Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 53.98
Liaison Alan Torvie
Submission Date Aug. 12, 2011
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.0

Rio Salado College
PAE-10: Affordability and Access Programs

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Elizabeth Cole-Fay
Director of Community Partnership Program
Community Development
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have policies and programs in place to make it accessible and affordable to low-income students?:

A brief description of the institution’s participation in federal TRIO programs:

Rio Salado College does not participate in the federal TRIO programs.

A brief description of the institution’s policies and programs to minimize the cost of attendance for low-income students?:

According to the Maricopa Community Colleges Administrative Regulations, Rio Salado College’s tuition and fees are the jurisdiction of the Maricopa Community Colleges Governing Board under the laws and regulations of the State of Arizona. Residency for tuition purposes is determined in accordance with state law (ARS §§15-1801 et seq.) and regulations of the Maricopa Community Colleges Governing Board. All students are classified for tuition purposes under one of the following residency classifications:

1. Maricopa County resident
2. Out-of-County resident
3. Out-of-State resident (including F-1 non-immigrant students)
4. Unclassified, Out-of-County, Out-of-State (1-6 credit hours system-wide) (AR 2.2.9)

Rio Salado College participates in federal student aid programs, which provide opportunities for grants or low-interest student loans on the basis of demonstrated financial need. Rio Salado College offers all students seeking financial aid the opportunity to enroll and secure their space in a class without having to pay any upfront costs as long as they demonstrate their eligibility for federal student aid. The college also offers eligible students book vouchers, which allows the purchase of books and supplies before classes start. Because program seeking students can start school 48 times per year, students can plan their enrollment to take advantage of these practices throughout the year.

If students are unable to demonstrate eligibility at the time they wish to start their courses, the college also offers a flexible, low-cost tuition payment plan.
Through a number of other programs, Rio Salado College provides grant opportunities to students that cover all or a portion of tuition, fees, and books. These include:

 Dual Enrollment, an outreach program for high school students seeking to earn college credit.
 Achieving A College Education (ACE) – ACE Puente
 Adult ACE
 Incarcerated/Reentry

Additionally, through Rio Salado College’s Honors Program, eligible students can earn an Honors Achievement Award which awards students with $81-$325 upon successful completion of honors credits.

A brief description of the institution’s programs to equip the institution's faculty and staff to better serve students from low-income backgrounds:

The Maricopa County Community College District Faculty Association provides faculty with the tools and support necessary to succeed, both in and out of the classroom. Eligible faculty may receive professional growth funds to participate in seminars, conferences, workshops, or professional meetings that often provide cutting-edge practices and strategies for ensuring student success.

The Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction (MCLI) is also available to support the development of faculty, administrators, and staff to ensure student success across the district. MCLI is committed to student success, effective teaching and learning pedagogy, technology innovation, and scholarship of teaching and learning. Each year MCLI sponsors the Student Success Conference, which gives faculty, staff, and administrators the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations about practices and strategies that positively impact student retention, persistence, and success.

Rio also believes in the importance of equipping adjunct faculty with skills to better serve students from low-income backgrounds. Rio Salado College has a robust program for the professional development of its more than 1,400 adjunct faculty members. When a new adjunct faculty member is initially hired to teach for Rio Salado College, they are exposed to the following training:

•Adjunct Faculty Development (AFD) 101, an online orientation to teaching for Rio Salado College. The course discusses the Four Keys of Instruction and provides specific lessons for teaching in different modalities: online, in-person, hybrid, and mixed media/print-based.

•Hands-on orientation with the Faculty Chair, covering curriculum, teaching processes, and department policies. If the new adjunct will be delivering instruction through distance learning, he or she is also given an orientation to RioLearn, Rio’s eLearning platform.

•An Instructional Helpdesk Mentor is assigned to shadow the instructor for the first term to assist them at critical points in the semester. Instructional Helpdesk Mentors are seasoned adjunct faculty working at the Helpdesk on a part-time basis.

Ongoing training opportunities for adjunct faculty include:

•Online AFD courses covering a myriad of topics from improvement in quality online instruction to conducting successful online research.

•Periodic hands-on departmental group instruction.

•Twice a year all-faculty development meetings.

•Free course offerings through the District’s Adjunct Faculty Association.

•Free course offerings through the District’s training and development group on a monthly basis. Both of these last two offerings cover topics from teaching techniques to educational leadership.

•Tuition waivers are available for instructors for up to six credit hours per semester toward any classes they may wish to take from any of the 10 Maricopa Community Colleges.

•Each adjunct has $750 per year they may apply toward professional workshops/conferences that will pay for conference fees, airfare and lodging.

CEUs are available for most of the trainings above. Finally, Rio Salado College has partnerships with universities that enable adjunct faculty to pursue graduate degrees in cohorts of Maricopa faculty and staff. These are taught at Rio instructional sites throughout the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. Rio also provides information regarding graduate opportunities to adjunct faculty seeking advanced degrees.

Rio Salado also has the largest Adult Basic Education (ABE) Program in the state serving around 7,500 students a year. The program has approximately 120 employees at any given time, most part-time instructors. The ABE Program assigns a supervisor to each teacher to guide and evaluate classroom efforts to better serve the needs of students. The ABE Program provides an in-service twice a year for its teachers and staff. Sessions address pertinent topics to enable employees to be more successful in the classroom with their students. The ABE Program encourages employees to attend mini-conferences put on by the Arizona Association for Lifelong Learning (AALL) and supports their attendance by paying their registration fees. These are statewide conferences where ABE Program employees can interact with peers from throughout the state, discuss points of common interest, and pick up tips and strategies to take back to their classroom instruction.

In addition to the training offered to faculty and adjunct faculty, Rio also provides ongoing training to help faculty better serve students from diverse backgrounds. For example, college advisors participate in monthly article or book discussions, such as the college success textbook, to review strategies and techniques to prepare students from all backgrounds to be successful in college. Additionally, Rio offers Brown Bag lunch meetings twice per month to inform employees about a wide variety of topics, some of which relate to inclusiveness and student success.

A brief description of the institution’s programs to prepare students from low-income backgrounds for higher education:

Achieving a College Education (ACE), ACE Puente, and Adult ACE:
ACE is a nationally recognized program that targets those students who may not consider going to college to attain a baccalaureate degree. ACE is designed to help students make a smooth transition from high school through the community college and then on to a university and completion of a bachelor’s degree. The ACE Program looks for high school sophomores who have taken at least six high school credits and who are the first generation to attend college in their family and/or who come from a single parent home or an underrepresented group, and who have experienced economic hardship. Rio Salado’s ACE Puente Program provides students with a scholarship to earn up to 24 college credits during their participation in the program.

Rio’s Adult ACE is an eighteen-month ABE-to-college bridge program for adult students from underrepresented groups who have certain risk factors preventing them from being successful in college. The program allows GED students to begin specially created in-person college classes while completing the requirements for the GED diploma. Adult ACE students receive a broad range of support services including individualized advisement, tutoring in academic subjects, counseling, and enrichment activities in college competencies. This support allows them to successfully move through developmental and 100-level college classes while working towards the completion of their GED. The collaboration among service providers—GED instructors, Adult ACE advisors and counselors, adjunct faculty, and support staff—allows for a seamless transition from Adult Education into post-secondary education. Classes are held at Rio Salado College learning centers throughout the metropolitan Phoenix area, and most students receive scholarships based on financial need. Upon completion of the eighteen-month program, students not only have a firm educational base from which to pursue a degree, but also a better understanding of the workforce needs in their communities and the career opportunities available.

Adult Basic Education Transition Program:
The mission of the ABE Transition Program is to provide information, support and guidance to Rio Salado College adult GED and ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages) students as they transition into post-secondary opportunities within the Maricopa Community College District. This is accomplished through effective collaboration with ABE support staff, district-wide student service partners, and Rio Salado and MCCCD administration. The program pays for up to six credit hours at any Maricopa Community College in any two semesters, registration fees and any special fees connected to the classes, and an additional class in college survival skills for GED students who desire more support their first semester. The program includes personalized advisement, start-up scholarships, free workshops in writing, computer skills, and other topics, and provides assistance with registration and orientation to college.

Incarcerated Re-Entry:
Since 1983, Rio Salado College has partnered with the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) to teach the incarcerated population the necessary skills for integration into society upon release from the prison system. Occupational and educational programs are contracted at ASPC-Perryville and ASPC-Lewis. Rio provides valuable Workforce Development training (WFD) opportunities for men and women. By providing on-site classes at the prison locations, Rio encourages the development of hands-on occupational skills and lifelong learning in the incarcerated populations. On-site offerings include certificates in Automotive Technology, Computer Technology, Construction Technology, Graphic Arts, Horticulture, and Furniture Construction Refinishing.

A brief description of the institution's scholarships for low-income students:

Maricopa Community College Foundation Scholarships:
These scholarships are privately funded and open to all Maricopa Community College students. In most cases they may be used at any Maricopa Community College and, in some cases, non-Maricopa colleges and universities. A Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is not required to apply. These funds help to support programs such as ACE (Achieving a College Education), Hoop of Learning, and STEP district-wide.

ACE (Achieving a College Education) Foundation Grant, for the district-wide ACE Program (at Rio Salado, ACE Puente and Adult ACE):
A scholarship fund for at-risk students in the Maricopa ACE Program, privately raised through the Maricopa ACE Foundation campaign initiative. Utilizing funding from Maricopa Grants, the ACE Foundation, and generous donations from private donors, the ACE Programs provide tuition scholarships to ACE Puente students who can earn up to 24 college credits while participating in the program.

ABE Transition Program:
The ABE Transition Program was established in 1998 to provide a pathway from ABE (Adult Basic Education, which includes GED preparation and ELAA, English Language Acquisition for Adults) to college. The program provides scholarships covering up to nine college credits for students who have completed the GED diploma or the highest level of ELAA classes and partnered with Rio Salado’s nine sister colleges to transition ABE students into college classes in the students’ own communities.

Incarcerated Re-Entry:
Rio, using Maricopa Scholarship funds, provides four scholarship periods per year (July, October, January, and April) for the incarcerated population. The Incarcerated Re-entry (IRE) department advertises the scholarship, receives/documents the applications, prepares the applications for the review/approval, and notifies the recipients of the outcome. Once the students are notified of their scholarship award, the IRE department coordinates all activities related to the student’s award, enrollment, and materials shipment. The IRE distance learning scholarship program continues to grow and offer educational opportunities.

Rio Salado College Dual Enrollment:
Utilizing the Maricopa Grant Scholarship, dual enrollment students may apply for tuition assistance for dual enrollment classes. The Maricopa Grant Scholarship is based on documented financial need. Students may receive tuition assistance for up to eight credits per student per academic year. Last year more than 700 dual enrollment students received tuition assistance from Rio Salado College. Dual Enrollment courses allow high school students to receive college and high school credit simultaneously giving students a jumpstart on their college education. Dual enrollment is also a proven strategy to increase college retention and completion.

A brief description of the institution’s programs to guide parents of low-income students through the higher education experience:

Achieving a College Education (ACE), ACE Puente:
The ACE Puente Program has a parental component that allows parents to learn and familiarize themselves with the process of supporting their student through higher education. Through a series of workshops during the two years in ACE Puente, parents of ACE students receive information on how to understand college and university admission requirements, how to apply for financial aid and scholarships, understand majors and degrees and the transfer opportunities through Maricopa Community College. ACE Parents are also invited to sit in on conversations between the ACE Coordinator and their student to understand and support their student through the higher education process.

A brief description of the institution’s targeted outreach to recruit students from low-income backgrounds:

Achieving a College Education (ACE), ACE Puente:
ACE Puente recruits from 89 high schools within Maricopa County. All sophomore students are encouraged to apply to the program. The ACE Puente Program looks for high schools who meet one or more of the following criteria:

• First generation to attend college
• Come from a single parent home
• Underrepresented group
• Economic hardship
• Environmental factors:
o Work 10-30 hours
o Foster care
o Lives in temporary housing
o Teen parent

Adult ACE:
Adult ACE recruits from a pool of GED students who have scored at an eighth-grade level or higher in math, English, and reading and who meet one or more of the at-risk criteria below:

• Economic hardship
• First-generation college student
• Single parent
• Underrepresented group
• History of low academic achievement

Adult Basic Education:
Rio has the largest Adult Basic Education program in the state serving more than 7,500 students a year. Rio built the ABE program in partnership with a number of organizations throughout the valley to serve the diverse needs of the students we serve. To address the needs of the low-income population, Rio offers classes and receives referrals from various entities, including the Maricopa County One Stop Centers, Care First Resource Academy, Orangewood Community Church, Westside Training Center (an affiliate of Chicanos Por La Causa), and Maricopa Center for Adolescent Parent (MCAP). Maximus also makes a number of referrals of TANF clients to Rio’s program. Rio recognizes that achieving an education is only one of the many needs of the students we serve, so we work in collaboration with partners throughout the community to find solutions and resources for our diverse student population.

Adult Basic Education Transition Program:
ABE Transition recruits students who have already attained their GED diploma and students in the last level of the ELAA (English Language Acquisition for Adults) program. Students must place at the eight-grade level or higher to be eligible. Scholarships are based primarily on economic need, and students must take classes pertinent to a career path or academic development.

Institutional Advancement Outreach Programs:
Rio’s Institutional Advancement Department engages in a mix of advertising and targeted outreach campaigns to recruit students with few opportunities to pursue a higher education. Rio advertises in a number of local resources that target students from diverse backgrounds. Rio also attends and has recruitment tables at a number of local outreach events that benefit the community as a whole. Events include:

• Fresh Start Women’s Resource Center
• Arizona Workforce Connections
• Hispanic Women’s Conference
• Be a Leader Foundation Events
• Aquila Youth Leadership Institute
• High School College Fairs
• Community Education Fairs

Maricopa Constituency Groups:
The Maricopa Community College’s Constituency Groups reflect the vision, mission and values of the organization in promoting student success. These constituency groups identify and assist with effective outreach and recruitment strategies for students. They also help to identify needs and market niches that will increase Maricopa’s reach in serving our diverse communities.

A brief description of the institution’s other admissions policies and programs:


A brief description of the institution’s other financial aid polices or programs:

Rio Salado College is part of the Maricopa County Community College District and follows the district’s admissions policies. Admission is granted to any person who meets at least one of the following criteria:

A. Is a graduate of a high school, which is accredited by a regional accrediting association as defined by the United States Office of Education or approved by a State Department of Education or other appropriate state educational agency.

B. Has a high school certificate of equivalency.

C. Is at least 18 years of age and demonstrates evidence of potential success in the community college.

D. Is a transfer student in good standing from another college or university.

Students under the age of 18 can be admitted providing they are a graduate of a private or public high school or have a high school certificate of equivalency, have completed course prerequisites and completed appropriate testing requirements. (Students that are home schooled are exempt from the under 18 regulations.) Students who enroll in vocational courses may be admitted on an individual basis with the approval of college officials if the student meets the established requirements of the courses for which the student enrolls and the college officials determine that the student’s admission is in the best interest of the student. Students with F-1 non-immigrant status can also be admitted to academic and/or intensive English programs.

A brief description of the institution’s other policies and programs not covered above:

Proposition 300, passed by Arizona voters in November 2006, stipulated that college students who are not legal United States citizens or are without lawful immigration status must pay out-of-state tuition, and that persons who are not United States citizens and who are without lawful immigration status are not eligible for financial assistance using state money. The law requires that those who are not citizens or legal residents pay out-of-state tuition. For academic year 2011-2012 tuition is $317 per credit hour. The in-state tuition rate is $76 per credit hour.

The website URL where information about programs in each of the areas listed above is available:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

For more information about Rio Salado College’s financial aid policies and programs, please visit: www.riosalado.edu/fa.

In addition, Rio Salado College participates in Veterans Affairs programs. For more information, please visit: http://www.riosalado.edu/veteran/Pages/default.aspx

For more information about Rio Salado College’s financial aid policies and programs, please visit: www.riosalado.edu/fa.

In addition, Rio Salado College participates in Veterans Affairs programs. For more information, please visit: http://www.riosalado.edu/veteran/Pages/default.aspx

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.