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Walla Walla Community College

2024-2025 Running Start Information Sessions

  • Check here for more dates as they become available!

Contact: Jacky Alonso-Barrientos, Running Start Coordinator/Advisor

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 509.527.4291

What is Running Start?

Running Start provides an opportunity for high school juniors and seniors in to enroll in courses at Walla Walla Community College. Academically qualified students are able to attend college courses and earn college credits, tuition-free, while completing high school graduation requirements.

Home-schooled and private school students must enroll in a public high school to participate in this program. Students do not have to attend the public school or complete local district graduation requirements if seeking a diploma through the associate’s degree.

Running Start students can:

  • Earn their AA-DTA (Associate in Arts & Sciences Transfer Degree).
  • Earn up to two years of college coursework tuition free.
  • Study a variety of subjects not offered in high school.
  • Participate in advanced level courses.
  • Benefit from the flexibility of Running Start Student schedule
  • Prepare for future career and educational opportunities.

Eligibility and Costs


  • Must be classified as a junior or senior in Washington
  • Be enrolled through a public high school district.
  • Qualify into English 101 and/or college level mathematics for maximum access to classes.
  • Students who place below English 101 may still have access to limited courses.  Discuss those options with a Running Start navigator.


Running Start covers the cost of Tuition. It is student and families responsibility to pay quarterly fees and books. Students will also be responsible for transportation to WWCC.

Library Books


Running Start students are eligible to have Book and fees waived by submitting proof that they currently qualify to receive free or reduced-price lunch. The high school counselor will provide proof when Enrollment Form is completed for students enrolled in the public schools.

Documentation may be required for students who are in private schools or home schooled. Acceptable proof may include:

  • Free or reduced-price lunch documentation from your high school if you have been eligible for free or reduced-price lunches in the last five years.
  • Documentation from a government agency, showing that you receive state or federal assistance funds. (examples: a school enrollment verification form, a food stamp card, medical coupons, subsidized housing, etc.)
  • Foster youth verification (examples: letter from social worker or legal copies of Court papers showing Ward of the State)

Student Responsibilities

  1. Bring documentation to your RS orientation/advising appointment and no later than the first class day of the quarter at WWCC.
  2. Notify your RS advisor or the High School Programs Director of any family financial change(s) if you think you may qualify for a fee waiver.
  3. Pay fees at the Business Office if you are not eligible for a low-income waiver.

Enrollment Steps

Inclusion of all students


What services may be provided?

Accommodations are individually determined through a collaborative process and based on your unique needs, program of study and course requirements.

Disability Support Services supports students enrolled in WWCC through the Running Start Program.

  • Please note that IEP/504 Accommodations do not automatically transfer over to WWCC.
  • To obtain accommodations for WWCC courses you must follow our process to request accommodations.
  • College Accommodations are different from High School Modifications and Accommodations. College students with disabilities are still required to meet all of the course objectives and standards set by the instructor. Higher Ed accommodation are to remove barriers to access. They do not modify or adjust curriculum.
  • DSS is only able to speak with the enrolled student concerning their application or accommodations unless a release of educational records form is on file with the college, no matter their age.

Frequently Asked Questions

Full listing of FAQs can be found here:

What is the difference between Running Start and College in the High School?

  • Where the course is offered and who teaches the course. Running Start is taught on a college campus by a college faculty member. College in the High School is taught on a high school campus by a college approved high school teacher.
  • Who is eligible to enroll in the course. Students in the 11th and 12th grades are eligible to enroll in Running Start. Students in the 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th grades are eligible to enroll in College in the High School.
  • Funding. Running Start students may enroll tuition-free up to the equivalent of a fulltime student each term, and for a maximum of the equivalent of two years of fulltime enrollment. College in the High School students wanting to earn the available college credit may be responsible for paying a fee to the college. For the 2022-23 school year, the maximum per college credit tuition fee is $69.95 per college credit adjusted annually for inflation. State-funded subsidies are available for rural and small public schools.

Do students travel for Running Start courses?

Maybe. Running Start courses are taught on a college campus but may also be offered online. Travel may be required of students to attend the course on the college campus

Can a student withdraw from a class taken through Running Start without the permission of the high school or school district?

Yes. However, the student is responsible for following the college’s Add/Drop policies and should let the high school know to ensure they remain on track for graduation. School districts and/or high schools should closely coordinate with colleges to ensure that the student does not become truant due to the withdrawal from a Running Start class. Colleges may only claim students who are enrolled in the college classes on the monthly count day (first instructional day of the month) and participated in instructional activity sometime during the prior month. The high school or district’s notification of a student’s withdrawal from the Running Start class ensures that the college does not incorrectly over-claim these students.

Are Running Start students allowed to take online college classes for dual credit?

However, in order to claim Running Start funds, the college must be considered an eligible institute of higher education as described in WAC 392-169-033.

May a student audit a Running Start course?

No. The FTE claimed for a Running Start course is based on the number of college credits that would be awarded after successfully completing the class. If a student is auditing a college course with no intention of earning a college credit, then the enrollment in this class would not be eligible to be claimed for Running Start funding.

Which college courses may a Running Start student take?

The entire college catalog is available to Running Start students if they have met any pre- requisites that the college requires of all students. Running Start courses may include both academic and professional technical courses.

How do credits earned through concurrent enrollment programs impact a student’s financial aid eligibility?

Students with questions about the effect of Running Start on their student aid or scholarship packages should always check directly with the college’s admissions, financial aid, and scholarship offices.

Washington College Grant

Dual credit courses do not apply to the WCG maximum usage timeframe unless the student completes a bachelor’s degree before the limit is up. Some types of financial aid have a maximum timeframe for eligibility that limits the length of time students can receive aid. The limit depends on the state, federal, and/or institutional policy. While there are some ways that dual credit participation can affect a student’s access to financial aid, due to recent changes to Washington’s maximum timeframe rules with the Washington College Grant (WCG) expansion (formerly State Need Grant, SNG), student accumulation of college credit through dual credit programs will NOT impact their ability to access state financial aid. The new rules for the Washington College Grant (WCG) expansion eliminate the SNG maximum timeframe of 125% of the length of a program and replace it with maximum terms of eligibility. A maximum timeframe policy limits the length of time students are eligible to receive aid. This policy depends on the policies and practices for state, federal, and/or institutional aid.

The WCG maximum is attending a full time for a maximum of five-years limit (15 quarters/10 semesters or the equivalent of full-time enrollment). The WCG maximum fulltime limit only applies to the quarters in which a student received the WCG.

Because dual credit students cannot receive state financial aid to pay for college credits earned through dual credit, no coursework taken in dual credit programs will apply to the WCG full-time limit.

Students who earn an associate degree through dual credit programs can use WCG toward another associate degree.

Students who already have an associate degree can use WCG toward a second associate degree if they are enrolled in an aid-eligible program. This means students who earn an associate degree or who earn college credit toward an associate degree through dual credit programs may apply for WCG to pursue a second aid-eligible associate degree.

College Bound Scholarship

The College Bound Scholarship (CBS) differs from the WCG’s maximum timeframe policy and has a different length of eligibility requirement than the WCG. CBS recipients may be eligible to receive four years of funding to use within five years of high school graduation. Students must enroll in a college or university within one year of high school graduation. The four-year limit (12 quarters/8 semesters or the equivalent of full-time enrollment) applies regardless of whether students choose to enroll part- or full-time, or if they choose to take time off from school. The CBS maximum terms of eligibility are 12 quarters/8 semesters or the equivalent of full-time enrollment (15 quarters/10 semesters or the equivalent of full-time enrollment). Like WCG, this full-time limit only applies to the quarters in which a student received the CBS. In other words, no coursework taken in dual credit programs will apply to the CBS full time limit.

CBS Scholars must also enroll in college or university within one academic year following their high school graduation to be eligible for CBS consideration. For example, a CBS Scholar who graduated high school in the spring of 2021 is required to enroll in college or university by the fall term of 2022. CBS Scholars who do not enroll in college within a year of high school graduation are not eligible to receive the scholarship – unless they completed transcribed college credit prior to high school graduation through a dual credit program such as CTE Dual Credit, College in the High School (CiHS), or Running Start (RS).  In this case, dual credit participation helps students access state financial aid because it fulfills the CBS enrollment deadline. For example:

  • A CBS student completes a Running Start (RS) course their senior year.
  • The student graduates in the spring of 2021 having already met the CBS enrollment deadline because they were enrolled at a college for their RS course.
  • The student does not enroll in college until the fall term of 2023.
  • The student is still eligible for CBS consideration because they met the enrollment deadline through RS participation.
  • However, the student still only has five years after high school graduation to use CBS funding, meaning they would only have three years of remaining funding left.

Federal and Institutional Aid

For federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant, the maximum timeframe policy limit is 150% of the published length of the student’s program. Every credit on a student’s college transcript is eligible to be counted towards the federal 150% maximum timeframe. This includes credits earned through dual credit programs.

Federal policies do allow for exceptions to be granted in the calculation of the limit and provide grant college/universities flexibility in determining which credits are to be applied to an individual student’s maximum timeframe.

The term “published length of program” is an important one. It allows registrars and financial aid offices to implement a policy that counts only those credits that apply to the student’s current program of study. However, how credits are applied is entirely at the discretion of the college/university’s credit transfer policy.

Specific institutional aid may also have differing maximum timeframe policy rules. Students who get close to the maximum timeframe will need to work closely with the financial aid representative at their college/university to maintain eligibility for federal and institutional aid. This issue is most likely to occur for students who graduate with a high number of college credits.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

For both state and federal and institutional financial aid, it is important to note that there is a requirement that students maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). SAP is a measurement of academic performance in terms of GPA and completed credits. It differs slightly for state and federal aid.

Washington requires a per term SAP review. Recipients of state financial aid must earn at least one-half of the credits enrolled that they received aid for to demonstrate academic progress. This is known as the cumulative academic progress percentage. The federal SAP has a “pace” requirement instead where students must earn 67% of the credits attempted.

Though specific SAP review standards may vary by institution, all SAP policies consider the maximum timeframe rules and evaluate the successful completion of a minimum number of credits or clock hours. For example, full time enrollment is successfully completing 12 credits or 300 clock hours.

It is critical for dual credit students to understand all prior postsecondary coursework that generated a college transcript, including that taken through dual credit, will potentially be evaluated for SAP. Depending on the college/university’s SAP policy, they may apply prior credits, including those earned through dual credit, towards the cumulative academic progress percentage.

The SAP evaluation may find that students are not meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards. Depending on the student’s cumulative academic progress percentage the student may be placed on:

  • Warning Status: The student can continue to receive state aid.
  • Unsatisfactory or Denied Status: The student can no longer receive any state aid. This status is often given to students who remain in warning status for more terms than the college’s policies allow.

If a student struggled in their dual credit coursework and it hurts their SAP evaluation, all 100% of Washington’s colleges and universities have an SAP appeals process in place. Appeals and reinstatement policies vary by institution.

Private Donor and Institutional Scholarships

Policies surrounding private scholarships rest with the donor. How institutional scholarships are awarded is controlled by each college. It is up to each private donor or each college to determine how CIHS college credits impact consideration for scholarships that are reserved for first-year students. Many four-year colleges and universities allow Running Start students to apply for scholarships. Students should check with the scholarship office of the institution in which they are enrolling to understand the college or university policy.

What should a high school student with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Section 504 plan do to seek accommodations from the college as part of their participation in Running Start?

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.

Note: Institutions of higher education are required to make all programs and services physically accessible to all students, and to accommodate the academic participation of students with disabilities in college classes and activities. This does not include modifications to admission nor academic requirements if the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the course or program.

Does an IEP automatically qualify a student for Running Start if identified in the student’s transition plan?

No. The student must be eligible for Running Start to be claimed as a Running Start student. The IEP does not override the eligibility requirements. Under the law, a transition plan is simply a course of instruction that is part of a student’s IEP.

May a Running Start student be enrolled full-time at a participating college and enroll in a class at the high school?

Yes. A Running Start student may be claimed up to a combined 1.20 FTE between the high school and the participating college with a maximum of 1.00 FTE at each entity. A student attending Running Start full-time and taking up to 15 credits can also attend the high school and be claimed for up to a 0.20 FTE at no cost to the student. A student enrolling for more than the combined 1.20 FTE may be required to pay tuition to the college for the additional college credits or may qualify to receive a low-income tuition waiver from the college.

Can a student complete both Running Start and a skills center program?

Yes. Students enrolled at skills centers can participate in Running Start. The key is to track the overall FTE if a student is also enrolled in a regular public high school in addition to the skills center. Total enrollment between the high school, skills center and the college cannot exceed the 1.20 FTE limitation.

May a school district or high school condition a student’s eligibility for enrollment as a student in the Running Start program upon a determination by school district or building personnel that the student is academically qualified to take college or university course work?

No. The determination of whether a student meets the requirements to enroll in Running Start is within the jurisdiction and authority of the college or university. The college or university is to establish eligibility requirements for Running Start students that are the same as the requirements applied to other students enrolling in the college in accordance with WAC 392-169-045.

May a school district or high school condition a student’s eligibility for enrollment in the Running Start program upon the maintenance of a particular grade point average?

No. The eligibility requirements for participation in the Running Start program are set forth in statute and rule to the exclusion of any GPA requirement. Nothing in statute or rule implies any authority for school districts or high schools to impose additional requirements or conditions upon a student who meets the minimum requirements established by the college and imposed by current Running Start statute.

May a student start the Running Start Program mid-year?

Yes. Students may begin to take Running Start classes at the start of any term during their junior or senior academic year excluding summer college quarter. Note: To receive the full benefit of the Running Start program allowable in statute, students should start at the beginning of the first term of their junior year in high school in accordance with WAC 392-169-055. Also see Eligibility and Limitations section.

Can a student with a GED participate in Running Start?

Yes, provided the student is still enrolled through a district, charter school, or tribal compact school; has not met high school graduation requirements; and is otherwise eligible by age, grade level, and enrollment limits pursuant to RCW 28A.600.330 and WAC 392-169-020, which reads, “A general education development certificate is not considered to be the equivalent of a high school diploma for purposes of this subsection.”

Do Running Start students need to meet all district and state graduation requirements to earn a high school diploma from a district, charter school or tribal compact school?

Yes. However, students do have the option of seeking a high school diploma issued through their local community and technical college. They do not need to meet district and state requirements but must graduate with an Associate’s Degree to obtain a high school diploma through their local community and technical college.

Can a high school impose a registration deadline or otherwise limit registration times for Running Start?

No. If a student meets the eligibility requirements and can register for college classes within a college’s registration deadline, they should be allowed to enroll. However, the college can impose a registration deadline. It is recommended that high schools and colleges work together to define a mutually understood process for registration. Schedules must include enough flexibility not to impose barriers on students’ Running Start participation. Each term, a complete Running Start Verification Form (RSEVF) must be in place prior to the start of the Running Start class.

May home school and private school students enroll in the Running Start Program?

Yes. Any student seeking college credit through Running Start must enroll through the local public school district or high school, have a completed Running Start Verification Form (RSEVF) in place for each term and each college, and been granted junior or senior standing by the public-school district’s grade placement policy in accordance with WAC 180-51-035. Also see Eligibility and Limitations section.

A private or home school student is not required to attend classes in the public high school to participate in Running Start. Students receiving home-based instruction in accordance with RCW 28A.200 and students attending private schools approved in accordance with RCW 28A.195 are not required to meet the student learning goals, obtain a certificate of academic achievement or a certificate of individual achievement to graduate from high school, or to master the essential academic learning requirements in accordance with RCW 28A.600.310(1)(c).

For state and federal accountability reporting purposes: A student receiving home-based instruction enrolling in a public high school for the sole purpose of participating in courses at the college shall not be counted by the school district if the student’s parents or guardians filed a declaration of intent to provide home-based instruction and the student received home-based instruction during the school year before the school year in which the student intends to participate in Running Start.

Enrolling any student in the Running Start program means that the student is also enrolled as a public high school student to access state funding allocated for the Running Start program.

Is the parent of a Running Start student entitled to review attendance and grade information held by the college or university?

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 37 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).