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Step Four

Processing Your Financial Aid Package

  1. The Financial Aid Office Reviews Your Request

    Rio Salado's Financial Aid Office is required to process your request for Federal Student Aid in accordance with all applicable polices and regulations established by the U.S. Department of Education, the State of Arizona, the Maricopa Community College District and all other regulatory bodies.

    This is important: Due to the large volume of requests, this step takes the longest amount of time.

    Processing time:
    From the time that all of your To Do List items have been processed it may take 3 weeks to process your Financial Aid package.

  2. Financial Aid Notification (FAN)

    Once your Financial Aid package has been processed you will be notified by email and in your Student Center. Please check your student email account for more information. Your Financial Aid Notification will be available for you to view securely online in your Student Center at

    Your FAN contains:

    • Information about the types/amounts of Federal Student Aid you're currently eligible to receive. Please Note: Your eligibility may change between the time you receive your FAN and when Federal Student Aid can be disbursed to you. Be sure to review all terms and conditions for Financial Aid package.
    • Important disclosures about your Federal Student Aid
    • Additional instructions for some students

    It is your responsibility to know and understand your responsibilities as a Federal Student Aid recipient as well as the terms and conditions for your Financial Aid.

    Processing time:
    FAN announcement e-mails are sent within 1 – 2 business days after your Federal Student Aid has been packaged. You may view the contents of your financial aid package online at

  3. Cost of Attendance

    Each year the Rio Salado College Financial Aid Office establishes standard student budgets based on institutional costs and estimated costs of living. These budgets represent an estimate of the Cost of Attendance for Rio Salado College’s Distance Learning Programs. The amount of aid that a student receives cannot exceed the institution’s Cost of Attendance.

    Two-semester budgets are based on 8 months of instructions represented by a 16-week Fall Semester Block and a 16-Week Spring Semester Block. Single semester budgets are based on 4 months of instruction represented by a 16-week Fall, 16-week Spring, or 16-week Summer Semester Block.

    By comparing the Cost of Attendance to the student’s Estimated Family Contribution (EFC), the Financial Aid Office is able to assess student need, and process financial aid awards in a fair manner for all financial aid applicants within the appropriate regulatory guidelines for each specific aid program.

    This budget reflects typical expense patterns for Rio Salado students in Distance Learning Programs. Some students will spend more than the standard amounts, while others will spend less, depending on individual lifestyles and circumstances. Eligibility for financial aid, however, is based on the standard budget allowances listed below – not on individual preferences and spending habits.

    Remember, to receive aid, students must be eligible to qualify for financial aid and be enrolled in and participating in an eligible degree of certificate program.

    These figures represent Fall and Spring semester blocks with enrollment of six credit hours or more AND Fall or Spring single periods of enrollment.

    View 2017-18 Student Budgets

  4. Satisfactory Academic Progress

    In order to be eligible for Federal Student Aid, students must meet Rio Salado College's Satisfactory Academic (SAP) policy. If you do not meet SAP, you will be placed on financial aid suspension. A student who has lost financial aid eligibility may only regain eligibility by meeting the minimum SAP standards. Any student who has lost financial aid eligibility due to extenuating circumstances may appeal. Appeals are approved or denied based on the circumstances that caused the student not to meet SAP. There is no guarantee that an appeal will be approved. Please see SAP FAQ's here.

    Processing Time:
    It takes 10-15 business days to review your appeal. Once your Appeal for SAP has been processed you will be notified by e-mail and in your Student Center messages of the outcome. Please check your student email account for more information. The outcome of your Appeal submission will be available to view securely online in your Student Center at

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why does it take the Financial Aid Office 4-6 weeks to process my Federal Student Aid?

    Rio Salado College's Financial Aid Office processes thousands of packages of Federal Student Aid each academic year. Each student's request for Federal Student Aid must be individually reviewed in accordance with policies and regulations of the U.S. Department of Education, the State of Arizona and the Maricopa Community College District.

  2. I already submitted my To Do items. Why am I being asked for more information?

    It's not uncommon to be asked for additional requests at this point in the process. These requests are made to correctly evaluate each student's financial need as well as their eligibility to receive Federal Student Aid. Sometimes there are discrepancies in the information that was submitted. Federal regulations require that any conflicting information identified be resolved before Federal Student Aid can be packaged.

  3. How and when will I be notified about the status of my Federal Student Aid request?

    Typically, a review of your documents and the assembly of your Federal Student Aid package will take 4-8 weeks.

Tips for Success

  • Monitor the progress of your submissions by visiting your online Student Center,
  • Keep all records of your information, such as fax confirmations and copies of e-mails. In rare cases, you may be asked to resend your information.
  • Read your To-Do List item summaries to get detailed information on requirements for the information you submit.
A student at the financial aid advising desk
Steps for Financial Aid