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Running Start

The Running Start program offers eligible high school juniors and seniors who seek expanded educational challenges the option of enrolling simultaneously in high school and college classes, or solely in college classes, for the purpose of earning credit to be awarded both by the high school district and by the college. Classes taken through the Running Start program must be at college level (numbered 100 and above).

Routed through the local school district, the tuition for Running Start credits (up to 15 credits per quarter) is paid by state funding. An entrance assessment, course textbooks fees and supplies are the financial responsibility of the Running Start student and their family. Eligible low income families may have tuition for additional credits, plus fees and charges waived.

Is Running Start right for me?
Successful Running Start students have good study skills, self-discipline, and motivation. It is a great opportunity for high school students seeking greater academic challenges. It can also be a good alternative for students who find the traditional high school experience does not meet their needs. Running Start students need to be prepared for the independence, fast pace, and time demands of college classes. Parents should be aware that Community College classes and programs occasionally tackle sensitive subjects, and class discussions are open and candid. Running Start students follow the College Academic Calendar. Therefore, spring and winter breaks may be different from high school. It is their job to attend class, seek academic help, and address any problems directly with the instructors. As mandated by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, student records are confidential and can only be accessed by the student.

What are the benefits of Running Start?

  • Students and families can save thousands in tuition dollars and reach educational goals sooner.
  • Students can take classes not offered at their high schools to advance their education.
  • Students have more flexibility in choosing classes.

What are the challenges of Running Start?

  • College classes are taught at a faster pace than high school, often covering as much material in one quarter as most high school classes cover in one year.
  • Classes require more study time and homework than High School.
  • Students must fulfill all high school graduation requirements.
  • Students must pay for lab and tech fees, books, supplies, and transportation. Lab and tech fees must also be paid each quarter unless the student has documentation they receive free and reduced meals from the high school.
  • Grades become part of your permanent record at both college and high school.

Steps to Take to Pursue Running Start

  1. Talk with your high school counselor.
  2. Attend the annual spring Running Start Informational Meeting with a parent/guardian. Hosted each spring by either Mead High School or Mt. Spokane High School.
  3. Determine which Running Start Program you would like to attend (SFCC, SCC, EWU).
  4. Apply using the links below.
Program Links

Eastern Washington University

Spokane Community College 

Spokane Falls Community College


Running Start to Careers
The Mead School District is excited about our partnership with the Community Colleges of Spokane and a new dual credit offering called "Running Start for Careers."  We know there is a need for skilled labor in almost every vocational field and this option allows juniors and/or seniors to start their training at the college for free.

For more information see your high school counselor.