Officials from Southern Illinois University and Shawnee Community College signed an agreement Thursday that allows students to earn a degree from the community college while enrolled at SIU.
Called a reverse transfer agreement, the arrangement allows students who transfer to SIU from Shawnee prior to earning an associate degree to use SIU credit hours toward earning a diploma or program certificate at Shawnee.
“This exciting agreement with SCC provides a smoother pathway for students who start at the community college to complete their bachelor’s degrees,” SIU Chancellor Austin A. Lane said. “This pathway helps students transfer with confidence, knowing that their credit hours from Shawnee will be accepted at SIU and their college education will be affordable."
Shawnee Community College President Tim Taylor said the reverse transfer arrangement works well for Shawnee students who are certain of their education plans and choose to transition to the university early.
“If they know where they want to go and what their major is, it is sometimes beneficial for them to go to SIU even though it could be more affordable for them to stay here,” he said just prior to signing the agreement. “This agreement helps us, helps SIU and it helps the students most importantly achieve what they want to do because it allows them to transfer what they’ve earned back from the university to Shawnee and they can get that associate degree.”
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Taylor said students who transfer prior to completing a degree at Shawnee sometimes do so to prevent earning more academic credits than necessary.
Josi Rawls, assistant director for transfer relations at SIU said the agreement is mutually beneficial for the institutions, but even more for students.
“A lot of times, they do transfer to SIU prior to completing at the community college,” she explained. “It’s beneficial to us, the students and the community college if they are able to achieve that associate level credential so if they transfer to us prior to completing that associate degree, then they take the hours needed here, we transfer it back to Shawnee, let that student confer an associate degree which is beneficial to both Shawnee and the student and then that sets them up for more success here at SIU.”
SIU has almost 60 students who transferred from Shawnee and are eligible for the reverse transfer program. The university has similar agreements in place with John A. Logan College and Kaskaskia College.
Rawls said other formal arrangements are in the works.
Reverse transfer agreements build upon traditional articulation and transfer protocols for students completing associate degrees at community colleges.
Lane called SCC a “great partner.”
“We are excited to be connected and most excited that the bridge from Shawnee Community College to SIU is open for students to get from there to here. We’re putting a lot of effort into making sure that takes place,” he said.