Frequently Asked Questions about Financial Aid
Following are general questions students ask about financial aid. If you do not see the answer to your question below, please call Rio Salado's Financial Aid Department or visit https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa.
Primarily demographic and financial information about yourself and your household is needed. The FAFSA is based on the applicant's prior year federal income tax return as well as other household assets. Before you get started, be sure to collect the documents you need to complete the FAFSA.
Note: Make sure you have your MEID. Rio Salado College is unable to process your FAFSA information if you do not have an MEID. Obtain an MEID.
If you have already submitted a FAFSA and did not originally request that it be sent to Rio Salado College, do not re-complete the FAFSA. Visit fafsa.ed.gov, then:
- Retrieve your FAFSA record
- Correct the school code. Rio Salado College's school code is 014483
What's most important is that you do both. Which you do first is your choice. Applying for FAFSA is free. Don't get scammed by anyone offering a charge for this.
The Financial Aid Office is available to assist you by phone and through Zoom chat. In order to maintain our student's private information, we are unable to offer assistance through unofficial email communication.
See our Contact Us page for more information.
After You Apply
Rio Salado College's Financial Aid Office processes thousands of packages of federal student aid each academic year. Each request must be reviewed in accordance with policies and regulations of the U.S. Department of Education, the State of Arizona and the Maricopa County Community College District.
After you submit your FAFSA, the U.S. Department of Education processes it. After processing, you are able to see the results on your Student Aid Report (SAR). You will receive a SAR in the mail or by email (if you listed an email address on your FAFSA) after it has been processed, usually within a few days.
You cannot access your SAR online until your FSA ID information has been verified by the Social Security Administration (1-3 business days after you submit your FSA ID application).
- Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC): The amount of money that your household is expected to be able to contribute to your education.
- Whether or not you need to submit corrections to your FAFSA.
- If the U.S. Department of Education has selected you for verification.
- Any issues related to your eligibility to receive federal student aid.
- To Do List
It usually takes 5–7 business days for us to receive your FAFSA information, including:
- Whether or not you were selected for verification
- The types of aid you requested
- The status of your Expected Family Contribution (official versus unofficial) - the amount of money that your household is expected to be able to contribute to your education.
This means the U.S. Department of Education did not receive all the information required to calculate your EFC. Rio Salado College must have your valid, official EFC on record before your eligibility can be reviewed. To resolve the issues, review your Student Aid Report (SAR) for the information required to complete the EFC. If you don't have your report:
- Go to https://studentaid.gov/
- Click the Login button and then enter your information.
- Click Next.
- To view your application data:
- Select View or Print your Student Aid Report (SAR). (Note: Be sure that pop-ups are enabled on the computer.)
- The reason for your unofficial EFC should be listed on the Comment Section of the report.
- Contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243 if you have questions.
Check your Student Center for updates
It's not uncommon to be asked for additional information after you completed your To Do list. These requests are made to correctly evaluate your financial need and eligibility to receive federal student aid.
Sometimes these requests are made because there is conflicting information that was submitted. This must be resolved before federal student aid can be packaged.
To Do List items are requests for additional information that by federal regulation or financial aid Office policy, you are required to submit before a package of federal student aid can be processed. To Do List Items are found in your online Student Center.
Students selected for verification are to submit documents that verify items related to their household income. The Maricopa Verification Processing Center (MVPC) guides students through the verification process and helps ensure that the FAFSA information is consistent. For more details about the verification process, visit the MVPC website.Students submit information about their household income, household assets, and household size to the MVPC. Often, copies of the federal tax return transcripts are required. Insufficient or incomplete submissions cannot be processed and will be re-requested. If the submission contained all the required information, it would be removed from the To-Do List when it is processed.
It's a random selection process. If selected for verification, you and the MVPC will work together to verify that the information provided on your FAFSA is consistent. After your information is reviewed, the MVPC can process any changes that need to be made to your FAFSA.
More Information about verification
Due to the high volume of information that we receive, evaluation and processing of each submission can take 5-10 business days once your submission is received. Rio Salado College does not have a set deadline, however you should submit your application materials in accordance with the Priority Filing Deadline for the semester block start date you desire. Please plan accordingly.
Eligibility and Appeals
SAP is reviewed before the first semester block a student begins attending at Rio Salado College. It is then calculated at the end of each subsequent semester block. The student's academic history at the college and any transfer credits are considered.
- It is important that you allow for enough time between semester blocks to account for a SAP review before the payment deadline of the next semester block. SAP review typically occurs one week AFTER the scheduled end date of a class.
- If you know that you may not be meeting SAP standards, it is your responsibility to pay for your classes by the payment deadline. There is a short time period allowed for a SAP review. Keep in mind, if it is determined that you do not meet SAP at the end of the SAP review, any pending financial aid awards are canceled.
What are the minimum standards a student must maintain for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?
An extenuating circumstance is a situation beyond your control which prevented you from successfully completing your course(s).
- Documented medical condition or serious illness that prevented you from performing certain life tasks
- Documented illness of a family member that required your presence for a significant amount of time
- Death of immediate family member which impacted you significantly enough to affect participation in your courses
- Involuntary call to active military duty
- Documented involuntary change in employment conditions that prevented you from attending classes
- Any other extraordinary/emergency circumstances, such as a natural disaster
- Errors in judgment involving transportation, finances, academic ability, time management, computer access, etc.
- Lack of knowledge or misinterpretation of college policies and procedures
- Financial Aid not processed, not prepared for class, unable to afford books
- Dissatisfaction with course content or instruction
- Acceptance of employment or other activity impacting ability to attend classes
- Immaturity and bad judgment
- Being on a prior approved appeal and did not meet the terms of the appeal
It depends. You can make changes or drop classes within the drop/add period. However, if you withdrawn from class after the drop/add period, then you will owe a balance to Rio Salado College. View Return of Funds Policy
It may affect your eligibility to receive financial aid. All students who wish to receive financial aid must earn grades that meet the standards of Rio Salado College's Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy. Students are responsible for passing 2/3 of the credits attempted to remain in good academic standing.
You must return funds if they receive financial aid and completely withdraw from all credits attempted before completing 60% of the entire enrollment period for a term. A term is considered one of the following: Fall Semester, Spring Semester or Summer Term.
For complete details, see the Return of Funds Policy for Rio Salado.