Twelfth District Senator Brad Hawkins’ bill to expand Running Start opportunities for high school students is moving to the House after passing the Senate. 

The bill will allow 10th and 11th graders to earn up to 10 college credits during their summer term.

Hawkins says the measure has evolved through the process. 

“So far, I've been able to advance the bill through three Senate committees, and I also changed it in the full Senate with a floor amendment,” said Hawkins. “So, hopefully it’s in a good spot now, and it can enjoy some success as it advances to the House of Representatives,”  

Senate Bill 5670 initially would have allowed 10th graders to earn limited credits online as an introduction to the Running Start program.  

That version was approved by the Senate's Early Learning & K-12 committee and the Ways & Means Committee before Hawkins introduced his amendment on the Senate floor. 

The bipartisan bill passed unanimously 48-0. The measure in its initial version stalled last year. 

Running Start is a free tuition “dual credit” opportunity for 11th and 12th graders to earn college credit while in high school.  

The program aims to save students money and reduce their likelihood of debt while getting them closer to earning a four-year degree. 

It allows students to complete an associate degree while earning high school diplomas. 

Hawkins says his bill has been a work in progress. “I’m very excited to get the bill out of the Senate,” Hawkins said. “It’s been a multi-year process. I’m calling the bill a “Walking Start to Running Start” because it’s designed to help ease students into the Running Start program before their junior year.” 

Hawkins is also a member of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 committee.

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