Running Start

We are currently not accepting new Running Start applications. The WSU Tri-Cities 2025-2026 Running Start student application will open February 1, 2025.

WSU Tri-Cities Running Start Program

Washington State University Tri-Cities is pleased to offer the Running Start program for qualifying high school juniors and seniors attending a high school within Benton-Franklin (and surrounding) counties. The Running Start program allows students to attend classes on the WSU Tri-Cities campus and receive both high school and college credit simultaneously – tuition free! Students can choose to take one class per semester or attend full time.

Running Start Info Nights

Participating high schools

  • Chiawana High School, Pasco, WA
  • Connell High School, Connell, WA
  • Grandview High School, Grandview, WA
  • Hanford High School, Richland, WA
  • Kamiakin High School, Kennewick, WA
  • Kennewick High School, Kennewick, WA
  • Kiona-Benton High School, Benton City, WA
  • Mid-Columbia Partnership, Kennewick, WA

  • Pacific Crest Online Academy, Richland, WA
  • Pasco High School, Pasco, WA
  • Prosser High School, Prosser, WA
  • Richland High School, Richland, WA
  • River View High School, Kennewick, WA
  • Southridge High School, Kennewick, WA
  • Three Rivers HomeLink, Richland, WA
  • Wahluke High School, Mattawa, WA

Don’t see your high school? You are still eligible to be a WSU Tri-Cities Running Start student! Connect with our Running Start office for more information.


CIC 101 Learning Commons

Admissions process

  1. Students who wish to attend WSU Tri-Cities as a Running Start student must discuss enrollment options with their parent/guardian and high school counselor.
  2. The student will determine if they meet WSU Tri-Cities Running Start requirements and will complete a WSU Tri-Cities Running Start application at no cost (application is open February 1 – April 1).
  3. Students will be notified of their admission status AFTER the application deadline. If a student is admitted, they will receive an email with information regarding next steps.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Junior or senior standing in high school
  • Enrolled in a Washington State public high school
  • Have a 3.30 cumulative GPA or higher

Application Requirements

Students who have a 3.50 or higher cumulative high school GPA:

  1. Submit a free WSU Tri-Cities Running Start application
  2. After submission of the Running Start application, upload the following documents:
    1. Unofficial high school transcript
    2. FERPA form
    3. Parent permission form
    4. Optional: AP test scores, SAT or ACT test scores

Students who have a 3.30 to 3.49 cumulative unweighted high school GPA or homeschooled/private school:

  1. Submit a free WSU Tri-Cities Running Start application
  2. After submission of the Running Start application, upload the following documents:
    1. Unofficial high school transcript
    2. FERPA form
    3. Parent permission form
    4. Personal statement detailing education goals
    5. 2 letters of recommendation (teacher, high school counselor, coach, etc.)
    6. Optional: AP test scores, SAT or ACT test scores

All completed and submitted applications are reviewed for admission by the WSU Tri-Cities Running Start committee. Any incomplete applications will NOT be reviewed after the April 1 deadline.

Homeschooled or attend a private school?

Homeschooled students and students attending a private school are eligible to apply as a WSU Tri-Cities Running Start student. If admitted, the student will need to enroll in a public high school and be considered a junior or senior at the high school.

What is the cost of Running Start at WSU Tri-Cities?

Tuition is free! Students will be responsible for paying tuition and fees for any credits they take over the specified amount that was approved by their high school counselor.

Running Start students are responsible for fees and textbooks. Fees can be waived if the student is eligible for free or reduced lunch at the high school and submits their eligibility letter or attends a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) high school.

How does FERPA affect Running Start students?

  • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their educational records. These rights include:
    • Review and inspect their educational records
    • Have their educational records amended or corrected;
    • Control disclosure of certain portions of their educational records.
  • FERPA is permissive in nature in that WSU may release information to parents but is not required to do so even with a release from the student. WSU is required to release student’s educational record to the student.
  • FERPA applies to Running Start students equally, meaning that we are legally prohibited from sharing a WSU Tri-Cities Running Start student’s FERPA-protected information with others.
  • When the student reaches the age of 18 or begins attending a postsecondary institution, regardless of age, FERPA rights transfer from the parent to the student. This means that parents may not obtain any of their student’s education records without the written consent of the student.
  • Since student grades are part of the education record, they are protected under FERPA and, therefore, may not be released to parents. Students have access to their semester grades through myWSU.
  • In addition, students may provide third-party access for their guardian to view grades and other portions of their education record via myWSU.
  • It is important to note that WSU does not have a means for students to unilaterally waive their FERPA rights. WSU’s procedure requires each release of any portion of the student’s education record to a person or entity outside of the University to be individually approved by the student by working with the releasing department.
  • While parents understandably have an interest in their student’s academic progress, they aren’t automatically granted access to a student’s educational records. Parents are encouraged to ask their students directly about academic information. If parents call our office, we are not allowed to disclose FERPA-protected information.

Olivia Ledezma Headshot
Olivia LedezmaAssistant Director for Running Start and Academic Advisor
photo of Sofia Ramirez
Sofia RamirezRunning Start Student Mentor