STEP 3: Receive Your Financial Aid

Processing Your Financial Aid Package

Rio's Financial Aid Office is required to process your request for Federal Student Aid in accordance with all applicable policies 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 up to 3 weeks to process your Financial Aid package, so please plan accordingly.

1. 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.

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 Financial Aid Notification 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:

Financial Aid Notification announcement emails 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 via your MyInfo.

2. Cost of Attendance

Each year, Rio’s 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’s programs. The amount of aid that you receive 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 your Estimated Family Contribution, the Financial Aid Office is able to assess your need, and process financial aid awards in a fair manner within the appropriate regulatory guidelines for each specific aid program.

This budget reflects typical expense patterns for Rio’s students. 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, you must be eligible to qualify for financial aid and be enrolled in and participating in an eligible degree or certificate program.

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

View 2019-20 Student Budgets

3.  Satisfactory Academic Progress

In order to be eligible for Federal Student Aid, you must meet Rio's Satisfactory Academic Progress  policy. If you do not meet Satisfactory Academic Progress, you will be placed on financial aid suspension. If you have lost financial aid eligibility, you may only regain eligibility by meeting the minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress 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 you to not meet Satisfactory Academic Progress. There is no guarantee that an appeal will be approved. Please see Satisfactory Academic Progress FAQ’s  for more information.

Processing Time:

It takes 10-15 business days to review your appeal. Once your Appeal for Satisfactory Academic Progress 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 MyInfo.

Before Your Aid Arrives

1. Review Your Financial Aid Notification

Review your Financial Aid Notification closely for instructions about any follow-up tasks that may need to be completed. You can view and act upon these tasks in MyInfo.

At this point, it is a good idea to review the financial needs required to support your education plan. Loans must be repaid with interest even if you do not finish school. Consider how much debt you are incurring, and decide whether or not taking a loan and the amount is right for you.

Rio packages an initial financial aid award with the Direct Loan maximum base amount; however, you may be eligible for additional loan funds. To request additional loan funds, you may submit a 'Request for Additional Loan Funds' form found in your award message.

Be sure to accept the portion of your aid package that you want to receive. You may decide that you do not want to borrow the entire amount of the student loan made available to you. You have a right to cancel the portion of aid you do not want to receive.

2. Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Notes

A student applying for Federal Student Loans must complete both an Entrance Counseling session and a Master Promissory Note one time while attending Rio.

Entrance Counseling

This quick and easy interactive counseling session can be completed online and provides useful tips and tools to help you budget and understand your loan responsibilities. Please visit StudentLoans.gov to complete Entrance Counseling. It takes about 30 minutes to complete.

Master Promissory Note

A Master Promissory Note is a legally binding contract you sign, agreeing to repay the loan money you have borrowed. The Master Promissory Note describes your rights and responsibilities as a loan borrower. Please visit Studentloans.gov to complete the Master Promissory Note. It takes approximately 15 minutes to complete it online.

3. Satisfactory Academic Progress

In order to be eligible for Federal Student Aid, students must maintain academic progress in accordance with Rio's Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy. Students who do not meet Satisfactory Academic Progress are placed on financial aid suspension and required to file an appeal with the Financial Aid Office. Students may submit an Appeal to have their eligibility reviewed. For more information about submitting an Appeal, please review the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy and FAQ page.

Receive Your Aid

Disbursement Eligibility Requirements

Once you have received your Financial Aid Notification, and completed all follow-up tasks, your Federal Student Aid funds will be ready for disbursement. When you are eligible to receive your aid, funds are disbursed to our office. Your aid will be posted to your account within 3 business days.

Before the funds can be applied to your account, Rio must verify that you are eligible, specifically:

  1. Your disbursement of financial aid will be processed after all of the following items have occurred:
    • You are participating in enough credit hours to be eligible to receive your disbursement.
      • Special Note to First-Time Student Loan Borrowers: There is a federally required 30-day waiting period from the time that your classes begin until you become eligible to receive the first disbursement of your student loan.
    • You have been confirmed to be participating in class
      • Confirmation takes place during the second week of classes. Therefore, funds for eligible students will be released during the third week of class.
    • Grades from all prior term courses have been posted.
      • IMPORTANT: Even if your participation in class has been confirmed, if your grades from prior term classes have not been posted, you will not be eligible to receive your disbursement.
      • All coursework must begin and end within your designated semester block.
      • All coursework from a prior semester block must be completed before you can begin participating in coursework for the next semester block.
    • You are verified to be making Satisfactory Academic Progress.
      • IMPORTANT: If you are not making Satisfactory Academic Progress and do not have an approved Appeal on file, you will not be eligible to receive your disbursement.

2. All student loans are delivered in 2 disbursements even if the student is enrolled in a                  single term (i.e., Fall-Only, Spring-Only, Summer Term).

  • The first disbursement will be delivered according to the guidelines listed above.
  • Subsequent disbursements(s) wil be determined by the weeks of instruction for that term.
  • For 8 weeks of instruction or less, the subsequent disbursement date will be the midpoint of the class’s start and end date.
  • For 9 weeks for instruction or more, the subsequent disbursement date will be the midpoint of that semester block.

According to federal regulations, you must receive your financial aid in two disbursements during a payment period.

Your Federal Student Aid will first be applied to:

  • Tuition
  • Fee
  • Other charges on your account

Processing time:

If you qualify for a Financial Aid refund, please allow up to 14 business days to receive it. Your refund will be processed through our Student Refund Program. Please review your student email account and Student Center for more information about this services.

Check MyInfo to track the progress of your Federal Student Aid disbursement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Tips for Success

  • Check your MyInfo regularly. When your package of Federal Student Aid is processed, it may create the need for additional follow-up tasks.
  • Read your Financial Aid Notification carefully. This letter will indicate if there are any follow-up activities you need to complete.
  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress.
  • Determine your financial need beyond tuition and fees, and decide whether or not you really need to borrow the entire amount of the Student Loans available in your package of Federal Student Aid.
  • Monitor the progress of your submissions by visiting your MyInfo.
  • Keep all the records of your information, such as fax confirmations and copies of emails. In rare cases, you may be asked to resend your information.
  • Read your To-Do List item summaries to get details information on requirements for the information you submit.
  • Make sure you complete all the activities previously listed on Rio's Federal Student Aid processing guide.
  • Plan accordingly. There is a federal requirement for first-time student loan borrowers to have participated in classes for 30 days before they are eligible to receive the first disbursement of a federally guaranteed student loan.
  • For continuing students, verify that grades for your classes from all prior terms have been posted.
  • Maintain your eligibility for Federal Student Aid programs by meeting Rio's Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.