FAQs - Distance Learning

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FAQs - Distance Learning

If the paperwork is complete, accurate and we have the textbook available, you could be enrolled with a start date about two to four weeks after we process the paperwork. This allows time for registration and for course material to be printed and shipped to the facility. To admit a new student, we need the Student Admissions Application Form and self-pay indicating the payment and the certificate of study the inmate student will focus on prior to release.

No. Rio Salado College's Incarcerated Distance Learning Program is a print-based correspondence program. Courses are taught using printed materials. Assignments are sent to your instructor through U.S. mail.

Please review our guide for majors

Please review the course placement chart and contact IRE Correspondence program for more information:

Incarcerated Re-Entry Distance Learning Department

2323 W. 14th Street

Phone: (480) 517-8345

incarcerated.reentr@riosalado.edu

Individual class lengths

Classes range from 14 to 16 weeks, however classes are self-paced and students can move ahead in coursework to complete assignments ahead of schedule.

How long before I can register for another class?

A full-time student schedule is 12 credits or more per semester. Students can take one class or as many classes as can be funded, the student feels capable of completing and the corrections facility allows.

A student should be prepared to study at least 3 hours for each credit. For example a 3 credit class would be about 9 hours of study time a week.

Access to the internet is dependent on the correctional facility where the student is located. Most department of corrections locations do not have access to the internet.

Our program is dependent on the tutors that are available at the corrections facility where the student is located.

Students can write letters to their instructors and/or the Incarcerated Re-Entry department with specific questions they have about assignments. Please include your name, student identification number, course information, and specific information on the assignment such as the assignment name, page number of textbook, etc.

The Workforce Development and Community Re-Entry and Addictions and Substance Use Disorder certificates do not require proctor testing. However, once the certificate is completed, the courses for the associate degree component of these programs may require proctor testing.

Rio Salado College is an accredited college and maintains active transfer partnerships with regionally accredited colleges and universities.

See more on How to Enroll 

Complete the Student Admission Application (PDF) and the FERPA form authorizing us to work with a person the student wants us to communicate with regarding enrollment. If a student is enrolled in an onsite prison program and PV or Lewis, the SAA form may not be needed.

See more on Tuition and Fees.

Payment Methods

  1. We can accept payment for tuition, fees and books through direct bill through Native American Tribes, Veterans Education Benefits and non-profit groups that are interested in funding a student’s education. We also accept credit card payments from family members.
  2. Students enrolled in incarcerated correspondence courses are not eligible to be certified for VA education benefits at this time.
  3. Self-Pay form can be used for credit card payment, tribal funding payment or payment from a third party.
    Self-Pay Form In-State
    Self-Pay form Out-of-State

Students enrolled in incarcerated correspondence courses are not eligible to be certified for VA education benefits at this time.

While enrolled, students need to stay in communication with their instructor and the Incarcerated Re-Entry Distance Learning department.

Incarcerated Re-Entry Distance Learning Program, 2323 W. 14th Street Tempe, AZ 85281. Contact us at 480-517-8345 or incarcerated.reentr@riosalado.edu.

As per the course syllabus, students need to keep a copy of everything that they submit. That way, if your work is lost, you can submit your copy for grading. If you don’t receive your graded assignment or quiz results within two or three weeks after submitting it, please contact IRE and or your instructor.

You must complete all assignments in the course to receive a passing grade. It is possible that when sending assignments through three mail systems (Department of Corrections/Federal Bureau of Prisons, Rio Salado and United States Postal Service (USPS)) an assignment may get lost in transit. If an assignment is lost in transit, it is the student’s responsibility to re-submit the course work.

  1. Rio Salado College Student Policies
  2. Maricopa Administrative Regulations
  3. We also follow State, Federal and Private Department of Corrections or State Hospital Policies: depending where the student is located.
  4. Federal Bureau of Prisons policy
  5. The forms used by the IRE-DL program will also describe the process and policy followed for the process described in the form.

What's included:

  • Welcome packet with labels to send assignments to your instructor
  • Course Material (some assignments can be completed using the course material)
  • Possibly a textbook

How long should I expect to wait?

  • Prison Time: It may take 2 to 4 weeks longer for mail to be delivered within the prison system, depending how large the facility or system is. If the student inmate has moved within the unit, outside the unit or to a new facility, or other factors that occur in a prison environment.
  • In addition to operating in Prison time, assignments are sent through three mail systems (Department of Corrections/Federal Bureau of Prisons, Rio Salado and United States Postal Service [USPS]).

If your class materials do not arrive on time:

  1. The instructors teaching for Rio Salado College, Incarcerated Re-Entry Distance Learning Program are aware that materials and assignments may arrive late. We consider the courses open entry and open exit to allow for delay in mail.
  2. While enrolled, students need to stay in communication with their instructor and the Incarcerated Re-Entry Distance Learning department.

Students cannot always freely seek involvement in education programs within the prison and that in some cases some education programs are restricted to specific units at the prison. 

Students can choose to participate in the Rio Salado College Correspondence program and is available on non-restricted units.

  • ASU Inside-Out https://ccj.asu.edu/io
  • ASU Prison Education Programing https://english.asu.edu/research/community-university-initiatives/prison...
  • Arizona Western College – ASPC Yuma
  • Central Arizona College (CAC) – ASPC Florence, Eyman and Winslow
  • Cochise College – ASPC Douglas
  • Eastern Arizona College (EAC) – ASPC Safford
  • Pima Community College - ASPC Tucson
  • Rio Salado College - Career and Technical Onsite - Lewis and Perryville
  • Rio Salad College Correspondence – Arizona and Across United States MAPP programing
  • Gila Community College – Globe Unit