- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 24, 2016

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) - Northern Illinois University and Rock Valley College are raising money to support a new four-year engineering degree program.

The Rockford Register Star reports (bit.ly/1XNn81c) school leaders are trying to raise $6 million for the NIU-RVC engineering program. They received almost half that amount during a kickoff event this week.

The program is scheduled to open to students this fall. They’ll be able to earn four-year bachelor’s degrees in mechanical, electrical and applied manufacturing at Rock Valley College, a community college in Rockford. Students also will the option of getting a master’s degree in integrated systems engineering.

RVC President Mike Mastroianni says the program represents a “paradigm change” because most people look at community colleges as two-year institutions.

Money raised will go toward faculty, scholarships, building renovations and equipment.

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