Rock Valley College

About the Joint Agreement Program

What is the Joint Agreement Program?

Rock Valley College participates in the “Comprehensive Agreement Regarding the Expansion of Educational Resources” (C.A.R.E.E.R.) with several Illinois community colleges. This agreement is regulated by the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) and is designed to provide expanded educational opportunities only for A.A.S. degrees and certificate programs not offered by Rock Valley College. Upon approval, RVC in-district students may obtain a Joint Agreement to attend another Illinois community college that offers the program they are pursuing to earn.

Also, the Joint Agreement Program does not guarantee admission for out-of-district students, rather it permits out-of-district rates to be waived, allowing the student to obtain the A.A.S. degree or certificate for in-district tuition rates. Out-of-district students should contact their home community college to fill out a Joint Agreement if they are looking to pursue a program at RVC that is not offered at their home college.

Prerequisite course requirements may be taken at the home college or at the receiving college. There may be special circumstances associated with programs that have competitive enrollment with limited seats. These individual cases may be reviewed by the Student Services.

Confused About Residency?

Outgoing Students

A student who lives within Illinois and the Rock Valley College District 511 is considered an in-district student. These students would be looking to take an AAS degree or certificate program at another Illinois community college (or Blackhawk Tech in WI) because it is not offered at RVC. Outgoing Joint Agreement applicants are required to show proof of District 511 residency via Driver’s License/State ID card to RVC during the application process.

Communities that comprise District 511 include:

Belvidere, Blaine, Byron, Caledonia, Capron, Cherry Valley, Davis Junction, Durand, Garden Prairie, Harrison, Hunter, Loves Park, Machesney Park, Monroe Center, Morristown, New Milford, +Oregon, Pecatonica, Poplar Grove, Rockford, Rockton, Roscoe, Seward, Shirland, South Beloit, Stillman Valley, and Winnebago.

+Portions of these communities are included in the district and need further verification (i.e. property taxes paid to District 511)

See RVC Residency Requirements page for more information.

Incoming Students

A student who lives outside of the above mentioned communities but still within Illinois is considered an out-of-district student. These students would be looking to take an AAS degree or certificate program at Rock Valley College because it is not offered at the student’s home community college. Incoming Joint Agreement students must contact their home community college for a Joint Agreement application and must be approved by that college for the particular program of study.

If a student is not sure which community college is their home college, the Illinois Community College Board has a website to check college residency.


  • Joint Agreements should be filed with Rock Valley College at least 30 days prior to the official start of the semester in which student is attempting registration.

  • Distance and convenience are not legal grounds for approval. The time of day, the day of the week, location, modality (online, fast track, or face-to-face) or particular semester, or term of offering the program, or its component parts are not considered as factors affecting approval.

  • Students enrolled at four-year institutions do not qualify for joint agreements for individual courses. Enrollment must be for a complete program.

  • Individual courses, prerequisites, developmental classes, adult continuing education offerings, and non-credit offerings are not considered “programs” for approval purposes.

  • Joint Agreements are applicable for enrollment in Associates of Applied Science degrees and certificate programs only.

  • A.A.S. degrees and certificate programs must be recognized by the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) to be eligible.

  • Approval is given for one academic year (Fall, Spring, Summer) or for semesters indicated on the Joint Agreement application. Therefore, if program of study is continued beyond the indicated semesters on the application, a renewal agreement MUST be submitted prior to the start of the next semester of intended enrollment.

  • If a student registers for courses outside of an approved program of study, the student will be charged out-of-district tuition rates.

  • Courses under 100-level and repeated courses are not covered by the Joint Agreement Program. Courses must be listed in the catalogue as a part of the program to be included in the Joint Agreement. Prerequisite courses may be covered on a case by case basis – contact the college before registering for that particular course.

  • If a student changes program of study, approval from the college is required before registering for classes. If this procedure is not followed, the student may have to pay out-of-district tuition rates. 
  • Authorization is limited to one program per applicant at any time.

Downloadable: Joint Agreement Program Guidelines