Joint Agreement Guidelines

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.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Joint Agreement programs - A request for a Joint Agreement will be denied if ECC offers the same program or comparable curriculum components of the program requested. 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.
  • 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 the program or its component parts has no bearing on the approval of Joint Agreement to attend another college.
  • Limit on the number of programs per applicant - Authorization is limited to one program per applicant at any time.
  • 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.
  • Split program - Even though ECC offers the general education or non-technical courses of a program authorized for a Joint Agreement, ECC will not ask the student to split his/her 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, he/she should clear the transfer of the courses with the school he/she attends prior to registration.