Guidelines for Authorization of Joint Agreements
Illinois Community Colleges have established a mechanism for expanding career and technical educational opportunities for residents of the state. Under certain conditions, residents of community college districts may study at other community colleges utilizing Joint Agreements. The following guidelines will define whether such study is possible and when a Joint Agreement is offered.
1. Definition of resident
A person is considered a resident of the College district who is 18 years of age or older and resides in District 509, or is less than 18 years of age and resides with a parent or legal guardian in District #509, or is an emancipated minor and resides in District #509.
2. Definition of the program
A program is defined as a sequence or cluster of related courses identified as a planned group of offerings leading to a certificate or Associate of Applied Science degree (AAS) which is publicized in the official catalog of an Illinois Public Community College and approved by the Illinois Community College Board and the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Individual courses, adult continuing education offerings, and non-credit offerings are not considered "programs" for approval purposes. Courses under 100 level and prerequisite courses are not covered under a joint agreement and must be completed at ECC. Persons enrolled at four-year institutions do not qualify for Joint Agreements for individual courses in which they may wish to enroll.
3. Joint Agreement programs
A joint agreement is not authorized if the desired curriculum is offered by ECC. The determination of whether or not the desired program is offered is made by comparing the relevant ECC programs with the desired curriculum and its component courses in the official catalog of the college the applicant wishes to attend. If ECC has a curriculum comparable, as determined by the assistant vice-president of student services and development/dean of students, no joint agreement will be authorized. If two or more such agreements cover the same program, the student may apply for attendance at any of the institutions participating in a formal joint agreement.
4. Distance and inconvenience
Distance and inconvenience are not legal grounds for the approval of a Joint Agreement. If a program is offered by ECC, then it is judged to be available. The time of day, the day of the week, location, modality, (online, fast track, or face-to-face), or the particular term or semester of offering the program or its component parts has no bearing on the approval of Joint Agreement to attend another college.
5. Limit on number of programs per applicant
The fact that an ECC program may have limited enrollment, is temporarily closed to enrollment, or is even regularly oversubscribed, is not considered a factor affecting approval.
6. Date for filing applications
The fact that an applicant for the joint agreement was previously refused admission to an ECC program because of failure to meet entrance requirements is not legal grounds for authorizing a joint agreement for a comparable program at another public Illinois community college.
7. Limit on number of programs per applicant
Authorization is limited to one program per applicant at any time.
8. Date for filing applications
Applications for Joint Agreements should be filed with ECC at least 30 calendar days prior to the official beginning of classes of the specific term or semester of the college the applicant expects to attend. Once the Joint Agreement is approved, it is usually valid for one academic year and must be renewed if the applicant wishes to continue for another year.
9. Split program
Even though ECC offers the general education or non-technical courses of a program authorized for a joint agreement, ECC will approve all courses of a program rather than ask the student to split their enrollment and take the general courses with ECC and the technical courses in the neighboring district. If the student wishes to take these courses at ECC, the student should clear the transfer of the courses with the school they attend prior to registration at ECC.
10. Continuity of Authorization
If ECC has authorized a joint agreement for the first year of a program in another district, and subsequently ECC develops a comparable program, the student is not required to transfer back to ECC for the balance of the program. Generally, once a program has been approved for a joint agreement, ECC continues that approval, upon annual reapplication, until the program is complete. However, should a student withdraw from a program authorized by a joint agreement (either by official notification or by not attending for three consecutive semesters), and that program is subsequently developed and implemented by ECC, a joint agreement will not be renewed and the student must attend the ECC program or pay out-of-district tuition should they elect to re-enter the program from which they withdrew. If a joint agreement is authorized and the student permanently moves out of the ECC district, authorization is valid only for the current unexpired term or semester. A joint agreement will not be continued or honored if the student does not follow the program for which the joint agreement was issued.
11. Compliance Guideline
ECC will audit each semester a joint agreement is issued, and any courses that are taken which are not part of the approved program will not be honored for a joint agreement; that is, the entire out-of-district tuition for such courses must be borne by the student.
12. Appeal of Joint Agreement Denial
If a request for a joint agreement is denied by the assistant vice-president of student services and development/dean of students, the student may appeal this decision. The student does this through a letter to initiate an appeal submitted to the assistant vice-president of student services and development/dean of students. This letter should outline in detail the reasons why the student feels an exception to these rules should be made. The letter will be forwarded to the vice president for teaching, learning, and student development. The student will be notified of the vice president's decision.
The Joint Agreement program is for two-year degrees and certificates not offered at your in-district school. Individual classes are not covered. If you plan to complete an entire program, you may pick up a Joint Agreement Form from the Dean of Student Services and Development Office in B 105 or download and print out the Joint agreement request - PDF.
Students interested in enrolling in an ECC program that their home community college does not offer must first obtain a Joint Agreement from their community college and submit it to the Registration Center, B 105. See a list of eligible programs on the Joint Agreement Programs page.