High School kids may have to pay some tuition for Running Start - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

High School kids may have to pay some tuition for Running Start

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KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Washington state lawmakers are pushing a plan to get high school students who enroll in college courses to pay some tuition.

A proposal passed by the Senate on Wednesday allows higher education institutions to charge Running Start students up to 10 percent of tuition.

The program is currently free, although students typically pay fees. Low-income students could qualify for a tuition waiver under the bill.

If the bill passes, it would affect roughly 600 high school students in the program who attend Columbia Basin College.  "It's going to block some students out . So we're worried about that.  Decreasing access to the college and  perhaps softening our own enrollment.," says CBC President Richard Cummins.

17 year old Ashlee Hagadorn is a Junior at Kennewick High School and plans on becoming a forensic scientist at Eastern.  She is already ahead of many of her classmates by taking most of her classes at CBC, including advanced chemistry.

"I get to graduate high school with my AA degree, and I can go straight to a four year university," says Hagadorn.  But she is able to do so because her parents help her out.  "They pay for my books and you have to pay lab fees for chemistry. This quarter it was a couple hundred."

Supporters say the move is a small but necessary piece of balancing the state budget.

No senators spoke in opposition of the bill, although seven voted against it.