Running Start

What is Running Start?

Running Start allows academically eligible high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to earn college credit while fulfilling high school graduation requirements. Students may enroll in both high school and college classes or solely in college classes. Private school and home-schooled students are welcome to apply!

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.

  • Transition into a more independent learning environment.

  • Prepare for future career and educational opportunities.


How does Running Start work?

  • Students can take daytime, evening and online classes, and can enroll full time or part time at CBC.
  • Students receive both high school and college credit for completed courses.
  • Students work closely with their high school counselor and CBC advisor to create a unique academic plan.
  • Tuition charges are paid for by the high school. Students are responsible to pay quarterly fees and purchase or rent textbooks and supplies.
  • Fee waivers are available for students who qualify for free or reduced lunch at their high school.

Running Start students studying in the SWL building

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Important Considerations

We want to make sure that Running Start is the right fit for you. Taking college classes as a high school student can be an incredible opportunity, but it's important to note that as a Running Start student, you'll be treated just like any other college student. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Students need to adjust to a more fast-paced and independent style of learning.
  • Some students who are academically ready may still find the independence and speed of college classes overwhelming and may benefit from remaining at the high school.
  • Students are responsible for attending and participating in their classes, and seeking assistance when needed.
  • Transportation is the responsibility of the student.
  • CBC operates on a quarter system, so some high school holidays, vacation periods and weather closures will differ. Running Start students are expected to attend classes at CBC even if their high school is not in session.

Running start student at hawk central

Student Qualifications

  • To be admitted into the Running Start program, students can take CBC's online Directed Self-Placement or provide:
    • Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) scores
    • Official college transcripts
    • Official AP scores
    • Unofficial high school transcripts (math only)
    • Unofficial SAT/ACT scores (math only).
  • Students must test or place into college-level reading AND either college-level math or college-level English to qualify.
  • Students can visit the Assessment Center page for more information.

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Getting Started Checklist

  • 1. Admission

    We're happy you're interested in Running Start at CBC! Our admissions process is easy to complete and offers multiple measures to qualify. We encourage you to apply early and meet with your high school counselor about graduation requirements. Throughout the admissions process you'll learn everything you need to know about CBC.

    There are multiple ways that you can qualify for Running Start. You can take our online Directed Self Placement  (DSP) or submit: Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) scores, an official college transcript, an official AP score report, unofficial high school transcripts (math only) or unofficial SAT/ACT scores (math only). You can submit any of these items by emailing the Assessment Center.

    Ready to see if you qualify?

    Take the English DSP    Take the Math DSP

    If you qualify for the program, we'll email you an application. Fill out this application completely and email it back to Running%20Start. Once your application has been processed, we'll email you an acceptance letter.

    As a new Running Start student, we want to ensure that you have all the information you need to be successful. Be sure to tune into a Zoom session to receive crucial information about the program, ways to be successful and tips on registering for classes. When you register for a session, we'll email you information on accessing the session. After attending the session, you'll receive a follow up email containing your student ID number, temporary PIN and a New Student Guide.

    If you've applied to start winter or spring quarter, you'll receive an email with a link to a recorded information session. Your student ID number, temporary PIN and New Student Guide will also be included.

  • 2. Register for classes

    At CBC, we have multiple measures in place to ensure you start in the right classes. Once you've been accepted to the Running Start program, you'll complete Student Orientation to Advising and Registration (SOAR) to learn more about life as a CBC student. Then, working with your high school counselor and CBC advisor, you'll complete your Enrollment Verification Form and build a unique class schedule tailored to your high school requirements and educational goals.

    When you attend a New Student Information Session, you'll learn about the Enrollment Verification Form. This form will need to be signed by your high school counselor, so set up a meeting with them to go over the form. Don't forget to have your parent/guardian sign the form as well!

    If you're filling out this form over the summer months and your high school counselor isn't available, we'll accept your portion of the form now so that you can keep moving forward. Don't forget to collect your high school counselor's signature before the quarter starts!

    Once you've received your student ID and PIN, you'll need to login to Getting Started. Getting Started is a web-based program that helps you check everything off of your list to get started at CBC. The first few things you'll be prompted to do are change your PIN, set up your CBC email and learn about the CBC campus and some of the resources available to you.

    While you're working through Getting Started, you'll be prompted to complete Student Orientation to Advising and Registration, or SOAR. SOAR is an online presentation that walks you through important information about being a student at CBC and all of the amazing resources that are available to help you be successful. SOAR is a half hour presentation with video and audio, so be sure to have headphones or speakers available.

    Now that you've submitted your Enrollment Verification Form and completed SOAR, you're ready to register for classes! Don't forget to register for WKSP 090 - First Year Introduction for Running Start. This is a required course, but it's also a lot of fun! If you need assistance choosing classes, Counseling and Advising is here to help you find the best possible classes.

  • 3. Get ready for school

    Once you've registered for classes, make sure you're prepared for school to begin. You'll want to pay your fees or submit your free/reduced lunch letter and plan to buy or rent textbooks. Don't forget to attend WKSP 090 (FYI) before the quarter starts! If you have questions or need help, we're here every step of the way.

    Once you've registered for classes, you'll see charges on your student account for the fees associated with your classes. As a Running Start student, your tuition is covered by your high school, but you are still responsible for quarterly fees. If you are eligible to receive free or reduced lunch at your high school, be sure to indicate this on your Enrollment Verification Form or submit a copy of your lunch eligibility letter so that your fees can be waived!

    FYI is usually held the week before the quarter begins. Check your schedule to see when your class takes place.

    Now that you've registered for classes and paid your fees, you're ready to buy or rent your textbooks! To find out what books you'll need for your classes, stop by the CBC bookstore or visit the Bookstore website.

    If you are eligible for free or reduced lunch at your high school, you can apply for our Book Assistance Program! Email Running%20Start to request an application.

    It's official: you're ready to attend classes as a CBC student! We're so glad you've chosen to pursue your education at CBC and we're here to help you every step of the way.

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Need-Based Fee Waiver

Need-based waivers are available for qualifying low income Running Start students for all fees other than tuition or operating fees. A student shall be considered low income and eligible for a fee waiver upon proof that the student is currently qualified to receive free or reduced price lunch at their high school including all students who attend a Community Eligibility Provision school that provides free lunch to the entire school. Students who have spent at least one year in the Washington State Foster Care system since the age of 13 are also eligible for the fee waiver.

  • To receive the fee waiver, students must supply a copy of their K-12 subsidized Food Program Eligibility Letter to the Running Start department via email%20or indicate their eligibility on the Enrollment Verification Form.
  • Once documentation has been submitted and approved, the student will be eligible for the fee waiver for the remainder of their enrollment as a Running Start student.
  • Students attending any of the following schools will have their fees waived automatically and do not need to provide documentation:
    • Desert Oasis High School
    • Grandview High School
    • Kennewick High School
    • Kiona Benton High School
    • Legacy High School
    • New Horizons High School
    • Othello High School
    • Phoenix High School
    • River's Edge High School
    • River View High School
    • Wahluke High School

Release of Information

According to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, college students (including those that are under 18) are considered responsible adults and are allowed to determine who will receive information about their educational records. Students may grant access to their information by signing and submitting a Release of Information (ROI).

Enrollment Verification Form

Students are required to complete and submit an Enrollment Verification Form every quarter. The form must include student, parent/guardian and high school counselor signatures.

Verification Form

Transfer Information

Students who earn their AA-DTA generally fulfill the required credits for their first two years at a Washington university. While CBC has transfer agreements, it is always advised that you work closely with your intended university to ensure a successful transfer. For more information on transfer planning, make an appointment at the Counseling and Advising center!

Running start students studying outside

High School Information

Find your school district below to see who the Running Start contact is at your school or to download the Graduation Plan for your school district.

Columbia Burbank

Graduation Plan


Graduation Plan

Mid-Columbia Partnership
Kiona Benton

Graduation Plan


Graduation Plan


Graduation Plan

New Horizons

Graduation Plan


Graduation Plan

River's Edge
Three Rivers Homelink

Graduation Plan


Parent Information Sessions

Are you the parent of a high school sophomore or junior who may be interested in the Running Start program for the 21-22 school year? Join us for a Zoom session to learn more about program details, costs and efforts to ensure your student stays safe while earning college credits through CBC. We are currently working on getting a schedule in place for February through March, so check back in January for dates and times.

New Student Information Sessions

Are you a new Running Start student who just received their acceptance letter? We encourage all of our new Running Start students to attend a New Student Information Session to provide you with all the information you need to successfully transition to CBC. Sessions will be available May through August but we recommend attending at your earliest convienience.

We are not currently offering live New Student Information Sessions but new students for winter and spring quarter will receive a link to a recorded session. Check back in April to see the list of dates for those applying to start fall of 2021.

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Students walking around CBC's Pasco campus