Running Start Admissions

Running Start for Your Student

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!

Learn more about:

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 when earning an AA degree.
  • Running Start students can serve on student leadership and join clubs.
  • Over 1,000 Running Start students attend SPSCC each year, 23,000+ statewide.


Running Start Affordability

Running Start is free to students!  The only costs not included are course fees, books, and supplies.

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: Winter 2017 Spring 2017
Class Schedule Online: Oct 2016 Jan 2017
Take Placement Test: Oct-Nov 2016 Jan-Feb 2017
Registration Begins: Nov 15, 2016 Feb 28, 2017
RS Verification Form Due: Dec 13, 2016 Mar 14, 2017
Fees Paid By: Dec 13, 2016 Mar 14, 2017
Classes Start: Jan 3, 2017 Apr 3, 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, our online session is optional.

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. Parking permits are not required for campus.

2017 Orientation Sessions

Date: Time: Location:
Tue, Jan 10 5:00-6:30 pm Lacey Campus, Rm 189
Wed, Jan 18 5:00-6:30 pm Building 26, Rm 105
Tue, Feb 14 5:00-6:30 pm Lacey Campus, Rm 189
Wed, Feb 15 5:00-6:30 pm Building 26, Rm 105
Tue, Mar 14 5:00-6:30 pm Lacey Campus, Rm 189
Wed, Mar 15 5:00-6:30 pm Building 26, Rm 105
Thu, Apr 6 5:30-7:00 pm Building 26, Rm 105
Tue, Apr 11 5:00-6:30 pm Lacey Campus, Rm 189


Online information session

Can’t make one of our in person sessions? View our online information session. Keep in mind that you will be required to attend one in person session before beginning the program. If you have additional questions, email or come in to meet with an advisor.

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. 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

Register for classes.

Go through our New Student Advising & Registration to get your registration information. You can register for classes in ONE of two ways:

  1. IN PERSON: Come to an in-person Registration Lab. See New Student Registration. Bring your list of required graduation course equivalents with you and your completed Running Start Verification form 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 application.
  2. ONLINE: To register online you need to go through New Student Advising & Registration (NSAR) online. Once you have completed NSAR, your SPSCC student portal account will be activated for registration. You will then use your SPSCC email address and password you created to log on and register for classes. You will register for classes as a full tuition paying student. Your tuition will not be adjusted until we have received your completed Running Start application.

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 application 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 6

Submit the application and pay fees.

Unless you are registering in person and bringing your completed application with you, you must turn in your signed and completed Running Start application 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.

Step 7

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). This can either be an information session in the spring or an in-person orientation session in late August/early September. Details about the summer orientations will be sent in the mail to the address we have listed on file for the student.

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 application 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.