group of people standing on the steps on the Banterra Center

Students from Carbondale Community High School visit with university officials on campus to celebrate becoming Salukis in the fall. Thirty-nine CCHS graduates enrolling in SIU this fall have received more than $800,000 in scholarships. (Photo by Russell Bailey)

July 07, 2022

SIU Carbondale draws, bolsters students from its own neighborhood

by Kim Rendfeld

CARBONDALE, Ill. — With robust recruiting efforts, strong partnerships, solid financial support and more, Southern Illinois University Carbondale is encouraging potential students in the southernmost part of the state to become Salukis. 

Last fall, enrollment from the Southern Illinois region grew nearly 34% from the previous year, and the signs for fall 2022 enrollment from the region are promising, said Chancellor Austin A. Lane. Applications, admissions and registrations are all up significantly, and there is still time to apply and enroll for the upcoming fall semester. 

“Students from the Southern Illinois region have a first-class doctoral research university in their own backyard,” he said. “When they consider college, we want them to imagine all the opportunities we have to offer close to home – many of them reserved for graduate students elsewhere. 

“There is a misperception that when we seek new students, we prioritize other areas of the state above our own. To dispel that myth, I and other university leaders have met with many people at local schools, community colleges and organizations. In addition, we have increased recruiting, marketing and advertising in our region, and we have formed formal partnerships with schools, youth organizations and community colleges. 

“Plus, we have backed up our promises with resources. I am proud to be among the university leaders to personally visit high schools and community colleges to award top students in Southern Illinois with our most prestigious awards, the Chancellor’s and Provost’s Scholarships.” 

In May, representatives of SIU Carbondale’s financial aid and undergraduate admissions departments attended honors nights for 16 high schools. They offered nearly $4.4 million in scholarships, supported by institutional funds and private donations, to almost 200 new incoming freshmen. The high schools were:

  • Agape Christian High School
  • Anna-Jonesboro Community High School
  • Benton Consolidated High School
  • Carbondale Community High School
  • Carterville High School
  • Cobden High School
  • DuQuoin High School
  • Elverado High School
  • Herrin High School
  • Johnston City High School
  • Marion High School
  • Massac County High School
  • Murphysboro High School
  • Pinckneyville Community High School
  • Vienna High School
  • Zeigler-Royalton Community High School 

These scholarships are a component of SIU Carbondale’s commitment to access. In 2020, SIU launched the Saluki Commitment and Saluki Transfer Commitment. These initiatives are the university’s pledge to close gaps between financial aid and the cost of tuition and mandatory fees for Illinois students who qualify. 

The university is also reaching out to Southern Illinois students before their junior and senior years of high school through partnerships with Carbondale Elementary School District No. 95, Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois and Scouts BSA Greater St. Louis Area Council, which serves Southern Illinois. 

SIU is also committed to providing new pathways for students with limited options. Last fall, SIU launched Saluki Step Ahead, thanks to an agreement with the Illinois Community College Board. The Saluki Step Ahead program provides qualified community college students the option to earn their bachelor’s degrees remotely and at a lower cost in six academic programs. Shawnee Community College, John A. Logan College, Rend Lake College and Southeastern Illinois College are among the schools to sign on.

“The Southern Illinois region will be an important part of the success of our new strategic plan, Imagine 2030, which include pillars addressing student success and partnerships,” Lane said. “SIU Carbondale and the Southern Illinois region need each other.”