Washington State Running Start Procedures

Running Start, a Washington State public college program, allows qualified high school juniors and seniors to enroll tuition-free in community college and selected baccalaureate courses at Washington State public colleges while concurrently completing their high school diploma requirements.

Students may enroll in a combination of community college and high school courses, or in college courses only, so long as the combination does not exceed one full-time equivalent.  Credit earned by Running Start students may apply to both high school graduation and toward future college degree completion at Saint Mary’s College, provided the courses do not fulfill minimum high school graduation requirements. Generally, a five quarter credit Running Start course equates to one Saint Mary’s College of California course credit (note, Saint Mary’s College does not operate on Carnegie Units, e.g. quarter or semester credit hours.  A typical full time SMC student completes four SMC credits per semester).

Running Start students who: a) graduate from high school in the same year as they begin their

course of study at Saint Mary’s College of California, or b) are attending college for the first time since high school graduation, no matter when they graduated from high school, will be considered "first-time freshmen" and eligibility for financial aid will include eligibility for any special scholarships reserved for such students. Both of these groups will be asked to provide both high school transcripts and test scores and standard freshman admission policies will apply for each group.

Saint Mary’s College of California will accept community college credit for Running Start students under the following conditions:

1. If the course is used toward the high school diploma, it must be designated on the high school record as a Running Start course.

2. The course must be a regular offering of the regionally accredited institution, open to all qualified students and not designed especially for, or offered solely to, Running Start participants.

3. Courses must be taught by contracted faculty or adjunct faculty of the Washington community college or baccalaureate college campuses.

4. The course must be academic, college level, and transferable according to Saint Mary’s College of California’s transfer credit standard.

5. Transferable courses with credit and grades must be recorded on an official transcript from the Washington State community college or baccalaureate campus that taught the course.