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Degree NOW students can go from high school to junior year at ISU

October 30, 2019

Heartland Community College has reached an articulation agreement with Illinois State University that will allow guaranteed admission for Unit 5 high school students graduating from the HCC Degree NOW Computer Science Program.

Students enrolled in Heartland’s Degree NOW Computer Science Program earn an Associate of Science Degree concurrent with their high school diploma. The agreement provides guaranteed admission to those meeting ISU’s general and computer science program admission criteria, allowing these students to jump straight into their junior year in college after high school graduation.

“This agreement is yet another example of the strong transfer relationship we have with Illinois State,” said Sarah Diel-Hunt, Vice President, Enrollment and Student Services. “The Degree NOW program is breaking new ground in helping our district’s high school students reach their academic goals by re-imagining the possibilities of dual credit programs. Even beyond this program with computer science, our District high schools are providing more opportunities for students to take college courses in high school and then bring those credits to Heartland.”

The Degree NOW program combines Heartland dual credit courses that students take in high school along with additional classes taken on the HCC campus. Students earn an Associate in Science degree from HCC over the four year course of study that begins in the 9th Grade.

A key element in this agreement is that ISU will provide Degree NOW students a first-year college student experience even though they will be admitted to Illinois State as juniors academically. Students admitted to the program will be eligible for the typical privileges afforded to freshmen, such as housing.

“Our course credits transferred before this agreement, but now students and parents can feel better about the other aspects of graduating high school and going to college,” said Diel-Hunt. “These students will be afforded all the typical first-year college student services, programming and privileges even though they are juniors in their academic program of study.”

There are currently Degree NOW cohorts at Normal West High School, Normal Community High School and Olympia High School. The first cohort of Degree NOW Computer Science Program students, all from Normal West High School, is set to graduate in 2021.


Written by: Steve Fast