Running Start

Running Start Stories

Running Start for your student

Facts About Running Start

  • High school juniors & seniors may participate in Running Start.
  • 1,900 Running Start students in WA earned an AA in 2015.
  • Tuition is free and can save a family $8,000 or more when earning an AA degree.
  • Running Start students can serve on student leadership, participate in clubs/study abroad, and work on campus.
  • Over 1,100 Running Start students attend SPSCC each year, 23,000+ statewide.


Running Start affordability

Get Free College. Fees and text books not included.Is your high schooler ready for the college experience? Is your family seeking paths to affordable higher education? Many high school juniors and seniors opt to participate in Running Start, a program unique to Washington State, which allows high school students to attend community college—free of tuition! Fees are usually $150-250 and books are usually $100-500 per quarter.

How does the $0 cost of Running Start compare to tuition costs in Washington State?

average state annual tuition costs graphic. Running start is $0. SPSCC is $3,957.  Public 4-year University is $8,766. Private 4-year University is $39,014.

Important Dates

Start Quarter: Spring 2017 Fall 2017
Class Schedule Online: Jan 2017 April 2017
Take Placement Test: Jan-Feb 2017 Mar-May 2017
Registration Begins: Feb 28, 2017 May 22, 2017
RS Verification Form Due: Mar 14, 2017 Aug 29, 2017
Fees Paid By: Mar 14, 2017 Aug 29, 2017
Classes Start: Apr 3, 2017 Sep 18, 2017


Recommended timeframe for testing: You may take the placement test and register for classes up until classes begin for the quarter. If you are registered for classes and do not submit the verification form by the deadline, you must pay full tuition to hold your classes. A 100% refund will only be issued through the 5th day of classes pending receipt of the signed verification form. Contact the Advising Center, if you have questions.

Running Start Orientation

Before enrolling in the Running Start program we want to make sure it’s going to be a good fit for you as a student. An in-person orientation is required before starting the program, see On-Campus Information Sessions schedule below. The Running Start Online Orientation is optional. If you have additional questions, email or come in to meet with an advisor.

On-campus Information Sessions

On campus information sessions run October to May and August to September. We offer sessions on the Mottman campus and the Lacey campus. Sessions are 5:00-6:30 pm, unless noted below.* Parking permits are not required for campus.

2017 On-campus Information Sessions

Date: Time: Location:
Thu, May 4 5:30-7:00 pm Building 26, Rm 105
Tue, May 9*
*New session
5:00-6:30 pm Lacey Campus, Rm 188
Tue, Aug 8 5:00-6:30 pm Lacey Campus, Rm 188
Mon, Aug 21 5:00-6:30 pm Building 27, SUB Commons
Tue, Aug 22 5:00-6:30 pm Lacey Campus, Rm 188
Wed, Aug 30 5:00-6:30 pm Building 27, SUB Commons
Thu, Sep 7 5:00-6:30 pm Building 27, SUB Commons
Tue, Sep 12 5:00-6:30 pm Lacey Campus, Rm 188


Running Start Enrollment Checklist

Step 1

Apply to SPSCC.

Apply Online to get your Student ID (SID) number. You will receive an email with your SID number after your application is processed, within 3-5 business days.

Step 2

Activate your email/network account.

Outlook iconSet up your my.spscc email account, the email we use to communicate with you and your login to the college network.
Need help? Call: 360-596-5544.

Step 3

Qualify for Running Start.

To be eligible for Running Start, you must place into or have completed English 101, which can be done in several ways (many students take our College Placement test at our Assessment Center). See the Running Start Placement Guide for more information.

Step 4

Determine your course distribution.

There is a limit to the number of courses you can be enrolled in between the high school and the college with full tuition coverage. The more classes you enroll in at the high school, the less credit that can be paid for at the college. See the Running Start Enrollment Verification Form for the funding table. Meet with your high school counselor to discuss your graduation requirements for the high school and the equivalent courses offered here at the college. Determine how many classes you intend to enroll in each semester at the high school so you can determine the number of credits you wish to enroll in at the college each quarter.

MAXIMUM CREDIT LIMIT: The maximum number of credits any Running Start student can enroll in with tuition coverage is 15 credits if they are taking no classes or one class at the high school. If a student elects to take more credit than allowed by the limit table the student will pay full tuition on the additional credits.

Your high school counselor will help you fill out the Running Start Enrollment Verification Form. You can look at available classes in the Class Schedule.

Step 5

Attend Running Start Orientation.

All new Running Start students must attend one in-person session before beginning their first quarter of Running Start (see Running Start Orientation above). These sessions are held between January-April or August-September.

Step 6

Register for classes.

All new students must attend our New Student Advising & Registration to register for classes in-person. Bring a photo ID, your list of required graduation course equivalencies, and your completed Running Start Verification form with you so we can adjust your tuition and fee costs in the session. If you do not bring your form with you, then you will register as a full tuition paying student. Your tuition will not be adjusted until we receive your signed Running Start verification form.

Tuition is not paid at the time of enrollment unless it is past the tuition due date. You must pay full tuition to keep your classes if you don't submit your completed Running Start Verification Form by the due date. You will be refunded 100% of the extra tuition that you paid as long as your application is turned in by the first day of the quarter.

Step 7

Submit the RS Verification Form and pay fees.

Unless you brought your form with you to the NSAR, you must turn in your signed and completed Running Start Verification Form after registration for your tuition and fees to be adjusted. Applications can be turned in to the One Stop or the Advising Center in Building 22. You can also email your form to

Tuition for credits within the funding limits will be paid for through the Running Start program. You are responsible for tuition on courses under the 100 level or over the credit distribution maximums. If at any time during the quarter you change your credit distributions you may owe additional tuition to the college. All Running Start students pay fees on all courses they are enrolled in including those covered by Running Start tuition funding. Fees are due by tuition due date each quarter. If you have a financial need, you may qualify for the Fee Waiver & Book Loan program.

Private or home school & degree completion students

Private school, home school, and degree completion students

If you are NOT seeking a public high school diploma then you are allowed to enroll in a maximum 15 credits each quarter with tuition paid for through the Running Start program. If at any time you decide to seek a public high school diploma you will be restricted to the funding limits based on high school enrollment. If you enroll in more than 15 credits you will pay full tuition on the additional credits. You must turn in a signed Running Start Verification Form each quarter for funding purposes.

  • Private school students: You will enroll in your local public high school for funding purposes. Your private school counselor will advise you on courses to take toward high school graduation. The public school counselor will sign off on your Running Start application.
  • Home school students: You will get your Running Start application signed by the district you have your Intent to Home School paperwork filed with. Please see the district office for who the signing authority is for Running Start students.
  • Degree completion students: You will get your Running Start application signed by your local public high school counselor. You should set up an appointment every quarter prior to registration to meet with an Educational Planner at the college to track your degree progress.