A new partnership between Southern Illinois University Carbondale and Black Hawk College lets students receive degrees in certain academic programs without the typical high cost.

SIU Chancellor Austin A. Lane recently signed an agreement with Black Hawk College to participate in the Saluki Step Ahead Program. After graduating with an associate degree from the community college, students can go on to complete their bachelor’s degrees online and at a lower cost in four academic programs: accounting, business administration, criminology and criminal justice, and psychology.

“We are pleased to collaborate with Black Hawk 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. This agreement fits well with our strategic plan, Imagine 2030, and its pillars that address partnerships and student success.”

This new agreement makes a total of 21 Saluki Step Ahead pacts that the university has with community colleges in Illinois, Missouri and Texas.

“This agreement between Black Hawk College and Southern Illinois University Carbondale, two high-quality institutions, provides BHC students the opportunity to continue their studies at SIU Carbondale,” Black Hawk College President Tim Wynes said. “Not only will they get a great education, but they will graduate without the burden of high student loan debt. We look forward to making this opportunity available to our students.”

Students in the program pay the community college tuition rate for their first two years. In the third and fourth years, they receive an annual $4,000 scholarship. This allows them to earn their degree for $25,000 or less. To learn more about the Saluki Step Ahead program, click here.