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Running Start

Running Start Benefits and Considerations

Benefits of participating in Running Start:

  • Students 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).
  • 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. Fee Waivers for some costs are available for students that qualify for Free or Reduced-Price Lunch. Please see your high school counselor for more information.
  • Classes move at a faster pace than high school; a yearlong high school course is condensed into an 11-week quarter.
  • Colleges have 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 opportunity 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.

*Adapted from Green River College


  • 11th or 12th grader enrolled in a public school
  • Have and maintain a 2.0 minimum GPA (transcript must include 1st semester of 10th grade)
  • Must place into college-level English by one of the following methods:
      • 3.0 cumulative GPA from past 3 semesters
      • Score a 3 or higher on AP Test for AP English Lit or AP Language and Comp
      • Score level 3 or 4 on ELA SBA (state assessment)
      • SAT English score of 480 or higher or ACT English &Reading combined score of 34 or higher
      • College placement test
        • Highline:  Accuplacer Score of 253 + 2.0 GPS 
        • Green River: College Success test score of 101 +

*College level courses are considered 100 level or above.

Currently Enrolled Running Start Students, Click HERE

Click HERE to see School-Specific Information for Decatur High School, Highline College, and Green River College

Click HERE to see the steps on how to enroll in Running Start

Find the 2022-2023 Decatur High School Running Start Agreement HERE

Links to Local Community Colleges: