must pay course fees on each additional credit.
How many credits are awarded towards High School credits?

A 5-credit, quarter-long college class is equal to one year of high school credit, or 1.0 credit. Skagit Valley College sends a copy of the Running Start students’ transcript to the high school shortly after each enrolled quarter. The high school applies the same grade received at the college onto the high school transcript towards an applicable requirement. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure they are meeting high school graduation requirements, if they are pursuing a high school diploma from their sending high school. Course equivalency guides are available and high school counselors will recommend necessary courses to students. Any student who completes an associate degree may also be awarded a high school diploma through Washington State, upon request.

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

A maximum of six 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. Note: In order to receive the full benefit of the Running Start program allowable under the law, students should start at the beginning of the first term of their junior year in high school. WAC 392-169-055 provides additional information regarding enrollment eligibility.

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.

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

Students should apply at www.skagit.edu/apply and indicate “Running Start” as their area of study, and then follow the remaining enrollment steps. Once students have completed all prior enrollment steps, they will sign up for and attend a Cardinal Takeoff Advising and registration session, where they will register for classes. After their first quarter, students may register for classes online, provided they have submitted the quarterly “Running Start Enrollment Verification Form” to the Enrollment Services office. For a detailed list of enrollment steps, please visit the “How to Get Started” tab, or view the Running Start Checklist: www.skagit.edu/rs-steps

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

Running Start students may participate in student life, clubs, tutoring, e-learning, and more! Running Start students are not eligible to participate in college athletics. 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) or the Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA) in their senior year of high school if they plan to continue with their education after doing Running Start. Running Start students may apply for the SVC Foundation Scholarship each year.

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).

Can parents or guardians sign students up for classes?

No, in fact, college student records are confidential, even to parents. Only students can change their records. If students would like someone to have access to their records under FERPA, students must submit an Information Release Form. Please note that course grades are reported to the high schools each quarter and college grades will also reflect on high school transcripts. An Information Release does not grant anyone else permission to change records or registrations.

Can students register for classes at SVC without the Running Start Enrollment Verification Form if the school is closed?

Yes, however, students will be charged full, resident-rate tuition and fees until the completed form is submitted. Students will need to get the form completed as soon as possible, once school resumes. Students in this situation may need to make changes to their SVC schedule after meeting with the high school counselor/district office and receiving guidance. It is the student’s responsibility to adjust their SVC schedule as needed. SVC advisors are available to assist with schedule changes.  

What are some 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 high school setting provides a different social network than the high school may provide.
  • 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/guardians.
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