Monday, June 25, 2012

Save Money on Tuition at Rio

Getting an education and being on a pathway to having a more successful and lucrative career is becoming more and more accessible to people yet, the financial strain of achieving a college education is rapidly increasing.
From 2000 to 2009 spending for post-secondary education by Americans increased by 42 percent, and according to the College Board tuition increases rose by another six percent in the past year.
As reported by CNN, the average cost nationally including room and board for a four-year public university with in-state tuition costs was $21,447. Costs for the Arizona’s in-state public universities compare to the national average at $24,000 a year for Arizona State University and the University of Arizona and more than $20,000 for Northern Arizona University.
The tuition cost, for an in-state student attending one of Arizona’s public universities for a year averages around $9,500 a year based on two 15-credit semesters according to the Arizona Board of Regents. The cost of attending a private institution in Arizona such as Grand Canyon University averages out to about $16,500 a year.
A year of tuition at Rio Salado College based on two 15-credit hour semesters is only $2,280 a year.
For many students, living at home to reduce expenses and attending a community college for the first two years is an attractive option in order to reduce the amount of expenses for a college education. Earning an associate degree at a community college provides easier transition and an affordable option for students who want to start their college education but aren’t ready for the university campus life. Attending a community college such as Rio Salado, is also beneficial for new college students who are unsure of what major and career path they want to pursue, as it offers the same general education courses any degree requires in the first two years of college, at a discounted rate.
Rio Salado College also has strong partnerships and transferability articulation agreements with all of the in-state universities as well as many others around the country. This makes it a great stepping stone on the path for students who dream of receiving their college degree from a four-year institution such as ASU, the university of Arizona or NAU.
In all, the first two years of education at Rio Salado College Online costs a student around $4,560. Two years of education at a public Arizona university cost a student around $19,000 in tuition and $40,000 to $50,000 with housing, a meal plan and all other expenses included.
This is why choosing the community college path at a school like Rio Salado College is a smart decision for students are looking to save money on college expenses.
Recent Rio Salado College graduate Leann Hancock says the low costs and flexibility allowed her to succeed, “The affordable tuition and versatile learning opportunities helped me achieve my career goals, and I am a better mother, sister, friend and member of society as a result of what I’ve learned.”
The accessibility, flexibility and affordability of Rio Salado College’s online courses not only allow a student to save a large sum of money on tuition and living expenses their first few years of college by living at home, but also enables them to save some gas expenses by not having to travel to and from campus. Not to mention the need to take out student loans to pay for their schooling, an increasingly scary proposition with a possible student loan interest rate hike looming in the near future.

By Ryan Bawek, PR Intern at Rio Salado College
Article published in Tempe Republic on June 23

Friday, June 22, 2012

New Online Public Speaking Course at Rio

According to a Gallup poll, public speaking is the second greatest fear for Americans, behind snakes. As surprising as it may be, the ability to have confidence when speaking in front of a crowd is a rare commodity.

Students can now learn how to be an effective public speaker in the comfort of their own home. Rio Salado College is offering public speaking courses online. Although some may say it’s unusual to learn how to speak in front of a group of people without having to actually go up in front of a classroom, that’s not the case with modern technology according to Rio Salado College Social Sciences Faculty Chair Patricia Case.

“Corporations conduct business meetings online utilizing cameras, microphones and meetings space, “ she said. “ People upload video and audio content to the web all the time. With today’s technology not offering an online version of public speaking would be imprudent.”

The course works much like the conventional version in that students receive the same lessons and speech material. Students utilize an online private video hosting service to upload their seven required speeches and 10 weekly audio journals for the class. Students are required to deliver their speech in front of an audience of at least three and only faculty and other students enrolled in the class are able to view the material.

“As innovations have allowed for us to mirror the in person aspect of learning, public speaking online is one of those classes that benefits from online innovations,” said Case.

Taking a public speaking class online even has some advantages over taking a course in a traditional setting.

“One area the online version of this course is more beneficial is the detailed feedback the student receives, Case said. The faculty member can literally pause the speech and comment on a specific speech element and time-stamp that element so the speaker and the other students can see an example of a concept being used correctly. Also, with the ability to pause a speech in progress, the faculty member can more adequately comment on all aspects of the speech delivery in a thoughtful and systematic fashion."

The convenient learning environment of an online class also allows students to learn how to become effective and confident public speakers in their own time and at their own pace, which is especially useful in a stressful class such as public speaking.

Case also says the personalized attention and guidance the online model of the class affords a student is very beneficial to the learning process. “It is as if they are receiving a personal speaking coach instead of a speech instructor. In the corporate world, people pay big money for speaking coaches.”

By Ryan Bawek, PR intern at Rio Salado College
Article published in the Ahwatukee and Chandler Republic June 16th

Monday, June 18, 2012

Communiversity Director Named Leadership West Alumnus of the Year

Todd Aakhus, director of community partnerships at Rio Salado College, has recently been named Leadership West’s 2012 Alumnus of the Year.

Leadership West, a non-profit organization promoting active citizenship in the West Valley, recognized Aakhus as a visible and successful leader.

“I feel a great sense of purpose in the work I’m doing,” Aakhus said. “Locally-accessible education is a foundation for improving every aspect of the community.”

Through his work with the Communiversity at Surprise, Aakhus facilitates collaborative relationships that make higher education accessible to the city of Surprise and students in surrounding communities.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Rio Student on the Trail to Talbots Scholarship

Sandra Garayzar, a Rio Salado College honor’s student recently received a $10,000 scholarship from the Talbots Women’s Scholarship Program. Garayzar is one of only 17 applicants to receive this award. Scholarship recipients were selected upon criteria which include the student’s academic record, an essay, high potential to succeed, leadership skills, participation in community activities, and recommendations. Established in 1997, the program has awarded more than $1 million. Its goal is to encourage women to achieve higher education later in life.  

“The Talbot's scholarship is making a difference not only in my life but in the lives of my family,” added Garayzar. “The scholarship would have never happened had it not been for the solid academic foundation I received at Rio Salado.” 

After her business shut-down, Garayzar decided to reinvent herself. Although she was filled with insecurities about her age and the struggle to start an education after years of not attending school, the college gave her the encouragement she needed.

“Being an older student I have to juggle many responsibilities not to mention that many years had passed since I last attended school. Rio Salado's flexibility allowed me to start slowly with the course load and increase the load,” said Garayzar.

According to Garayzar her instructors and advisors took the time to address her needs and provide additional help. Their guidance challenged her to delve deeply into her studies which resulted in the opportunity to flourish academically. She looked forward to attending weekly seminars and was grateful for Rio professors, Peter Myers and Dr. Wilkinson who helped her succeed.

Jacque Beale, the manager of career services, and John Bastian, the coordinator of student services, were also both crucial to her success. As a mother of two with many responsibilities, Garayzar relied on Beale to help her maintain focus on academics. This allowed her to complete an associate degree in less than two years. With additional support from Bastian she decided to apply to Grand Canyon University. She compared Bastian to an academic GPS, answering all her questions within minutes. 

Garayzar will go on to pursue a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in substance abuse counseling. Her long-term goal is to create a foundation where counselors can travel with young people in drug rehab along the ancient 500 mile El Camino de Santiago trail in Europe. She believes this journey is the catalyst for significant positive changes in life perspectives.

She described the rehabilitation method by saying, “When a young person is told that they have to remain sober the rest of their lives it is an overwhelming thought; in the same way, when a young person is told they will walk 500 miles in a month, they are overwhelmed but they do both, one step at a time, one day at a time, achieving something extraordinary.”

Garayzar has achieved something extraordinary herself. It will be interesting to see where the Talbot scholarship will take her. 

By Patricia Oliverio-Lauderdale, PR Intern at Rio Salado College
Article published in the Tempe Republic June 9