Joint Agreement Guidelines

Joint educational agreements allow students from one community college to enroll in a specified career or occupational program at another community college at in-district tuition rates. Elgin Community College (ECC) has such agreements with all 39 community college districts across the state under the Comprehensive Agreement Regarding the Expansion of Educational Resources (CAREER Agreement).

Students residing in District 509 who wish to complete a degree or certificate not offered at ECC are advised to review catalogs of participating colleges to identify a program of study and the participating college at which they would like to study. Students pursuing a health-related program should be advised special admissions and entrance requirements often apply.

A list of participating colleges can be found at Students should contact the Office of the assistant vice-president of student services and development/dean of students at 847-214-7715 to initiate the process.

Students are responsible for their own transportation to the college offering the program. Upon completion of a program, students receive the certificate or degree from the college offering the program. Students may take all course work at the college offering the instruction or they may take general education courses at ECC, transferring the credits at a later date.

The following guidelines are used by ECC in implementing joint agreement provisions of the Illinois Public Community College Act.

  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 a 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 (AAS) degree 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 agreement for individual courses they may wish to enroll in during any given summer session.
  3. Determination of Whether or not a Curriculum is Offered by ECC
    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 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 for the program or its component parts has no bearing on approval of a joint agreement.
  5. Enrollment Limitations
    The fact that an ECC program may have limited enrollment or is temporarily closed to enrollment are not considered factors affecting approval.
  6. Failure to Meet Entrance Requirements
    The fact that an applicant for 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. 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.
  8. Limit on Number of Programs Per Applicant
    Authorization is limited to one program per applicant at any time
  9. 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. Joint agreement will not be continued or honored if the student does not follow the program for which joint agreement was issued.
  10. Date for Filing Applications
    Applications for a joint agreement 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.
  11. Compliance Guideline
    ECC will audit each semester a joint agreement is issued, and any courses 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 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.

Joint Agreement Institutions

All certificate and AAS programs that ECC does not offer may be covered.

  • Black Hawk College
  • Carl Sandburg College
  • City Colleges of Chicago
  •  College of DuPage
  •  College of Lake County
  •  Danville Community College
  •  Harper College
  •  Heartland Community College
  •  Highland Community College
  •  Illinois Central College
  •  Illinois Eastern Community Colleges
  •  Illinois Valley Community College
  •  John A. Logan College
  •  John Wood Community College
  •  Joliet Junior College
  •  Kankakee Community College
  •  Kaskaskia College
  •  Kishwaukee Community College
  •  Lake Land College
  •  Lewis and Clark Community College
  •  Lincoln Land Community College
  •  McHenry County College
  •  Moraine Valley Community College
  •  Morton College
  •  Oakton Community College
  •  Parkland College
  •  Prairie State College
  •  Rend Lake College
  •  Richland Community College
  •  Rock Valley College
  •  Sauk Valley Community College
  •  Shawnee Community College
  •  South Suburban College
  •  Southeastern Illinois College
  •  Southwestern Illinois College
  •  Spoon River College
  •  Triton College
  •  Waubonsee Community College