Running Start Get a jump-start on your future at Cascadia

Running Start

Earn college credit from your high school classes

If you're an eligible high school junior or senior, apply for Cascadia's Running Start Program to earn college credit tuition free while you fulfill Washington State high school graduation requirements. Running Start lets you complete up to 2 years of college while you're still in high school.

Save time and money

You can take up to 15 credits per quarter tuition free depending on your enrollment level at high school. (You pay for books, supplies, transportation, mandatory college fees and tuition for non-college-level courses [courses numbered below 100 and Pre-Fall classes].)

Prepare for the future

As a student at Cascadia, you'll experience college life firsthand and become better prepared for the transition to a university.

Gain marketable skills

Through the Running Start Program at Cascadia, you can earn credits toward a wide range of technical and associate degree programs that prepare you for the career of your choice.

Attend Cascadia College

Cascadia's classes average 24 to 33 students, allowing for plenty of interaction with professors and other students as you work in small groups on collaborative projects.


Find Out More...How to Apply


Is Running Start for You? Requirements


We recommend you discuss participation in Running Start with your parents/guardians and your high school counselor before you apply.



Grade Level

  • You must be a high school junior or senior.
  • You must be enrolled in a public high school or a public school district home school network


  • You can participate in Running Start for up to 6 quarters from the fall of your junior year to the spring of your senior year.
  • If you do not participate in Running Start, you cannot "save up" quarters to use later; after your senior year, you are no longer eligible.
  • Second year seniors are not eligible to participate in Running Start.



Academic Readiness: Testing

Participation in Running Start is determined by the COMPASS placement test.

  • You must place into college level English 101 in both reading and writing.
  • You may retake the test every 30 days by paying the testing fee.



Academic Expectations

As a college student, you are fully responsible for your education and academic success.

  • You must maintain a GPA of 2.0 or above. Running Start students are held accountable to the same academic standards as other college students.
  • Do your best: The grades you earn at Cascadia will go on both your high school and college transcripts.



Running Start Responsibilities


As a Running Start student, you have these responsibilities:

  • Each quarter, before registering for classes, you must meet with your high school counselor to determine your class schedule and fill out and sign your Enrollment Verification Form. Please see Running Start: How to Apply for a link to the Enrollment Verfication Form.
  • Turn in your form prior to registration. You cannot register for classes until you have turned it in. If you wait, you may not get into the classes you want.
  • Read your email!  You will be informed of registration deadlines and other important Running Start events via email. If we do not have an email address for you or if you have recently changed it, please write to





The Running Start Program covers only tuition for up to 15 college credits based on the number of courses enrolled at the high school each semester.  The chart below provides the maximum allowable credits paid by Running Start based on high school enrollment.  Fall semester at high school = Fall quarter at college.  Spring semester at high school = Winter & Spring quarter at college. Students will be charged full tuition and fees for each credit beyond the allowable maximum.  Credits will be charged at the 1-10 credit rate. See the Tuition Prices.


 HS Courses/Semester Maximum Allowable College Credits/Quarter
 0 - 1 15 
 2 12 
 3 9 (10*) 
 4 6 
 5 +

*Students taking 3 High School courses may take exactly 10 college credits and not incur college tuition charges.


Students are responsible for other costs, including:

  • State mandated fees for all Cascadia Running Start students
  • Quarterly $100 Student Activity Center Building Fee (beginning Fall 2015)
  • Technology Fee at $4 per credit (minimum $10, maximum $40 per quarter) assessed to all enrolled Running Start students
  • State mandated fees assessed on a course-specific basis
  • eLearning fees (online, hybrid, ITV course): $45 per course
  • eLearning fee (telecourse): $45 per course
  • BIT Technology Lab Fee: $3 per credit (maximum $30 per quarter)
  • BIT Intensive Technology fee: $4.75 per credit (maximum $47.50 per quarter)
  • Any non-tuition costs such as books, course fees, and supplies.
  • Parking and transportation
  • Tuition for each credit beyond the maximum allowable based on school district enrollment.
  • Full tuition and fees for any non-college level classes (classes numbered under 100), such as Math 075, 085, and 095.
  • Running Start does not cover Summer quarter or Pre-fall courses.



There is a fee waiver available for the state mandated fees. To be eligible for the waiver, you must qualify by one of the three options below:

  • Applied for and received notification that you have been deemed eligible for the Free or Reduced-Meals Program within the last five years. A letter from the school district's Food Services Department/Lunch Program Office stating eligibility for the Free or Reduced-Meal Program will be required and must be submitted with the Running Start Fee Waiver Form.
  • Currently receiving public assistance from a state or federal program. A copy of a Medical Identification Card (medical coupon), a TANF benefits statement, or a Basic Food statement listing the student's name will be required and must be submitted with the Running Start Fee Waiver Form. The student's name must appear on the documentation provided.
  • Is a Foster Youth and the student must provide a signed statement from your caseworker as required documentation attached to the Running Start Fee Waiver Form. The documentation must be on official letterhead.

Submit the Running Start Fee Waiver Form along with the required documentation as noted in the options above.


College Life: What You Should Know

An Adult Learning Environment


You and your family must carefully consider whether the Running Start Program at Cascadia is appropriate for you. You may need to change some of your expectations about privileges and responsibilities at school. Cascadia College is an adult environment where students are expected to engage in the community in a positive way.


Family Access to Student Records and Faculty


Cascadia College adheres to federal guidelines on access to student records. Records information will be disclosed to family members only if a written consent by the student is received and on file at Enrollment Services. Faculty will not discuss student progress with anyone except the student. Families may discuss a Running Start student's progress with the student and the student's high school counselor.


Vision, Mission, and Core Values


As a student, you must understand the college's vision, mission, and core values. These ideas are fundamental in the Cascadia community and set the standard for academic expectations.





Cascadia College is an adult environment, and students have many different backgrounds and life experiences. Students must be open to classroom discussions covering contemporary adult issues. Topics are not censored.



College Courses


As a public institution of higher education, Cascadia welcomes the expression of diverse and opposing views and opinions; such expression challenges students to expand their minds and often pushes the boundaries of comfort. As an adult environment, Cascadia classes expose you to a diversity of viewpoints expressed through language, course readings, and material both in and out of the classroom. Instructors are not required to substitute assignments if you choose not to complete them. You are encouraged to review previous course syllabi on file in the Student Learning Office at 425.352.8175 before enrolling in a course.





Cascadia embraces and respects the diversity reflected in our faculty. The role of the teacher may not be the same as at the schools you have attended before. Instructors are facilitators of your learning and explore varying educational approaches to teaching. Members of Cascadia faculty have autonomy, and Cascadia protects their rights to academic freedom, which is a tradition and an entitlement in public higher education.





The 11-week college quarter system moves quickly. You are expected to successfully complete a year's worth of high school material in one quarter. Time to complete homework assignments is rarely given in class. Generally, 2-3 hours of homework is required for every credit hour.  Most classes are 5 credits meaning approximately 10-15 hours of homework each week. The homework suggestion applies to online courses, too.





Become familiar with the Student Handbook, which covers policies and services applicable to students. Cascadia believes in supporting everyone's rights in assuring a safe environment for learning and teaching. In addition, Cascadia expects appropriate student behavior. Everyone at Cascadia — whatever their age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or race — is expected to work collaboratively to communicate, think, interact, and learn from others.


Running Start: How to Apply

Find out if Running Start is for you


Information Sessions will be held on the second Wednesday of the month from October - May. Sessions will begin at 4:00pm and end at 5:00pm. For locations, please visit our Step One: Attend an Information Session on our How to Get Started at Cascadia  webpage.



See the Campus Map to locate the Cascadia Building and learn about parking options and rates.


If you already participated in Running Start during a previous quarter, you do not need to reapply, even if you skipped a quarter. Just bring your signed Running Start Enrollment Verification Form for the upcoming quarter to the Running Start program office.



Get Your Running Start Contract, and Enrollment Verification Form




Apply for Admission to the College


Apply online at the Washington State Colleges Web Admissions Center.


Note: The Admissions step may be bypassed (temporarily) if the $30 application fee is a financial burden. Go to the Kodiak Corner to complete the Compass Placement Test. A temporary Cascadia Student ID will be assigned to you when you arrive for testing. The testing fee will be required upon testing.


Students qualifying for Running Start will be required to apply for admissions and pay the $30 application fee before class registration.



Pay $30 Non-Refundable Application Fee


Pay the $30 application fee online at Cascadia's Application Fee Payment Page.


In-person applicants may apply and pay the application fee at the Kodiak Corner during business hours.


After you have submitted the application and application payment, the college will send you a student ID number via email. You may also obtain your student ID number at the Kodiak Corner by showing your photo ID.



Take the COMPASS Placement Test


To be eligible for Running Start, you must score at least 80 on the test in both reading and writing.


Compass scores from other colleges are acceptable.


The Compass test may be retaken once every 30 days.


Cascadia will accept Accuplacer scores of at least 86 in both reading and writing. Accuplacer scores cannot be combined with Compass scores.


For the COMPASS Placement Test, go to the Kodiak Corner at Cascadia. No appointment is necessary, but allow 2 hours for testing.You must pay a nonrefundable testing fee and bring your required photo ID (such as a high school ID card, a driver's license, state issued ID card, or a passport). Click here for more information about the COMPASS Placement Test.



Submit the Running Start Contract to the College by the Quarterly Running Start Application Deadline


Bring your Running Start Contract and Test Scores to the Running Start Program Office located in the Kodiak Corner.



  • Winter Quarter 2015: December 12, 2014 by 1:30 pm
  • Spring Quarter 2015: February 27, 2015 by 1:30 pm
  • Fall Quarter 2015: May 29, 2015 by 1:30pm

Include these items in your application:


Participate and Complete the Online Running Start Student Orientation


The orientation is mandatory for new Running Start students.


The Running Start Office will send a confirmation message and additional instructions to the email address you provide on the Running Start contract. We will send you information to read through the online Running Start Student Orientation.


The online orientation will help you:

  • Learn about being a college student
  • Learn special requirements of Running Start
  • Learn how to select college courses
  • Sign up for a registration session


Here is a link to the Running Start Student Orientation:



Register - Go to the CORE Registration Session


Go to the CORE (Cascadia's Registration and Orientation Experience) for which you signed-up. This should have been completed after going though the online Running Start Orientation in Step 6.

BEFORE your registration session, do the following:

  • Review the online course schedule or the schedule booklet available on campus.
  • Meet with your high school counselor to determine which college courses will fulfill your high school requirements. (This should be done after reviewing the PowerPoint presentation in Step 6.)
  • Fill out and sign a Running Start Enrollment Verification form with your high school counselor. An electronic version of the Running Start Enrollment Verification Form may be downloaded here.
  • Bring the completed and signed Running Start Enrollment Verification Form to your registration session along with photo ID.
  • You will not be able to register without your Running Start Enrollment Verification Form.


Here's a link to a video tutorial detailing the actual registration process on your registration day:




Pay your Mandatory Fees and/or Tuition for Under 100, Pre-Fall, and Credits in Excess of your Allowable Amount by the Quarterly Tuition Deadline Day


The payment may be made online at Cascadia's Tuition and Fees Payment Page. Please visit the Paying for College Page on the college website for how to pay and payment methods.


To view payment deadlines, please see the Academic Calendar.



Purchase Your Parking Permit or Bus Pass


To purchase a 2-day, 3-day, or Quarterly Parking Pass - online purchase.


To purchase a bus pass or motorcycle parking pass. Return completed form with photo ID and payment to the Kodiak Corner.


To purchase a carpool parking pass. Return completed form with photo ID and payment to the Kodiak Corner.



Get your Student ID Card


To get your Student ID card, go to the OLC (Open Learning Center) or the Kodiak Corner with your valid photo ID and a printout of your student schedule to show that you have paid tuition.



Set Up Your Computer and Email Account Information


Go to the Open Learning Center. You must go in person; you cannot complete this step online or by phone. Bring a valid photo ID and a printout of your student schedule to show that you have paid tuition.



Buy your books


Two ways to buy books:


Go to Classes


Check the Academic Calendar for Important Dates and Deadlines