Joliet Junior College Partners with SIU Carbondale for Remote Bachelor's Program

Southern Illinois University Carbondale strengthened its commitment to students in northern Illinois with an agreement to bring the expertise of a doctoral research university to qualified Joliet Junior College students 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 Joliet Junior College (JJC) President Clyne Namuo signed the agreement for the Saluki Step Ahead program Feb. 1 during a virtual ceremony.

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 Joliet Junior 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.

Founded in 1901 as the nation’s first public community college, Joliet Junior College comprises five campuses and education centers with an annual enrollment of more than 14,000 students each semester. The college offers nine academic career pathways and nearly 180 degree and certificate programs.

Based in Joliet, the college also has campuses and education centers in Romeoville and Morris. The college district covers 1,442 miles across parts of Will, Grundy, Kendall, LaSalle, Kankakee, Livingston and Cook counties, with approximately 650,000 residents in the district.

“JJC has served the members of Community College District 525 for more than 100 years by seeking and maintaining meaningful connections and responding to the educational needs of our students,” Namuo said. “By engaging SIU in the Saluki Step Ahead agreement, JJC has forged another strong partner in education, inspired learning and built a pathway to prosperity.”

Also attending the virtual ceremony with Namuo from Joliet Junior College were Stephanie Braun, dean of academic intervention and support, and Diane Urbanczyk, university partnerships and degree acceleration manager.

Attending from SIU Carbondale in addition to Lane were Sheryl A. Tucker, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs; Wendell Williams, associate vice chancellor for enrollment management; Sarah Jiter, undergraduate admissions director, and Josi Rawls, associate director of transfer relations.

The Joliet Junior College agreement brings SIU Carbondale to 47 Saluki Step Ahead partnerships the university has with community college campuses in Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri and Texas so far. That includes pacts with 42 of the 48 community colleges in Illinois.

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.


Media inquiries can be directed to Katherine Smith, JJC's communications and media manager, at

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