students gathered outside on puyallup campus

What Is Running Start?

Running Start is a statewide community college program for academically qualified juniors and senior high school students to enroll in courses to fulfill high school graduation requirements and earn college credit.

Running Start is available fall, winter and spring quarters. Students may enroll simultaneously in high school and college classes, or solely in college classes. College tuition for eligible classes is covered through Running Start. The maximum credit eligible is based on students combined high school and college enrollment. See the Running Start Enrollment Verification Form for credit eligibility.

Running Start is not available during the summer. Students may enroll in summer courses at their own expense with their high school's permission. A completed High School Release Form must be submitted at the time of registration.

High school graduation requirements are established by each school district. Students should check with their high school counselor to verify the courses and number of credits required in order to graduate. Generally, one five (5) credit class at the college earns one (1) high school unit.

Parent Orientation – Fall 2018

Parents/guardians of new students enrolled for Fall 2018 are invited to attend an optional orientation. General outline of the orientation:

  • Overview of the Running Start program (how funding works, required forms, grades, fee waiver)
  • Dean of Instruction: helpful tips for parents/guardians
  • Campus Safety
  • Student Programs 
  • Stay Connected: social media
  • Q&A 

Registration is first-come, first-serve as seating may be limited. A confirmation email will be sent when you register. If you do not receive it, please check your spam folder.

Fort Steilacoom Parent Orientation

Wednesday, September 5, 2018
6–7:15 p.m.

Puyallup Parent Orientation

Wednesday, August 29, 2018
6–7:15 p.m.
(Seating is limited; if full, consider registering for Fort Steilacoom orientation, which is the same information)

Thursday, September 13, 2018
6–7:15 p.m.
(Seating is limited; if full, consider registering for Fort Steilacoom orientation, which is the same information)

Running Start Information Night – Fall 2019

Prospective students and their parents/guardians interested in registering for Fall 2019 are invited to attend an optional information night.

Registration is required to attend. Due to limiting seating, please do not register for this event if you have already attended a Running Start info session at your high school this year. The presentation will be exactly the same.

We will cover these topics in the session:

  • Overview of the Running Start program (i.e., eligibility requirements, costs associated with college, grades, fee waiver)
  • How to get started for fall
  • Benefits of Running Start
  • Things to consider
  • Time management
  • Q&A

Registration Information

Pierce College Running Start works collaboratively with local high schools to offer information nights at your high school. Information sessions for fall start in late January. Check with your high school starting January to see when a Running Start session will be offered at your high school.

In addition to conducting a presentation at your high school, Pierce College offers two information nights for fall. There is no need to attend one at your high school and one on campus; the information presented will be the same.

  • Fort Steilacoom Campus, Spring 2019, date TBD
  • Puyallup Campus, Spring 2019, date TBD

Partnership with University of Washington Tacoma

We partner with the University of Washington Tacoma to help our students transition to college. For more information about UWT, contact Maria Reyes at