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Home » Student Success » Support Programs » Dual Credit Programs

Dual Credit Programs

2023 Summer Running Start

OSPI proposed rule changes in May 2023 that opens summer quarter Running Start at all participating institutions of higher education (IHE) to eligible students with capacity under the existing 1.2 Annual Average Full Time Equivalent (AAFTE) limit. Additional funidng appropriated by the legislature expanded access to students graduating within 15 credits of an associate degree. 

For more details, eligibility requirements, and enrollment procedures, please see the following resources: 

Contact Information

Tim McClain
Dual Credit Program Supervisor

Dual Credit provides students with the potential to earn high school and college credit at the same time through successful completion of a course and/or corresponding exam. Exam-based options include Advanced Placement (AP), Cambridge International (CI), International Baccalaureate (IB) programs., Course-based dual credit options include Career and Technical Education (CTE) Dual Credit, College in the High School (CHS), and Running Start programs. Additional steps may apply for these tests or courses to result in college course credit. 

Why dual credit? In today's world, two-thirds of all jobs require some post-high school training or education. Taking dual credit is connected to higher high school graduation rates, college enrollment, and degree completion.

Exam-Based Dual Credit

Exam-based dual credit allows a student to take an exam (AP, CI, or IB) and apply to receive college credit with a corresponding exam score of 3 or better (for AP), a score of 4 or better (IB), and E or better (CI).

Course-Based Dual Credit 

In course-based dual credit (concurrent enrollment), a student enrolls in a class that has the potential to earn both high school and college credit. Course-based dual credit classes can be offered at the high school (Career and Technical Education and College in the High School) or at the college (Running Start). 

Dual Credit FAQs

Regarding student readiness and interests:

  • Taking rigorous coursework in an area of interest and/or skill can increase a student’s success.
  • Taking dual credit courses that have exams (AP/CI/IB) gives students a chance to try a college preparatory course and choose not to take the exam or not to send the score if they don’t want to attempt earning the corresponding college course credit.
  • There is more potential for earning actual college credit, and also some risk, with Running Start and College in the High School since the student actually starts an official college transcript by taking college courses.
  • Offered at the high school or a local skills center, taking a Career and Technical Education (CTE) Dual Credit course can earn a student college credit while satisfying specific high school credit requirements. CTE Dual Credit courses may also be part of a CTE Graduation Pathway, enabling a student to complete the graduation pathway requirement. With CTE Dual Credit, students can choose at the end of the course whether to accept the college credit or not.
  • Offered on the college campus and taught by its faculty, Running Start provides students with an early taste of college life. College in the High School, on the other hand, exposes students to the same rigor and college-level work without leaving the high school environment.

Regarding transfer of college credits or exam scores:

  • The Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) maintains the Washington Student Achievement Council's Dual Credit Programs Comparison document that compares program information, costs, and other variances between the different dual credit programs.
  • The Washington State Council of Presidents has developed resources to help inform families and students about dual credit.
  • The Washington 45 is a list of college courses that students can take via Running Start or possibly College in the High School that are the most likely courses to transfer into any public 2/4-year college in Washington.
  • Each college maintains its own webpage dedicated to “transfer credit”, which is the term most colleges use when referring to “dual credit”. Going directly to the college where the student wants to enroll will guarantee the most accurate information.
  • Though uncommon, there can be modest financial aid impacts related to dual credit, and students and families are encouraged to consult with college financial aid officers when taking early and/or heavy dual credit course loads.

While most federal and state-funded resources are available to students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, students should always ask their counselor if there are any other schools or community-based resources that can help.

For all dual credit programs, some schools receive Academic Acceleration Incentive Program funds based on their demonstrated commitment to equitably expanding dual credit. High schools may also apply for Consolidated Equity and Sustainability Grant (FP 154) funding to expand their programs, increase access, and lower costs for students. These funds can be used to help students with the costs any dual credit program.

For college preparatory courses with exams (AP/IB/CI):

  • Washington’s test fee program provides funding each year to reduce the cost of AP/IB/CI exams for students who qualify for free and reduced lunch.
  • Schools can also use Federal Title IV funds to help with test fees.

For concurrent enrollment courses through College in the High School (CHS):

  • Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch and are enrolled in College in the High School are eligible for subsidies at high schools that have been awarded funding through the Consolidated Equity and Sustainability Grant (FP 154).

For concurrent enrollment courses through Running Start:

  • Colleges must make available fee waivers for students who qualify for free or reduced lunch.
  • Many colleges also provide assistance with books for low-income students.

Running Start is unique because it takes place on a college campus (except when a student is enrolled in college courses online). Ideally, students will enroll beginning with the fall term to maximize eligibility. Depending upon the college and high school’s process, enrollment for the fall quarter/semester can begin as early as February of the same calendar year. Interested sophomores and juniors should begin asking for information by January of the same year in which they want to enroll in Running Start.

Interested students should start by meeting with their high school counselor and/or attending any kind of Running Start information event. The high school counselor or advisor will help the student determine:

  1. If Running Start fits with the student’s interests, skill level, and High School and Beyond Plan,
  2. What courses the student can take that will meet high school graduation requirements,
  3. What the college eligibility, orientation, and registration processes entail, and
  4. What, if any, resources may be available to help with the costs of fees, books, supplies, and transportation.

At any time, interested students may also go to the college’s website, type Running Start into the search box, and explore what the college’s eligibility, orientation, and enrollment processes entail.

Program Specific FAQ Documents

Consolidated Equity & Sustainability Dual Credit Grant

In 2021, OSPI established a new, competitive Consolidated Equity and Sustainability (CES) grant (form package 154) to support dual credit students with a focus on eliminating equity gaps. This new grant combined the CHS Subsidy (form package 732) and Building Equitable, Sustainable Dual Credit grant (form package 983 & 103) to reduce duplicative work for all, while also expanding access to opportunities to better serve underrepresented students in dual credit. For more details log into EDS or check out the Consolidated Equity and Sustainability (CES) Dual Credit Grant Package.

The 2022-2023 CES grant will be released in July 2022 and, barring any unforeseen circumstances, due August 8, 2022. Access the CES Grant (FP 154) Pre-Release Worksheet and prepare for the release of the Consolidated Equity and Sustainability Grant (FP 154).

  1. Colleges may now bill the district per credit tuition fees after the 10-day count of the course rather than waiting until the completion of the course. The college should be submitting actual invoices rather than enrollment counts used in the past.
  2. Colleges may now choose how much is appropriate to charge, not exceeding the state-determined maximum, rather than automatically being reimbursed at the max rate.
  3. High Schools and districts can now determine which grades they want to provide for. Previously only 11th and 12th graders qualified (CHS is now open to students 9-12 grades).
  4. There is no longer a per-student cap. Previously students were limited to 10 or 5 credits depending on which tier the school qualified for.