RLC SIU signing agreement

SIU Carbondale Chancellor Austin A. Lane, left, and Rend Lake College President Terry Wilkerson hold up the Saluki Step Ahead agreement during a ceremony today, March 23, at Rend Lake College. The agreement brings the expertise of a doctoral research university to qualified place-bound community college students. (Photo provided)

March 23, 2022

SIU Carbondale, Kaskaskia and Rend Lake colleges team up to offer greater access for students

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale strengthened its commitment to students with agreements to provide an SIU education to qualified place-bound students who attend Kaskaskia College and Rend Lake College.

SIU Chancellor Austin A. Lane today (March 23) signed agreements with Kaskaskia College and Rend Lake College to participate in the Saluki Step Ahead Program.

Following graduation with an associate degree from either community 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 are pleased to collaborate with Rend Lake and Kaskaskia colleges to provide another option for place-bound students in this region,” Lane said. “If these students cannot come to Carbondale to complete their education, we will bring the experience and 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.”

These new agreements will bring SIU Carbondale to a total of 16 Saluki Step Ahead pacts that the university has with community colleges in Illinois and Missouri, with more anticipated this spring. SIU signed agreements with Illinois Central College and Waubonsee Community College on March 22.

Kaskaskia College President George Evans spoke of the strong relationship the two institutions are developing. Kaskaskia serves students in Bond, Clinton, Fayette, Jefferson, Madison, Marion, Montgomery, St. Clair and Washington counties.

“Our relationship advancement in the past few years with SIU Carbondale has been an absolute breath of fresh air, and I am very thankful for the very strong collaborative spirit championed by Chancellor Lane,” Evans said. “I expect more positive things to come out of our relationship in the years to come.”

The Rend Lake College district, meanwhile, includes most of Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson and Perry counties, and portions of Washington, Wayne, White and Williamson counties. Rend Lake College President Terry Wilkerson noted the agreement will offer students easier access to a bachelor’s degree.

“This program helps RLC graduates successfully continue their academic journeys,” Wilkerson said. “Rend Lake has always had a great relationship with several local four-year institutions, and this is one more way to help make the process of earning the next degree that much easier.”

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 them to earn their degree for $25,000 or less. For more about Saluki Step Ahead, read last fall’s press release.

Kaskaskia and SIU signing agreement

Kaskaskia College President George Evans and SIU Carbondale Chancellor Austin A. Lane sign the Saluki Step Ahead agreement during a ceremony today, March 23, at Kaskaskia College. (Photo provided)