State legislature changes Running Start

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Bellevue College is not an exclusively post-high school endeavor; through its offering of the Running Start program, BC enables academically excelling teenagers in their last two years of high school to take classes at the college, paid for by the government. In an email sent out early in August, High School Programs announced that this program is currently undergoing some changes after a statewide legislative decision.

The email states that, beginning in fall quarter, the state legislature will be enacting a policy to limit all Running Start students at any institution from taking a combined high school and college course load of over 1.2 Full Time Equivelency (FTE).

FTE is a unit used to measure the class load a student is taking. .5 FTE is a part-time student, 1.0 FTE is a full-time student, and anything above means that a student is taking more than a usual full-time student.

In a quarter system, a full-time load is anywhere between 12 and 18 credits. A full-time student has a maximum of 18 credits, and that was the paid class load a Running Start student used to be able to take. However, under this new limit, a Running Start student will be funded only up to 15 credits if he or she is not taking any classes at the high school.

Many Running Start students divide their course loads between college and high school. The new limit of 1.2 FTE is a combination of both schedules, and so the paid tuition at the college will vary depending on what courses a student is taking at his or her high school.

Before this limitation, Running Start students could take up to 18 paid credits at BC and the college didn’t care about their high school schedule, but now a Running Start student must submit his or her high school schedule as well, which was not previously required.

BC’s High School Programs has created a new form for this purpose called the Running Start Enrollment Verification Form, to be submitted detailing a student’s high school schedule as well as their BC one, so High School Programs can evaluate the course load and make sure it does not exceed the limitations.

Running Start students are still allowed to take over 15 credits, but they must pay for any exceeding credits themselves.

Community and other small college have their funds and tuition decided by a legislative committee. Recent statewide funding cuts by this committee have stripped BC of 13 percent of its budget and as a result, changes have been made to programs and services provided by BC to limit their spending.

The new restriction of Running Start is a legislative decision by the same committee that decides the college’s budget, and is a series of financial reallocations that have been made to reduce BC costs.

Schedule reevaluation will be necessary, so all Running Start students have been sent an email regarding these changes with the necessary new forms attached. A packet has been mailed to the households of these students with more detailed instructions on how to evaluate a course schedule to see if it violates the 1.2 FTE limit.