A new agreement between Southern Illinois University Carbondale and the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) will allow some community college students to earn their bachelors degree. This new agreement under the Saluki Step Ahead program will allow qualified community college students to earn a bachelor’s degree remotely and at a cheaper price. The offer is for the following six academic programs: accounting, business administration, health care management, radiologic sciences, criminology and criminal justice and psychology. Students will need an associate degree from an Illinois community college to take part in the program. The third and fourth years, through the Saluki Step Ahead program, students will receive an annual $4,000 scholarship to help reduce the cost of earning a bachelor’s degree. This new program was unveiled at Shawnee Community College in Ullin on September 17, with a ceremonial signing of an agreement with Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The university is in discussions with many other Illinois community colleges regarding similar partnerships. Southern Illinois University Carbondale Officials say Illinois has the third-largest community college system in the country, with 48 colleges throughout the state. More than 600,000 Illinois residents participate in noncredit and credit courses each year.