Sauk Valley Community College

an institution of higher education that provides quality learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of its students and community

Sauk’s Present, Looking toward the Future

1965-2015: Changing Lives for 50 Years
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With a rich history spanning half a century, Sauk can point to many proud achievements and successes .  Our mission to provide quality, affordable education has never been more essential to the success of our students, and the community we serve.    
State and federal support for education has dropped to historic low levels; academic institutions are experiencing increased oversight and demands for more accountability; and performance-based funding is gaining momentum. All this despite the decreasing rate in “college-ready” students entering higher education.  Sauk is responding by working to stay ahead of the changing educational environment. Moving forward, we are looking to current and future initiatives to help guide and define Sauk Valley College for the next 50 years and beyond.   

When compared to four-year partners in higher education, Sauk’s tuition and fees remain at one-third the price, with a strict focus on teaching and learning.

Sauk Prepares Students for Success

photo of instructor with student pointing at computer monitorAn estimated two-thirds of students entering community colleges aren’t prepared to take college-level courses. These “at-risk” students must take one or more remedial, non-credit courses before even starting degree courses. This preparedness gap, and the additional time and resources required to close it, can dramatically reduce a student’s likelihood of completing their degree.

Sauk Response:

  • Sauk is overhauling its developmental education program, enabling students to significantly reduce remedial course completion time by as much as 6 weeks, helping students stay in college and complete their goals even faster.
  • In 2014, Sauk was ranked 1st out of 39 Illinois community colleges in degree production for these at-risk students.

Leading the Way At Every Level

A nationwide push is underway to align the curriculum of K-12 schools with that of higher education. In addition, institutions must change students’ attitudes about preparation for technically based programs.  Whether taking 6 or 60 classes at Sauk, students must be prepared to take them.

Sauk Response:

  • Sauk prepares students to successfully transition into college-level courses that require math, reading and writing, and critical thinking skills.
  • Sauk is a local leader in the integration of initiatives like Common Core Standards—designed to establish clear, consistent guidelines for what every student should know and be able to do in math and English language arts from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Making that Degree Happen

student with financial aid advisorSince opening its doors 50 years ago, Sauk has focused on helping students set, work toward, and accomplish their goals.  Sauk initiatives provide students with even more ways to experience success.

Sauk Response:

  • Mandated college orientation providing students and their families with opportunities to meet  Sauk faculty and staff, tour campus, and ask questions. Feedback from parents and students attending the orientation has been exceptional.
  • First Year Experience (FYE), an award-winning course that helps new Sauk students transition into college by teaching goal setting, note taking, time management, career and degree choices, and more.
  • Increased number of dual-credit courses available to high school students. Sauk students can start their college education earlier than ever before.
  • Required academic planning to help students focus on their goals and progress.  


Even small increases in college costs can delay or end a student’s progress.  That is why Sauk is so committed to keeping costs affordable. When compared to four-year partners in higher education, Sauk’s tuition and fees remain at one-third the price, with a strict focus on teaching and learning.

Sauk Response:

  • Offering students Open Educational Resources (OER).  OER are freely accessible, openly licensed documents and media useful for teaching and learning. OER are available for free or at a significantly reduced price.   
  • OER, and innovative ideas like it, have the potential to save students hundreds, if not thousands of dollars during their time at Sauk.

Community Career Success at Sauk

Sauk strives to connect with local businesses and industries by offering programs and services tailor-made to the needs of the region. These connections drive our program development, in turn providing an educated, skilled workforce for the community. 

Sauk Response:

  • Sauk’s Career Services assists students and the community by advising on potential employment opportunities, and providing interview training and resume preparation.

Incorporating internship requirements into numerous programs, including nursing, radiation technology, Multicraft, HVAC, and Criminal Justice programs.

Cooperation vs Competition

Sauk maintains important educational agreements with other higher education institutions. These agreements benefit our students, increase college completion rates, and decrease costs and competition between institutions. When colleges and universities focus their efforts on working together, everybody wins.  

Sauk Response:

  • 3+1 agreement whereby students spend three years on our campus and one additional year at the cooperating campus to complete their bachelor’s degree.
  • Potential agreements with College of DuPage (CoD) to allow students to take up to 24 credit hours at Sauk before completing the Sonography program at CoD. Sauk students avoid expensive startup costs and earn a degree in their chosen field of study.

These are only a few examples of the opportunities Sauk has already created, and a preview of the exciting advances in the works. Sauk continues to build on the success of the past while celebrating the achievements of the present, and our future impact on our students and our community for many years to come.