NIU partners with Kishwaukee college for accelerated degree program


NIU President Lisa Freeman poses Oct. 7 with Kishwaukee College President Laurie Borowicz at the signing of the agreement.

By Ahyen Labanan

DeKALB — Students can earn two degrees in three years through NIU’s partnership with Kishwaukee College and DeKalb, Sycamore, Genoa-Kingston, Hiawatha, Indian Creek and Rochelle Township high schools.

The “2 Degrees in 3 Years” program allows students to pursue one of five career pathways: business administration, computer science, elementary education, mechanical engineering and psychology. After completing the pathway, students will have earned a Kishwaukee College associate degree and an NIU bachelor’s degree in three years.

{{tncms-inline alignment=”right” content=”<p>Students can start earning college credit in high school. Those credits will transfer to Kishwaukee college, where students can graduate with an associate’s degree after a year. They can then attend NIU for two years to graduate with a bachelor’s.</p>” id=”5da97704-d2ee-42d8-8176-05b3e249379d” style-type=”info” title=”More Information” type=”relcontent”}}

Pathway planners are available for business administration and mechanical engineering for each of the six high schools. Planners for computer science, elementary education and psychology are coming soon, according to the Kishwaukee College website.

“Planners outline the dual credit opportunities available at each of the six high schools and then the additional courses that would be needed at [Kishwaukee] for an associate degree and NIU for a bachelor’s degree,” Kayte Hamel, Kishwaukee College executive director of college relations, said.

High school students can begin pursuing a pathway when they identify a career of interest. The earlier they decide, the earlier they can begin one of the pathways, Ron Smith, NIU director of community college partnerships, said.

Dual Credit, College Level Exam Program, AP, International Baccalaureate, Dual Enrollment, Engineering, Math and Science Academy and Kishwaukee Education Consortium credits are accepted at Kishwaukee College, according to a draft of the “2 Degrees in 3 Years” brochure Smith sent in an email.

At Kishwaukee College, students must complete 32 hours to earn an associate’s degree. Students can then transfer to NIU and complete the rest of their required coursework to earn a bachelor’s degree.

“2 Degrees in 3 Years” is different because all three levels of the education system are collaborative in offering students focused and intentional opportunities, Smith said.

Smith said students should participate in “2 Degrees in 3 Years” to save time earning a degree and save money.

Students can see a cost effective and timely opportunity in their own backyard, he said.

He said the initiative may help keep talented students in Illinois instead of attending an out-of-state university.

The number of first-time degree or certificate-seeking undergraduate students migrating out of Illinois was 35,519, according to the most current data from the National Center for Education Statistics from fall 2016.

For further information, contact Katy Saalfeld, NIU senior associate director of admissions, at [email protected], or Kayte Hamel, Kishwaukee College executive director of college relations, at [email protected].