Morris Library

December 16, 2022

SIU Carbondale inks agreement to improve access for Carl Sandburg College students

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale strengthened its commitment to students in western and central Illinois with an agreement 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 10 academic programs.

SIU Chancellor Austin A. Lane and Carl Sandburg College President Seamus Reilly recently signed an agreement for the Saluki Step Ahead program. Established in 2021, the program enables students who graduate with an associate degree from partnering community colleges to complete their SIU bachelor’s degrees online in accounting, business administration, criminology and criminal justice, early childhood, elementary education, health care management, history, nursing (RN to BSN), psychology and radiologic sciences.

“We are pleased to collaborate with Carl Sandburg 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.”

Lane added this Saluki Step Ahead agreement fits well with the university’s strategic plan, Imagine 2030, and its pillars of student success and partnerships.

The new agreement brings SIU Carbondale to a total of 30 Saluki Step Ahead pacts that the university has with community colleges in Illinois, Missouri and Texas so far.

With its main campus in Galesburg and a branch campus in Carthage, Carl Sandburg College is a two-year institution serving nearly 2,000 students in a district that includes all or portions of Fulton, Knox, Hancock, Henderson, McDonough, Mercer and Warren counties.

Sandburg offers four associate degree programs, 20 associate in applied science programs and more than 25 certificate programs for students looking to earn a credential and enter the workforce or transfer to a four-year college or university.

“This partnership with Southern Illinois University Carbondale is a life-changing opportunity for our students who want to continue on with their education but may not have the ability to uproot from their current locations,” Reilly said. “Sandburg is thrilled to collaborate with SIU Carbondale to make this agreement a reality.”

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.

Austin A. Lane

Austin A. Lane

Seamus Reilly

Seamus Reilly