Qualified students who earn an associate degree at Spoon River College now have a new transfer pathway to completion of a bachelor’s degree in select programs that is offered completely online and also comes with a cost savings. In a virtual meeting held August 2, SRC President Curt Oldfield and Southern Illinois University Chancellor Austin A. Lane signed an agreement for the Saluki Step Ahead program.

“The Saluki Step Ahead program with Southern Illinois University Carbondale will help Spoon River College students achieve their academic goals,” Oldfield said. “This flexible pathway to a bachelor’s degree will be life changing for those students who participate.”

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.

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. Besides the cost savings, the program also eliminates the need and expense of students relocating while continuing their education.

“We are pleased to collaborate with Spoon River 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.”

With the signing, Spoon River College became one of more than 40 community colleges in Illinois, Missouri, and Texas to be part of the Saluki Step Ahead program.

“This brings an accessible and affordable bachelor’s degree to the SRC students and SRC alumni who are able to keep living and working in this area while achieving their dream,” said Oldfield.

Spoon River College is a two-year, public community college in west central Illinois, with campuses and Community Outreach Centers in Canton and Macomb, and Learning Centers in Havana and Rushville. If offers career and technical education and more than 25 transfer programs, and serves students in a 1,566 square mile area that includes portions of Fulton, McDonough, Mason, Schuyler, and Knox counties, For more information about Spoon River College, visit www.src.edu.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale officials (from left) Wendell Williams, associate chancellor of enrollment management; Josi Rawls, associate director for transfer relations, and Sarah Jiter, undergraduate admissions director, celebrate the signing of a Saluki Step Ahead agreement with Spoon River College President Curt Oldfield and Holly Norton, vice president of educational and student services. (SIU photo by Russell Bailey)