Rio Salado College is one of several community colleges located in Arizona. Founded in 1978, it uses the motto, "take the next step" to encourage students to further their education beyond the high school level. Established as one of the community colleges that made up the Maricopa County Community College District, it worked with schools and other organizations around the region to find space available. Professors taught classes in rooms available in those buildings, which helped the school keep costs down because it did not need to pay for a campus of its own. Long known for its distance education programs, the college made the transition in 1996 to online courses that students took over the computer. By 2006, Rio Salado offered more online classes than it did traditional courses.
Though the college opened in Phoenix, it later moved to Tempe. This campus is now home to just three buildings, including administrative offices and a conference center. It still offers courses in approximately 15 different settings in the state, though the majority of its students take online classes. The college offers specialty programs for those who want to earn a high school equivalency diploma and adult learners who want to go back to school. More than 1,400 professors work for the college on a full-time or part-time basis, and the college has more than 60,000 students enrolled in its programs.
Rio Salado Accreditation Details
Rio Salado has accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, which in turn has approval from the United States Department of Education. When you apply to this community college and enroll in one of its programs, you can use the FAFSA and see if you qualify for any government aid such as a student loan. Some of its college's degree programs have accreditation or approval from other organizations as well, including the Arizona Department of Education, National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission, American Dental Association and Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters.
Rio Salado Application Requirements
If you have any questions about applying to Rio Salado, you can contact its Admissions, Registration & Records Department. This department can help you establish residency in the state to cut down on your tuition costs, submit an application or find out about the requirements of the degree program that interests you. Though the college has an open admissions policy, you must meet some requirements to guarantee a spot. The college offers guaranteed acceptance for students who have a high school diploma and are 18 years old or older. It will also accept transfer students who are in good standing at another college and those who have a GED.
The college has its own admissions portal that you can access online. You'll need to start a new account, pick a password and create a user name and then log in with that information. The college's application is fairly standard and asks for information about any schools you attended before applying, whether you finished a high school diploma or have a GED and what you want to study. You must also give some general background information about yourself, including your name, date of birth, social security number and address. As long as you meet all the college's open admissions policy requirements, you can register for classes days after completing your application.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Going to a community college like Rio Salado is one of the best ways to save on the cost of going to college. If you are a Maricopa resident and register for classes, you'll pay just $86 per credit hour. The cost for students living inside the district but outside the county is $383 per credit hour, and the cost for nonresidents who live in other states is $327 per credit hour. Nonresidents taking online classes pay just $215 per credit hour. Rio Salado also offers a discounted rate for those who want to audit classes. Auditing classes does not earn you credit but does let you sit in on classes.
If you plan on taking any classes at this community college, you must use the FAFSA. You can now get a digital pin and use an online version of the form, but you will still need to use tax documents to fill out that form. The college will notify you once it receives this form to let you know it will process it and then contact you again when it finishes processing your FAFSA. You will also need to go online and use both your user name and password to view and accept your aid package. Rio Salado can get grants and loans from the federal or state government. You can also apply for private student loans or scholarships from other sources.
Psychology and Counseling
Though Rio Salado College does not offer any specific counseling or psychology programs, it does offer social science classes that you can take and programs that cover some of the same topics. Psychology courses are available online and at select locations. The college offers a course on research methods that goes over some of the methods that you'll use when doing experiments and writing papers. An introduction to psychology course looks at psychology as a whole, and an introduction to statistics course lets you learn more about compiling stats. Rio Salado also offers courses in abnormal, social, developmental and abnormal psychology.
The college's Associate in Applied Science in Adult Learning and Development might interest you too. This program combines elements of human development and education and helps prepare those who want to work with adult students for the future. It features courses on the psychology of personality, educational psychology and eLearning environments.
You can also enroll in one of the substance abuse certificate programs that the college offers. Completing at least 61 credits will help you finish an Associate in Applied Science in Addictions and Substance Abuse Disorders, which helps you work as an addictions counselor. The college also offers two certificate programs for counselors at different levels. If you already have a college degree, you can enroll in its online addictions counseling certificate program to meet some of the requirements for getting a counseling license in Arizona or another state. Rio Salado College offers all these degree and certificate programs online to help students with less free time.