NIU partners with Kish, area high schools on ‘2 Degrees in 3 Years’

Students can earn two degrees in as little as three years after completion of high school, saving both time and money.

That’s the intent of a new strategic partnership involving NIU, Kishwaukee College and DeKalb, Sycamore, Genoa-Kingston, Hiawatha, Indian Creek and Rochelle Township high schools. The partnership was announced Monday, Oct. 7, 2019 at Kishwaukee College, which spearheaded the initiative.

The “2 Degrees in 3 Years” program identifies career pathways for students, outlining the college-level courses offered in area high schools, and showing how those credits transfer toward an associate degree at Kishwaukee College and a bachelor’s degree at Northern Illinois University.

President Lisa Freeman and Kishwaukee College President Laurie Borowicz signing the 2 Degrees in 3 Years agreement.

“We’re excited to collaborate on this effort with Kishwaukee College and our area high schools,” said Dr. Lisa Freeman, president of NIU. “We value our close relationships with our local institutions, and we view these relationships as key resources as we continually work to help students earn their bachelor’s degrees in a timely and affordable manner.”

Program pathways are available for NIU bachelor’s degrees in business administration, computer science, elementary education, mechanical engineering and psychology. Additionally, Kish and NIU hope to expand the number of degree programs eligible in the near future. 

“Helping young people be college- and career-ready is important to all of us living and working in our area communities,” said Dr. Laurie Borowicz, president of Kish. “We are proud to partner with our district high schools and Northern Illinois University to show students and parents the many opportunities to earn college credit while still in high school, saving time and money in completing college degrees.”

Current Kish student Anthony Castaldo, a 2019 graduate of Paw Paw High School, now consolidated with Indian Creek School High School, provides a good example. Castaldo optimized his coursework while in high school and began his college career this semester with 50.5 credit hours. “I was fortunate enough to get these opportunities to earn college credit, and I encourage other people to take as many classes as they can,” he said.

Castaldo saved three semesters of time towards his bachelor’s degree and estimates his parents saved “thousands of dollars.” He plans to transfer to NIU to study chemistry in the spring of 2020.

Jamie Craven, superintendent of DeKalb Community Unit School District 428, voiced enthusiasm about the new partnership as well.

“The 2 Degrees in 3 Years program is an excellent opportunity for students in our region to take advantage of the collective resources of Kishwaukee College and Northern Illinois University,” Craven said. “This program encourages students to experience college coursework while at their respective high schools, earn college credit, and ultimately reduce the overall cost and time of earning an associate degree and bachelor’s degree.”

For more information on 2 Degrees in 3 Years, visit www.kish.edu/2degreesin3years or contact Katy Saalfeld, NIU senior associate director of admissions, at ksaalfeld@niu.edu, or Kayte Hamel, Kishwaukee College Executive Director of College Relations, at khamel@kish.edu.

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