Rio Salado College


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Frequently Asked Questions

Rio Salado College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The HLC is an independent corporation that was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. HLC accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the United States. Rio Salado College received a 10-year reaffirmation of accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) in Spring 2022. 


For many people who want to continue their education, the biggest obstacle to overcome is paying for school. It’s a major stressor for students: how do I pay for this? 

There are several ways to pay for your tuition at Rio Salado College, including: 

  • Financial aid: Grants, work-study, scholarships, loans
  • College scholarships
  • Payment plans that allow you to pay as you learn
  • Employer provided tuition assistance or reimbursement

For comprehensive details on financing and costs, visit Rio Salado's Financial Aid and Paying for College pages.



Students can complete an associates degree in as little as two years, but the timeline will vary based on students’ schedule and class pace.

Most Rio Salado online classes are 14 or 16 weeks in length. You have the option for the majority of classes to take the online class in a shortened, 8-week format. If you prefer fast-paced classes, this option may be right for you. However, the shorter the class length, the more time you will need to devote to your class studies.

The specific requirements can vary for programs. It is best to work with an academic advisor to ensure you meet the requirements for graduation. For example, the Associate in General Studies (AGS) degree requires 60-64 semester credits.

Students could also choose to complete a certificate in a variety of programs. Most can be completed in less than a year. Rio also has Fast-Track certificates that can be completed in as little as 20 weeks.

Rio Salado College has provided students with quality online learning for over 20 years. More than 250,000 students have trusted our accessible, affordable, accredited learning.

RioLearn is students’ online learning portal to the classroom. Students use RioLearn to access course material, turn in assignments and communicate with instructors. In addition, students have quick access to student services/helpdesks, library services, student email, assigned advisor, and RioCompass (Academic Tracking Tool).

There are no set times for classes. RioLearn is available 24/7, allowing students to read and complete assignments on their own time and learn at their own pace.


We value the work students have completed. Students may be able to apply credits from other accredited colleges and universities to their Rio Salado program. Students can work with an advisor for additional information after completing the admissions process. The first step is to submit official transcripts for transfer credit evaluation (for program seekers only) directly from the issuing institution to:

Rio Salado College
Admissions, Records, & Registration/Transcript Processing
2323 W. 14th St.
Tempe, AZ 85281

Student-submitted copies will be considered unofficial and may only be used for prerequisite approval and advisor review. If your official transcripts are being sent electronically from a third party company, please have them directed to

The vast majority of Rio Salado classes and programs are online. A few programs are held in person at the campus in Tempe, Arizona, or at locations across metropolitan Phoenix. For example, Rio offers a dental hygiene program with hybrid classes that include an on-site dental clinic. Locations offer Adult Education courses such as high school equivalency (GED® test  preparation), English as a second language and career training. Students in Rio Salado’s Educator Preparation Program are required to complete an in-person field experience in PreK-12 classrooms. On-site tutoring is available at a number of locations.


Check out Amazon Prime's series featuring Rio Salado

Hear how Rio Salado student, and now graduate, Jackie Elliot discovered Rio and the impact education created on her future. "Attending Rio Salado College made me realize that even with a busy schedule, going to school is a possibility." Her story was featured on The College Tour.