Central Washington University has started offering a new path for high- school students to earn college credit tuition-free at a location run jointly with the city of Sammamish.

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Students at four high schools on the Sammamish Plateau have a new way to earn college credit tuition-free this year with the opening of a new center run by Central Washington University.

The university, based in Ellensburg, is partnering with the city of Sammamish to offer dual-credit courses at a site at 120 228th Avenue Northeast, which is owned by the city. Dual-credit courses allow students to take advanced courses for both high-school and college credit.

The location is within a few miles of four high schools: Skyline, Eastlake, Tesla STEM and Eastside Catholic. The building was formerly owned by Mars Hill Church.

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About 75 students are already enrolled in the CWU dual-credit courses, which are similar to Running Start, the program offered by the state’s 34 community and technical colleges. Like Running Start, the classes are free.

CWU will also offer a Thursday evening speaker series, continuing education/lifelong learning classes, English as a Second Language classes and training for working professionals.

CWU has six other extended-learning programs in communities around the state, including Yakima, Des Moines, Pierce County, Moses Lake, Wenatchee and Yakima, along with a satellite operation at Joint Base Lewis McChord.

The sites are known as “university centers,” and they provide face-to-face, interactive television, and online classes, often offered by a couple of different colleges and universities. The approach is designed to offer more college opportunities closer to home, especially for students who have work and family commitments and cannot commute or relocate to a college or university.

CWU-Sammamish will hold a public open house Saturday from noon to 1:30 p.m.