Washington's community and technical colleges

Running Start program accelerates learning

Willis, now 19 years old, enrolled in Running Start at BTC during her junior year at Ferndale High School and immediately joined the PTEC program. Running Start is a program that allows 11th and 12th grade students to take college courses at Washington's community and technical colleges. Students receive both high school and college credit for these classes, which accelerates their progress.

Running Start students and their families receive 15 paid credits every quarter, but students still must cover the costs for books, materials and fees. To help cover those extra costs, Willis applied for scholarships through the BTC Foundation and received several of them. Her largest scholarship was the National Shell Associate Degree Scholarship.

“Those scholarships helped me tremendously,” said Willis. “I completed the PTEC program virtually for free because of them.”

PSR provides an annual $5,000 Shell Puget Sound Refinery Scholarship for students in BTC’s PTEC, instrumentation and electronics programs. These programs typically have close to 150 students registered each year. PSR also established a $5,000 Shell Puget Sound Refinery Tribal Scholarship, which goes to a student who’s a registered member of a local tribe and studying PTEC, instrumentation or electronics.