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Heartland Community College

Heartland Community College and Southern Illinois University announce new transfer agreement

August 15, 2023

Heartland Community College (HCC) and Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIU) have adopted a new transfer agreement for qualified community college students to earn their bachelor’s degrees remotely and at a lower cost. 

SIU Chancellor Austin A. Lane and Heartland President Keith Cornille 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. 

“We are pleased to collaborate with Heartland 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.”

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 admissions agreement allows a variety of students with diverse interests to continue their education at SIU, with HCC’s Associate in Arts and Science degree encompassing twelve fields of study spanning the humanities, sciences, business, and more.

“Strong partnerships are key to the mission of serving our students, and working with SIU, we have expanded the options Heartland students have to pursue their academic goals,” said Heartland Community College President Keith Cornille. “This partnership will expand and strengthen our transfer pathways and gives Heartland students another accessible option to earn a bachelor’s degree in several high-demand programs. By offering this remote learning option Heartland transfer students can continue their pursuit of a bachelor’s degree without having to relocate outside our community.” 

The Saluki Step Ahead online study program offers bachelor’s degrees in accounting, business and administration, criminology and criminal justice, early childhood, elementary education, health care management, history, information technology, industrial management and applied engineering, nursing (RN to BSN), psychology and radiologic sciences.

“Any time we can provide easy transfer options for our students it is a benefit,” said Lindsay Eickhorst, Dean of Enrollment Services at HCC. “The Saluki Step Ahead program not only adds to our other traditional transfer agreements but adds a unique level of cost savings for students who choose online study to complete a bachelor’s degree.” 

Students in the Saluki Step Ahead program pay the community college rate for their first two years. In the third and fourth years, the student will receive an annual $4,000 scholarship as long as the student remains full-time time in good academic standing.

Written by: Steve Fast