For many students, the Running Start program is a valuable way to get a head start on college credits or obtain an associate degree.
But for those students under the age of 21 in the program who complete their associate degree, they are denied a high school diploma. That’s because the law required students to be 21 or older in order to be issued a high school diploma. That can lead to many problems, including unstable housing and an inability to receive federal financial aid.
As a non-traditional student herself, Rep. Debra Entenman, D-Kent, 47th Legislative District, understands that barriers to success can make or break a student’s educational career. That is why she passed HB 1714, which requires community and technical colleges to issue a high school diploma to students aged 16 to 20 when they satisfactorily complete the associate degree.
“Many students go to community and technical colleges, participate in Running Start, and they may not have always had a good beginning in high school. But they want to get a diploma, instead of a G.E.D., because they feel that is what they have earned. I ask that we support this legislation to allow them to receive a diploma,” said Entenman from the floor of the House.
HB 1714 heads to the Senate for consideration.