people smiling while holding newly signed documents

Chancellor Austin A. Lane and Metropolitan Community College Chancellor Kimberly Beatty hold up the Saluki Step Ahead agreement. With them is Sue Gochis, MCC’s chief academic officer. 

October 25, 2022

SIU Carbondale inks agreements to improve access for Metropolitan Community College students

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale strengthened its commitment to students in the Kansas City, Missouri, area with agreements to bring the expertise of a doctoral research university to qualified community college students by providing the option to earn their bachelor’s degrees remotely and at a lower cost in nine academic programs.

SIU Chancellor Austin A. Lane on Oct. 24 signed an agreement with Metropolitan Community College (MCC) to participate in Saluki Step Ahead. Established in 2021, the program enables students who graduate with an associate degree from the community college to complete their SIU bachelor’s degrees online in accounting, business administration, criminology and criminal justice, early childhood, elementary education, health care management, nursing (RN to BSN), psychology and radiologic sciences.

Lane said the latest Saluki Step Ahead agreements fit well with the university’s strategic plan, Imagine 2030, and its pillars of student success and partnerships.

“We are pleased to collaborate with Metropolitan Community College 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.”

SIU Carbondale does not charge out-of-state tuition. All U.S. citizens pay the same rate as Illinois residents.

The new agreements will bring SIU Carbondale to a total of 26 Saluki Step Ahead pacts that the university has with community colleges in Illinois, Missouri and Texas so far. SIU has a similar agreement with St. Louis Community College.

Founded in 1915 as the Kansas City Polytechnic Institute, Metropolitan Community College is the oldest public institution of higher learning in Kansas City, Missouri, and was the first community college established in the state. The Junior College of Kansas City, as it was known starting in 1919, was one of the first schools in the country to award an associate degree.  Today, MCC offers more than 120 associate degree and certificate programs. The college, with more than 18,000 students in the 2021-2022 academic year, comprises four main campuses on the Missouri side of the Greater Kansas City area in Independence, Lee’s Summit, two Kansas City campuses, and an online campus.

“This new partnership with Southern Illinois University is an excellent example of how MCC is fulfilling its mission of Creating Opportunities for All,” Metropolitan Community College President Kimberly Beatty said. “This agreement, and the Saluki Step Ahead program, will provide MCC graduates wishing to pursue a four-year degree yet another quality, accessible and affordable option.”

Students in the Saluki Step Ahead 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 the press release announcing the initiative.

people smiling while holding newly signed documents

From left: Wendell Williams, associate chancellor of enrollment management; Chancellor Austin A. Lane; Amanda Everett, director of admissions, and Josi Rawls, associate director for transfer relations, celebrate the Saluki Step Ahead agreement.