Skip to body


CWU-Sammamish Running Start Enrollment Increases by 25 Percent Fall 2020

COVID-19 Updates

All Central Washington University students, faculty, staff, and visiting guests will be required to follow vaccination and masking guidelines. For more information and complete details, please visit CWUTogether.


CWU-Sammamish welcome signCentral Washington University’s Running Start program at its CWU-Sammamish instructional site is enjoying record-setting growth in several categories. Student enrollment alone is up 25 percent from fall 2019.

In all, 174 Running Start students are taking classes at CWU-Sammamish, alongside their university peers, taught by CWU professors. Students from Eastlake High School in Sammamish and Skyline High School in Issaquah comprise nearly 30 percent of all students enrolled in Running Start through CWU, which is also offered on the university’s Ellensburg campus.

“We had already been experiencing a pattern of growth as students learned more about our program, and we built relationships with high schools across the state,” said Angelia Riveira, CWU Running Start associate director. “With the move to virtual learning, even more students decided to pursue Running Start, and parents like it because Central already has a recognized online-learning program.”

This fall’s enrollment increase is due in part to eight new western Washington schools that have partnered with CWU to offer the program this year. They include Lake Washington High School in Kirkland, Nikola Tesla STEM High School, Redmond; Liberty High School, Renton; and Woodinville High School.

CWU’s Associate Provost of Extended Learning and Outreach Ediz Kaykayoglu added, “Our growth is the result of CWU’s commitment to providing excellent education. We have a hard-working team that provides individualized services to our students, families, and high schools. We have the best faculty to teach, mentor, and shape the future of our students, and we’re dedicated to sustaining the increase in our programs.”

CWU-Sammamish first began offering Running Start in 2017. The program allows 11th- and 12th-grade students to take college courses for both high school and college credit, reducing the amount of time required to achieve a college degree.

Samuel Roller in a prime example. He graduated from Eastlake High School last June, but since he was enrolled in Running Start, he is scheduled to earn his college degree next spring.

“We have professors [at CWU-Sammamish] who are so skilled in what they teach, so the material that you’re receiving is incredible, and the students that you’re surrounded by are really passionate about what they’re doing,” Roller said.

Roller also chose to give back, serving as peer-mentor for CWU Running Start, volunteering between 10 and 15 hours each week with the program by organizing events, providing support to his peers, and participating in orientation and outreach sessions.

CWU Running Start students tend to be high achievers, as the program requires rigorous academic standards just to get in.

“Running Start policies require that we treat them just the same as any Central student,” Riveira pointed out. “So, they’re required to meet our regular university admissions standards. We have highly motivated students simply because they have to meet those standards just to participate.”

At the end of the 2020 spring quarter, 49 percent of all CWU Running Start students earned a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or higher, including 31 students who finished the year with a perfect 4.0 cumulative GPA.

Depending on what classes a student is taking in high school, the CWU courses are tuition-free. However, students generally are responsible for books and fees. To help offset those expenses, the university administers a book loan program to help low-income students with the cost of textbooks. CWU Running Start also was selected to participate in the Washington Student Achievement Council Dual Enrollment Scholarship pilot program to further assist low-income students.

“We’ve decided to use this money to help cover course, technology, and other mandatory fees for these students, which we have not been able to do in the past,” said Kyle Carrigan, CWU director of Concurrent Enrollment. “We anticipate supporting at least 65 students with these funds this year.”

Along with Running Start, CWU-Sammamish offers general education undergraduate and graduate classes that are open to the public, plus Continuing Education programs, lifelong learning opportunities, education, and other public programs for those wanting to enhance their professional skills or explore a personal interest.

Media contact: Robert Lowery, Public Affairs, 509-899-0235,

Take the Next Step to Becoming a Wildcat.