Rio Salado College is a community college that serves more than 60,000 students. Rio Salado is one of 10 colleges in the Maricopa Community College District. The other community colleges in the district are Chandler-Gilbert, Estrella Mountain, GateWay, Glendale, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Phoenix, Scottsdale and South Mountain.
It offers online courses as well as campus courses at 11 locations in the Tempe, Arizona area. Programs at Rio Salado offer many choices, easy access, flexibility and affordability. The college also operates three radio stations and a radio reading services for the visually impaired.
Rio Salado College programs are popular with working adults, thanks in part to the support services available to online students 24/7. Rio Salado is also popular with new college students who have just finished high school, and adults who are re-entering college or seeking lifelong learning. Rio Salado offers many learning options including field based, hybrid, onsite, independent study, online, mixed media, print based, private instruction and more. Courses are available during the days and evenings, as well as weekends. Online start dates occur 48 times throughout the year.
Rio Salado offers 37 academic associate degrees, as well as transfer study programs for students who plan to transfer to four-year institutions to complete a bachelor's degree. Rio Salado also offers Certificates of Completion or Competency for many professional programs. Online courses are taught using the RioLearn learning management system.
Rio Salado College is considered a "Military Friendly School" by G.I. Jobs Magazine. Rio Salado is also considered a "Top 10 Digital Savvy College" in the U.S. by the Center for Digital Education and Converge magazine.
Rio Salado College was established in 1978 by the Maricopa County Community College District. Rio Salado had 8,000 students enrolled when it first opened, and 78 classrooms. That same year it established its distance learning program. In 1979, Rio Salad offered classes at Luke Air Force Base, and later developed an accelerated program for military students. In 1980, Rio Salado offered the first telephone registration in Arizona. In 1986, The "Rio Main" property was purchased. In 1987, Rio Salado established the Concurrent Enrollment program that allows high-achieving high school students to receive college credit for their academic work. Rio Salado recently celebrated 30 years of Learning, Innovating and Partnering.
Although Rio Salado College's academic calendar follows a semester format, the College has many open enrollment programs that allow a student to start a course or program at many times throughout the year for optimum flexibility. Students must select the starting "term" or semester of their choice when enrolling in their program.
Colleges and Schools
The academic units at Rio Salado College are divided into programs. There are more than 700 academic programs at Rio Salado.
Student services at Rio Salado College include:
- Graduation & Career Services
- Computer Labs
- Disability Resources & Services
- East Valley Veterans Education Center
- Helpdesks & Additional Assistance
- Honors Program/Phi Theta Kappa
- International Students
- Online Career & Job Preparation Center
- Veteran Affairs
Rio Salado College participates in events and specialty programs every year that benefit the community. Community outreach programs at Rio Salado include:
- Excellence in Education - KEZ 99.9FM
- KISS a Hero - KISS 104.7FM
- Spotlight on Success - MIX 96.9FM
- Valley Vibe - Latino Vibe 95.1FM
Rio Salado staff members attend several career and education fairs throughout the year to get the word out on how the college delivers education in new and innovative ways.
No varsity sports are available at Rio Salado College at this time.
In addition to its "Rio Main" Campus on West 14th Street in Tempe, Arizona, Rio Salado has online programs and six satellite learning centers:
Lifelong Learning Center
12535 Smokey Dr.
Surprise, AZ 85378
Rio @ Surprise (Communiversity)
15950 N. Civic Center Plaza
Surprise, AZ 85374
Rio East Valley
1455 S. Stapley Dr.
Mesa, AZ 85204
Rio Salado @ Northern
1715 West Northern Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85021
Rio West Valley - Luke AFB
7383 North Litchfield Road
Glendale, AZ 85309
RSC @ Avondale
420 North Central Avenue
Avondale, AZ 85323
Rio Salado provides learning opportunities to local, national and international communities, through its variety of online, hybrid, mixed media and onsite learning options. For more than 30 years, Rio Salado has been creating programs and developing partnerships with educational institutions, governmental agencies, corporations and other organizations to benefit its students.
The program list below is organized by areas of study. The programs that have a link will direct you to the program's profile page where you can learn more about education requirements and career pathways.
Get more information about the programs offered by Rio Salado College by clicking the request information to the right.
(C) Certificate or Award | (A) Associate's | (B) Bachelor's | (M) Master's Degree | (D) Doctorate (PhD,...)
Business and Marketing Studies
Computer and Information Sciences
English Language and Literature
Family and Consumer Sciences
Foreign Languages and Literature
Health and Clinical Professions
Legal Professions and Studies
Liberal Arts and Sciences
Mechanic and Repair Technology
Natural Resources and Conservation
Security and Protective Services
Transportation and Materials Moving
Visual and Performing Arts
Estimated Costs & Financial Aid
The average "out of pocket" cost of attendance, after any grants and scholarships are considered, is around $7,000. In order to calculate a more accurate and detailed cost of attendance check out their cost calculator here. The figures listed below are for informational purposes only and do not represent current or future tuition, fees, and expenses.
Tuition & Fees Information
- Annual tuition estimates are:
- State Residents: $2,000-$2,400
- Out-of-State: $7,800-$9,360
- Charges per unit:
- In-State: $84-$100 per unit
- Out-of-State: $330-$390 per unit
Financial Aid Details
The table below breaks down the types of financial aid, the percent of students receiving aid, and average amount of aid per student per year.
|Percent of Students||Average Amount|
|Any Financial Aid||84%||-|
|Receiving Grants & Scholarships||75%||$4,144|
|Receiving Student Loans||57%||$3,365|
Admissions, Academics, & Student Services
To help support students, Rio Salado College may offer services like:
- Online classes
- Night and weekend classes available
- Remedial courses
- Counseling assistance
- Work study style employment
Graduation & Transfer Rates
Community colleges often offer both career training programs and options for students to transfer-out to four year institutions, which is why the table below is so important, it compares this school against community colleges in Arizona.
|Rio Salado College||Maricopa County||Arizona|
Specialized Programs & Accreditations
- Dental Assistant Program
- Accredited by the American Dental Association, Commission on Dental Accreditation (since 2007)
- Dental Hygienist Program
- Accredited by the American Dental Association, Commission on Dental Accreditation (since 1998)
Other Technical Colleges Nearby
The list of nearby schools has been selected by researching which schools offer similar programs to Rio Salado College.
- Maricopa Skill Center in Phoenix, AZ (5 miles away)
- Dixie Applied Technology College in Saint George, UT (271 miles away)