people, in person, and virtually, celebrating the signing of the Saluki Step Ahead agreement

SIU Carbondale Chancellor Austin A. Lane, Rock Valley College President Howard Spearman and other officials from both institutions celebrate signing the Saluki Step Ahead agreement. (Photo by Russell Bailey)

March 15, 2022

SIU Carbondale, Rock Valley College strengthen access for transfer students

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale strengthened its commitment to students in Boone and Winnebago counties with an agreement to provide an SIU education to qualified place-bound community college students.

SIU Chancellor Austin A. Lane on March 14 signed an agreement with Rock Valley College President Howard Spearman to participate in the Saluki Step Ahead program. Following graduation with an associate degree from Rock Valley College, students can go on to complete their SIU bachelor’s degrees online and at a lower cost in six academic programs: accounting, business administration, criminology and criminal justice, health care management, psychology and radiologic sciences.

“We look forward to welcoming more Rock Valley College graduates to the Saluki family and providing another pathway to students with limited options,” Lane said. “If they cannot move to Carbondale to complete their bachelor’s degrees, we will bring the resources of a doctoral research university to them. This agreement fits well with our strategic plan, Imagine 2030, and its pillars that address partnerships and student success.”

The signing now makes 12 community colleges participating with SIU in the Saluki Step Ahead program, with more anticipated this spring.

“Here at Rock Valley College, we are excited for this baccalaureate opportunity for our students,” Spearman said. “Thank you to our partners at SIU for paving the way for Golden Eagles to continue their education in our community.”

Students in the program pay the community college rate for their first two years. In the third and fourth years, they receive an annual $4,000 scholarship. The goal is to allow students to earn their degrees for $25,000 or less. For more about Saluki Step Ahead, read the press release from last fall.