Why you should care about ‘Running Start’

It’s an outstanding example of the community college system’s efforts to improve access, affordability and the success of N.H.’s students and economy


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I recently had the pleasure of attending an awards breakfast sponsored by the Community College System of New Hampshire to recognize high school professionals who have promoted the opportunities available to their students through the system’s “Running Start” program.

If you’ve not yet heard about Running Start, I urge you to call your high school to learn more about it. Running Start is a program that every parent in New Hampshire should know about. Created a dozen years ago by the Community College System, Running Start is a concurrent enrollment program that enables high school students to take courses for college credit. The community colleges currently have partnerships with almost every public high school in the state. Students earn credits that will transfer to colleges and universities in New Hampshire and across the country. This allows students to get a “running start” on their college education. In some cases, high school students have earned a full semester of credits toward their college degree.

The benefits to students are not limited to earning college credits; it builds their confidence, increases their aspirations, helps them transition to college and speeds their way to an affordable college education. The cost for each course is $150 -- considerably less than a course taken at a college or university. The program is geared to students across the academic spectrum.

CCSNH also offers an online version of its concurrent enrollment program, called eStart, which enables students to take dual credit courses online that they may not have been able to fit in their schedules or that are not offered at their school.

We were fortunate to have Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster as a guest speaker at the event. She noted the important work the community colleges are doing to create pathways for student success, from our state’s high schools to New Hampshire employers. The community colleges are focused on access, affordability and the success of New Hampshire students and economy. Running Start and eStart are outstanding examples of these efforts.

Paul Holloway of Rye, chairman of the board of trustees of the community college system of New Hampshire, is chairman of the Holloway Automotive Group.

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