Running Start

Running Start is a statewide partnership between colleges and local high schools. The program allows high school juniors and seniors to attend the college tuition-free and have the credits count for both high school and college credit. College credits are paid for by the high school, saving families money as students begin their college careers. 

  • Tuition free. Students pay for other related costs (books, class-based fees and transportation).
  • Located at the college.
  • All 34 community and technical colleges offer Running Start. Three public four-year universities also offer Running Start programs: Central Washington University, Eastern Washington University and Washington State University Tri-Cities.

Tacoma Online offers students interested in Running Start a unique advantage. Our anywhere, anytime format makes navigating both college and high school classes easier!

For new Running Start students:

  1. Attend a mandatory Running Start Information Session.
  2. Complete application to college at (open April 1st for fall quarter):
  3. Download and complete the Running Start Agreement (fillable PDF) and email it to your high school counselor.
  4. Schedule Running Start EVF appointment with your high school counselor (this should be done before the end of the current school year for fall quarter, we cannot guarantee availability during summer or during first few weeks of school year).
  5. Follow email instructions from college on next steps in the process.

For continuing Running Start students:

  1. You will need to schedule a Running Start EVF appointment with your counselor before each registration period starts.
  2. We suggest setting calendar reminders to schedule appointments based on your school’s registration dates.      
  3. Remember to schedule your EVF appointment a few weeks in advance, as our calendars are often quite full during registration times.


Pierce College Running Start Website
Tacoma Community College Running Start Website
TPS Running Start Guide