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SIU Carbondale inks agreement to improve access for Kentucky community college system

SIU Clocktower
SIU News

Southern Illinois University Carbondale strengthened its commitment to students in Kentucky recently with an agreement to bring the expertise of a doctoral research university to qualified community college students throughout the commonwealth by providing the option to earn their bachelor’s degrees remotely and at a lower cost in 12 academic programs.

SIU Carbondale Chancellor Austin A. Lane and Reneau Waggoner, Kentucky Community and Technical College System acting provost and vice president of academic and student success, signed the 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, industrial management and applied engineering, information technology, nursing (RN to BSN), psychology and radiologic sciences.

“We are pleased to collaborate with Kentucky Community and Technical College System 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.

Created in 1998, Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), based in Versailles, is the commonwealth’s largest postsecondary institution with 16 colleges and more than 70 campuses. With an annual enrollment of 101,000 students, KCTCS is Kentucky’s largest provider of online learning, workforce training and dual credit classes. KCTCS offers 114 academic programs, including five transfer degrees, three general education certificates and 106 technical programs.

“We are so very pleased to partner with SIU Carbondale to offer our transfer students more options to a seamless, accessible and transparent pathway to a bachelor’s degree in high-demand fields,” Waggoner said. “Kentucky needs a more highly skilled workforce, and this program is ideal for students who can’t relocate but need a four-year degree to achieve their career goals.”

The KCTCS agreement brings SIU Carbondale to more than 45 Saluki Step Ahead pacts that the university has with community college campuses in Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri and Texas so far.

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.


Pete Rosenbery — arts and design, architecture, automotive and aviation, humanities, journalism and mass communications, law, public policy, social sciences.

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