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Nashville State Community College, SIU Carbondale ink agreement to improve access for students

School leaders sit at a table signing papers.
Nashville State Community College-Provided
SIU News

Southern Illinois University Carbondale and Nashville State Community College (NSCC) forged a partnership today (Feb. 13) that provides graduates who earned their associate degrees with an obstacle-free path to earn their bachelor’s degrees in 10 academic programs.

SIU Carbondale Chancellor Austin A. Lane and Nashville State President Shanna L. Jackson signed the agreement that includes the Saluki Step Ahead program during an event on the college’s White Bridge campus in Nashville – the first such pact in Tennessee.

The signing occurred as part of the two-day Saluki Takeover Tour: Nashville, during which SIU Carbondale officials visit local high schools and Nashville State and enhance connections with alumni.

“Nashville State is on the move to increase economic mobility for the communities we serve by preparing students to start a career or successfully transfer to institutions like Southern Illinois University Carbondale,” Jackson said. “We are excited to extend that bridge of opportunity from Nashville State to SIU Carbondale."

Established in 2021, the Saluki Step Ahead program will enable Nashville State students who graduate with an associate degree to complete their SIU bachelor’s degrees online in accounting, business administration, early childhood, elementary education, health care management, history, industrial management and applied engineering, information technology, nursing (RN to BSN) and psychology, beginning with the fall 2024 semester.

Students in the Saluki Step Ahead program pay the community college rate for their first two years. They enter SIU Carbondale as juniors and receive annual $4,000 scholarships in the third and fourth years. If students decide to pursue their bachelor’s in Carbondale, they pay the same rate as Illinois residents and may qualify for scholarships and other financial aid.

Lane said that this agreement fits well with the university’s strategic plan, Imagine 2030, and its pillars of student success and partnerships.

“I am excited about this partnership. It’s a real game-changer for students who may have limited resources and can’t relocate because of their job or family obligations,” he said.

“SIU Carbondale is providing Nashville State Community College graduates a seamless path to a bachelor's degree, saving them time and money. And if students can’t come to us in Carbondale, Illinois, we are bringing the experience and resources of a doctoral research university to them through Saluki Step Ahead.”

Opened in 1970, Nashville State has seven campuses and online. The college’s seven-county geographic area comprises Davidson, Cheatham, Dickson, Houston, Humphreys, Montgomery and Stewart counties, but serves a broad range of students from across the state. Nashville State offers 23 associate degree programs, 32 technical certificate programs and 47 transfer programs, including nursing, music, information technology, business, engineering and culinary arts.

The Nashville State Community College agreement brings SIU Carbondale to 48 Saluki Step Ahead partnerships the university has with community college campuses in Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas so far.

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

SIU News is produced by University Communications and Marketing - 618-453-2589. Twitter: @SIUCNews
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