Thursday, August 27, 2015

New Student 101: Need to Know Terms

photo of Rio Salado Tempe headquarters

Monday starts, Block Calendar and other systems that are unique to Rio Salado can be a bit confusing, especially if you’re not familiar with the related terminology. Here are a list of words and phrases that will help new students understand what they must do to meet academic, registration and financial aid requirements.

Academic Program
A prescribed series of classes designed for a specific degree, certificate, or other credential. See your Academic Advisement team for support.

  • Program Seeker – Students who have declared a Rio Salado certificate, degree or transfer program in my.maricopa.edu, ESF (Electronic Student File) or by meeting with an advisor.
  • Non-Program Seekers – Students who take classes for personal or professional gain, to supplement a degree program at another college or university and students who have not declared a Rio Salado certificate, degree or transfer program.

Satisfactory Academic Progress
To keep your financial aid, you must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress, which is measured by three criteria: Progress, Grade Point and Maximum Time-frame. Here’s a clever video to introduce you to this concept and what these terms mean. Visit your Financial Aid team for more details.



Block Calendar System
Unique to Rio Salado College, the block calendar system uses semester blocks to provide students with flexibility in class scheduling. The importance of you understanding how this system works is critical to your success at Rio Salado. Here is an introductory video that makes it easier to understand this system. 



  • Academic Terms – Like traditional semesters at other colleges, Rio Salado has fall, spring and summer terms.
  • Semester Block – Each Academic Term is divided into Semester Blocks, with a definitive start and end date. Students choose a block that works best with their schedules and complete classes within the specified time-frame. Semester Blocks must be completed within a specified Academic Term.
  • Term Block – Synonymous with Semester Blocks.
  • Class Start Date – When a class begins, which is typically Monday. Students can choose multiple class start dates within their Semester Block, as long as they complete all classes by the Semester Block end date.
  • Class End Date – The last day course materials can be can be submitted.
  • Monday Starts - When Academic Terms, Semester Blocks and most classes begin.
  • Out of Block – Classes that do not start and end within a Semester Block, which will automatically be dropped if not completed by a student’s Semester Block end date. 

This Block Calendar Planning Tool will help you determine which Academic Term, Semester Block and Class Start Dates will work best for you!  If you need additional support, call on your Admissions and Records team.

Visit our student orientation web pages for more student success tools.