How to Transfer Credits and Finance Your Undergraduate Degree Webinar

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Learn more about how to transfer credits and finance your undergrad degree. In this webinar, Sean Levin, Director of Continuing Studies Admissions, and Miranda Cole, Assistant Director in the Office of Financial aid, discuss ways in which Rider University can help students better understand their financial aid and transfer credit options. You will also learn more about Rider University and how to apply in order to jump start your future today!

Transcript

AJ Arroyo:

Hi, good afternoon, everybody. Welcome to our webinar today on How to Transfer Credits and Finance your Undergraduate Degree, here at Rider University.

AJ Arroyo:

Today we’re going to be talking about different ways that we can help students understand the financial aspects of earning their degree, as well as transferring credit over from a combination of two and four-year institutions. So we’re going to be going over a lot of frequently asked questions, however, if you do have a question at any point through this presentation, make sure to use the Q&A box that we have available for you. If we can answer it within the presentation, we’ll go ahead and do that or if it’s a question that I see a lot of, we also have a Q&A session that we will be having at the end of this as well.

AJ Arroyo:

So just a quick rundown of today. We’re going to go through some introductions. We’re going to talk about Rider University as a whole. The best ways to finance your degree, we’re going to take a look into transfer credit and how that works. We’re also going to look at admissions requirements into the program, and like I said, the Q&A session.

AJ Arroyo:

So I’ll start with myself. My name is AJ Arroyo, I’m one of the Enrollment Advisors here at Rider University. I’m joined by Sean Levin and Miranda Cole. Sean, would you like to introduce yourself real quick?

Sean Levin:

Absolutely, thank you. Again, my name is Sean Levin, I’m the Director of Continuing Studies Admissions. I’m excited to join today and have this great conversation. I will turn it over to my colleague, Miranda.

Miranda Cole:

Thank you, Sean. Hi, everyone, my name is Miranda Cole. I am currently an Assistant Director in the Office of Financial Aid. I’m happy to be here as well and have this conversation with you all.

AJ Arroyo:

Awesome, thank you very much, guys. So real quick, just a quick rundown on Rider University. So were established in 1865, what does that mean? We have over 150 years of educating tomorrow’s leaders. So definitely we learned through experience, as far as what works, what may not work, and providing the best education for our students.

AJ Arroyo:

We try to keep our faculty ratios low, right now we’re looking at a 10 to one, so that way students make sure that they have a more personal experience so that way they feel like they have a real connection with professors. 97, excuse me, 97% of our full-time faculty do hold a doctorate or the highest degree in their field. So I know a lot of students are looking into the quality of education and the quality of the instruction. So, you can definitely rest assured that we’ve taken care of that for you as well.

AJ Arroyo:

Probably one of the most important things to look at when you’re thinking about where you want to go to school, Rider University, we are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, that is a regional accreditation so that’s something that definitely we are very proud to have.

AJ Arroyo:

Now, why would you choose to attend Rider University for your degree? Well first of all, some of our programs, the ones we’re going to offer, are going to be 100% online, meaning you don’t have to come to class, you don’t have to worry about dealing with traffic and parking and all of that, and it’s an asynchronous format, meaning we offer as much flexibility as possible. So there’s no need to be online Tuesday, Thursday, 4:00 every single week. If you’re a person that works better in the mornings or in the evenings, weekends, weekdays, as long as your assignments are turned in by the time that your professors expect them to be, then we’re all good.

AJ Arroyo:

Like I mentioned before with the small class sizes, we want to make sure that you have one-on-one access to our professors and your instructors, so that’s definitely something that we try to make happen for our students. You won’t be left out to dry, we have a team of Enrollment Advisors who work here to work with you through the application process. You’re going to have a dedicated undergraduate academic coordinator who’s going to work with you throughout the entirety of your program. So you’ll always have somebody there to reach out to if you’re experiencing any issues or if you have any questions, as far as like, what am I supposed to be doing?

AJ Arroyo:

Today we’re going to be going over the different financial aid options that we have available, as well as like I mentioned with flexibility, we have six potential start dates every year. So not only can you actually complete your school work on your own schedule, but you can decide to start for what works best on your schedule.

AJ Arroyo:

Now, at the end of graduate levels, students are able to transfer up to a maximum of 90 credit hours from a combination of two and four year institutions. We’re going to get into the specific of that a little bit later with Sean, but just know for right now, you can transfer in that max of up to 90. We also do offer something that we call Prior Learning Assessment, which is an opportunity for students to earn more college credit, which we can take a quick dive into that as well. Depending on the number of credits that you transfer in, a lot of students can actually end up completing their degree in less than two years. So I know that for a lot of students coming back to finish their degree, time to degree is a very big component.

AJ Arroyo:

What I’d like to do now is we’ll actually go ahead and transition, and I will pass things off to Miranda and we’ll start the conversation on financial aid and financing your degree.

Miranda Cole:

Perfect, thank you. So today we’re going to go over different ways to finance your degree. Students can finance their degree in many ways, however, our main source to look at students’ need and availability of different forms of financial aid would be our first bullet here, which is the federal, or the FAFSA, which is pretty much a free application. Students can apply directly on the FAFSA’s website and within that FAFSA, once you receive that completed application, we’ll be able to look at different options, such as student loans, which a majority of our students are eligible for. Then in addition to that, we could also look at other resources of financial aid that we can provide each individual student. So we always recommend that students apply for the FAFSA each year. Currently there are two academic years available out there right now. One for the current academic year, and then one for the fall start academic year. So that would be one biggest way to help finance your degree.

Miranda Cole:

Another options would be employer tuition reimbursement. This is available for students who have employers who are willing to provide funding towards their degree cost. This is usually either paid upfront by the employer or sometimes they would recommend that the student complete the course before they send in a reimbursement. So we still would always go back to that FAFSA being completed prior, because if you had to use both, you can do so and hope that at the end of the semester, the end of the course, your employer sends in the money and then your class would be covered by them. So that is another option if you have employers willing to do so. You would obviously talk to your employer and HR to find out if that’s possible, provider does accept that reimbursement.

Miranda Cole:

Then another option we look at are military tuition assistance, and VA benefits. So Rider does allow military tuition assistance to be provided for students. There can be either… there are different forms of them, they could be specific chapter fundings or just plain VA benefits, whether it’s from you or someone or direct relative. However, to review your options, you can actually speak directly with our veteran affairs office. They can assist you and walk you through all the necessary steps to take. Our VA office actually works hand in hand with our department, so we always try to ensure that students are on track to receive any eligible veteran assistance that they can qualify for.

Miranda Cole:

Lastly here, we talk about the Charlotte Newcombe Scholarship. This is a scholarship, it’s not money that you… you don’t have to pay back, it’s free money. It is geared towards a specific population of students. So there is an application for it and we actually have all the details and the criteria for this application on Rider’s website, or you could just Google Rider and Charlotte Newcombe Scholarship and it can come up with proper information, however, you could always talk to me or anyone from our financial aid office to help you go through that process as well. But that is another source of funding to help your degree.

AJ Arroyo:

Awesome, thank you so much for that, Miranda. So what I’d like to do now is we’ll address a couple frequently asked questions that we get a lot from prospective students. So you touched on it and where you were speaking earlier with, does Rider accept any type of tuition assistance? So whether that being the form of employer or veteran’s benefits or anything like that. So, that is something that we are able to work here at Rider, right?

Miranda Cole:

Yes, absolutely. Yep, so whether it’s grants, scholarships, outside scholarships, any of those resources that can help a student, we accept them.

AJ Arroyo:

Awesome. I heard you touch on this earlier, but can different payments be combined together? So can I use FAFSA as well as some type of VA or some type of employer or any combination of those?

Miranda Cole:

Yep, absolutely. Rider does specifically, we do look at FAFSA and then in addition to that, if there’s any other resources that students are eligible for, we’d definitely be happy to apply that as form of payments. We also can mix that in with a standard payment plan option, if there’s a small balance left over and a student can afford to pay out of pocket. So there can be numerous ways to help cover a balance, that just… like a one-way street there, so there’s definitely other options and if students are available for it, we will be happy to help assist them the best way possible with getting all of those assistance’s being applied properly.

AJ Arroyo:

Awesome, awesome. So how can reaching out to a Rider admission officer or anybody in the financial aid or admissions office, how is that able to help me understand my opportunities and options with financial aid?

Miranda Cole:

Sure, so Rider admissions and Rider financial aid counselors work hand in hand together. So if there was ever a question that a student would have and they went to their admissions counselor, so that advisor would be happy to either bring it to our department for additional questions or assistance with that, or they could sometimes direct the student directly to us. So either way, we never leave the student out there to dry, we always try to make sure that if it’s not one person getting them to the right department, it’s that person getting the answer for them to return. So it’s definitely a very hand-on-hand situation, so if they have a question that’s come up to them, then they will find their way to get the best answer. Sometimes you might even get an email, let’s say from me directly like, “Hey, I spoke to so-and-so in admissions and they wanted me to reach out to you.” So we definitely try to treat our students with that one-on-one individual aspect as much as possible.

AJ Arroyo:

Awesome, awesome. So how does Rider University help students apply for financial aid? Not just seeking out those opportunities, but actually going through and applying for them.

Miranda Cole:

Yeah, so we have a help desk that’s fully capable of assisting students with their questions. So if a student was let’s say on the FAFSA website and getting ready to go ahead and apply, and they have some questions throughout their application, then we are here to help. So we don’t necessarily complete any application on behalf of the student since there is personal information that’s on these applications. However, we can help assist with any other questions as far as, when am I to put in this specific question or something like that. So we do help, as far as guiding and assisting students. Like I said, the FAFSA would be their main, their first stop to getting assistance. Then once that is completed, then sometimes that works like a web. The FAFSA’s in the middle, and then things surrounding it come into play.

Miranda Cole:

So if we’re looking at veteran benefits or employer tuition assistance, things like that that come into play, we’re happy to help that student get whatever’s needed to get on track for payment.

AJ Arroyo:

Awesome, awesome. So how aggressive should students be in searching for scholarships? So aside from filling out the FAFSA application or the Charlotte Newcombe if you’re in that student group, how aggressively should students be searching for scholarships?

Miranda Cole:

Yeah, I always recommend that students go ahead and apply for as many scholarships as they can. It’s free money and it’s out there and if a student is eligible for it, then we will apply it. There’s sometimes scholarships that go directly to the student, maybe to help with books or other personal expenses not related to their tuition and fees. So these are things that I feel like are good resources for students to definitely take advantage of. So you can be as aggressive as you want to be. If you have five scholarships lined up, that’s great, but the more the merrier and even if it’s just one, every little dollar amount makes a difference.

AJ Arroyo:

For sure, for sure, as many of those that you can add up, it will all help in the end. Now, should students be considering the possibility of private loans to help finance their degree?

Miranda Cole:

So we do have students at Rider who do take on private loans. It just depends on what their overall cost looks like. So we don’t necessarily start the conversation with private loans unless it has to be that way, but for the most part, Rider does engage in other ways to help students finance their degree, whether it’s like I said, the FAFSA, any type of grants, such as federal grants, state grants if they’re eligible for it. Then we dip into private loans, the last case scenario.

Miranda Cole:

The good thing is, when a student files a FAFSA as stated before, they are automatically qualified for different forms… or they’re checked to be qualified for different forms of federal loans. So necessarily we try to upfront that before we touch private loan sectors.

AJ Arroyo:

Got you okay, that makes sense.

Miranda Cole:

Yeah.

AJ Arroyo:

For sure. Now, we’ve talked a lot about the options that we have as far as paying for school, but what are the actual costs of undergraduate tuition and fees at Rider University?

Miranda Cole:

Sure, yeah, so for the current academic year for the 2021 academic year, our tuition rate per credit is $510 for online students. There is additional fees that you would see applied, such as a technology fee or a distance learning fee, but that maximizes at about $85. So the total I would say for one three-credit course, you’re looking at about $1,615.

Miranda Cole:

I do want to make note that for most financial aid assistance, we do require that students be enrolled in at least six credits, so that would equal to two courses per semester. These rates can change year to year, so these are just our current rates, but that’s pretty much all you would really be charged for as an undergraduate online student.

AJ Arroyo:

Got you. So now, how can students use the tuition assistance? I mean, I know we’ve talked about we have the veteran’s affairs office, but how can students work with that? Another big question that we get a lot on the phone from veteran students is the Yellow Ribbon Program. Do we participate in that as a University?

Miranda Cole:

Yeah, sure. So to utilize the tuition assistance, sometimes it’s just a simple application. So if you’re looking at the FAFSA, you would just simply apply online and we handle the rest from there. For veteran benefits, the student would have to start that with… they could always reach out to our veteran affairs office to start that application, or more so just checking eligibility. So there is other documentation that they may require from the student just to check.

Miranda Cole:

But we are a Yellow Ribbon school, so if students are eligible for Yellow Ribbon, that is something that we can definitely contribute to their overall financial aid packet and make sure that any other veteran benefits are available to utilize. We will apply them as such.

AJ Arroyo:

Understood, well awesome. Thank you so much, Miranda. I really appreciate all that, I know these are some basic questions that we get asked. Again, if anybody has any questions as far as financing, feel free to throw those into the Q&A box.

AJ Arroyo:

At this point, I’d like to go ahead and transition and shift this over to Sean, who will talk about transfer credit and how all that works.

Sean Levin:

AJ, thank you very much. Yeah, a very common question that a lot of students have in addition to financing their education, is the idea of transferring of credit. Here are some really important higher level information that can help us review this policy and maybe allow us to talk specifically about you in the future.

Sean Levin:

Obviously Rider, as you mentioned before, can accept up to 90 total credits. The combination of these 90 credits must come from a combination of a two-year and four-year institution. An audit evaluation can be requested to see how many credits can apply to your desired program or multiple programs, well before you even apply. We love to look at your transcripts, whether they’re unofficial or official, and our hope at all times is to get this back to you as soon as possible. We did note 48 hours there but our ultimate goal at all times is to get this back to you as quickly as possible. Like I mentioned before, unofficial transcripts can be used for that initial credit review.

Sean Levin:

In addition to the traditional credit review and traditional credit, excuse me, Rider does have opportunities and accepts courses from CLEP, DSST, or other language exams. Internally here at Rider, we offer what’s called Prior Learning Assessment, or other known as PLA. It’s an opportunity to earn credits in accelerated fashion and a discounted fashion as well. It’s really geared toward their personal and professional experience. Finding out if you’re eligible for this opportunity, it’s two-prong. First and foremost, it’s the credit review, since each credit at Rider, the PLA credits will apply specifically as elective credits. If you satisfy this area from your prior credits, then we would not need to pursue this at that time, which is a good thing because you’ve earned those credits.

Sean Levin:

In addition, it occurs when you’re enrolled in the program here as well. To give you a better sense of the credit evaluation moving forward there, but the bottom line is, our ultimate goal here at Rider is to make the transfer review process as quickly and as seamlessly as possible. Also it’s free, so it really there’s no cost besides maybe some time. Our hope is that we can honor as many credits as possible from your prior coursework to aid in hopefully looking more into Rider and Rider’s programs, and hopefully get started here at the institution.

AJ Arroyo:

Awesome, thank you for that. So the same deal, let’s head into some frequently asked questions that we get when it comes to transfer credit. So first and foremost, Sean, what’s the process like, as far as getting credits transferred from a previous school into Rider?

Sean Levin:

I mean again, that’s a great question. So oftentimes as I mentioned just before in the last slide, it’s a submission of all your academic transcripts in your prior coursework. You might’ve taken classes at a multiple different institutions, different degree programs. Sometimes a two-year institution or a four-year institution or a combination of both. So at the credit review process, we do look to have every transcript. Again, these can be unofficial to start. Our ultimate goal is to be able to review credits towards your specific degree program.

Sean Levin:

Sometimes you might have interest in multiple degree programs, so we’re happy to compare these credits to a variety of degree programs to really see how we can maximize previous credits and see if you’re flexible based on degree programs. But our ultimate goal is to give you this credit evaluation and painting a picture as what it could be like here at Rider well in advance before you even apply.

Sean Levin:

Now obviously, we hope you like the evaluation and it aligns with your goals, so that the next stage and the next step in the process is applying maybe, or if you applied and been admitted, this is just the next stage in the process. Official transcripts will be needed if you decide to move forward with the application. Again, the official transcripts will confirm hopefully the previous unofficial credit evaluation, if in fact we were using unofficial transcripts.

AJ Arroyo:

Got you, so that result won’t be necessarily finalized until we actually have the final, official transcript from the previous school. Is that right?

Sean Levin:

It is technically, but in my experience and my 10 plus years here at Rider doing a lot of these credit evaluations, the unofficial transcripts often mirror the official transcripts, but for the sake of time purposes, we often like to get the official submitted… I’m sorry, the unofficial submitted quickly just so we can get through the process of the credit evaluation in a timely manner.

Sean Levin:

Some students take the time to submit official transcripts in the very beginning part of the conversation, which is great. That allows us to complete what we call an official transcript credit evaluation. So it really depends on what the student has on file and if we can move through some things fairly quickly, but yes, official transcripts are needed to make things “official.”

AJ Arroyo:

Got you. Now, how do older credits on my transcript, if they’re from many years ago, how do those affect the ability for my credits to transfer?

Sean Levin:

So there are some programs here at Rider, specifically one that I can think of in the business curriculum, that they do have a few limits and age requirements on some courses. Now, I say with an asterisks, is because there are times though that students will have a wealth of professional experience in maybe the corporate sector or in a business related field maybe in a non-corporate arena, but they lack either the educational coursework or excuse me in this case, the coursework on their transcripts are fairly dated.

Sean Levin:

So, we will work with the academic dean’s office to see if there’s ability to transfer in previous courses that are over let’s say the eight to 10 year threshold, related to the business curriculum. So again, the business curriculum does have a little bit of age requirements, but there are opportunities for students who’ve completed classes previously and combined it with maybe a profession resume and experience, where exceptions can be made.

Sean Levin:

Now on the flip side, there are other programs that there are online curriculum, like psychology, like liberal studies, allied health sciences, to name a few. These curriculums do not, and I repeat, do not have an age restriction on credits. So when having this conversation with students, some students are really looking and they say, “Sean I’d love to find a way to maximize my credits.” I’m going to lean on your professional experience to provide a credit evaluation or multiple evaluations, but really achieve my number one goal. In that case, maximizing credits.

Sean Levin:

A lot of our students will say, “Sean, I really want this business curriculum, however, I have some credits that are fairly older in nature. What are my options?” That’s where we talk about maybe the CLEP as I mentioned before. Maybe the DSST, or maybe the combination of yes, I completed this class but it was 12 years ago, but my resume speaks volumes. We all will speak with colleagues in Rider’s business curriculum and the business dean’s office to really hopefully see what we can do for the specific business related programs.

AJ Arroyo:

Got you, so definitely just making as much possible to transfer over within reason but just remaining flexible with that.

Sean Levin:

Yeah, exactly. We’ll do whatever we can. There are some obligations and some restrictions, but more so than not we have a good processes in place to maximize older credits if that’s a really important need for you.

AJ Arroyo:

Awesome. Now, is there a certain GPA or certain grades that we need within a course for it to be able to transfer over to Rider?

Sean Levin:

Another great question. So first and foremost, the course needs to be 100-level or above. So any remedial course, unfortunately would not be considered transferrable. So again, 100-level and above. In terms of a specific grade related to courses. So if a student is applying to Rider and they have not earned a previous bachelor’s degree or an associates degree and they’re coming with credits but maybe not a specific degree, associates or bachelors as I mentioned. You must have a C or better. I’ll repeat myself again. Students who are applying to Rider or inquiring about a credit review who do not possess an associates and or bachelors degree, then the grade must be a C or better.

Sean Levin:

Now, there are students who earn an associates degree, there are some students who apply with an associates and a bachelors and they’re changing fields and changing careers. We have some more flexibility in terms of the grade of being a D or better. So again, two types of credit review inquiries. Those who reach out and say, “I do not…” or those who do not have an associates degree and or do not have a bachelors degree, we’re looking for grades of a C or better. Those who have earned an associates degree or have earned a bachelors degree or both, then we have the ability to award grades of a D or better.

AJ Arroyo:

Got you. So getting into that with a few of the differences between having the associates or the bachelors levels. If I have a lot of credits coming from a two-year school, is there a difference in the maximum of credits allowed to transfer from a two-year school as opposed to from a four-year school, or a combination of the two?

Sean Levin:

This is one of the most important questions in this, most important information that I personally believe, because there are some requirements that Rider has or ceilings, that we can accept specifically from two-year institutions or also known as community colleges, or those from from a four-year institution.

Sean Levin:

So earlier in the presentation, we talked about the number 90. 90 credits is the max that Rider can accept when a student has credits from a two-year and four-year institution. So we have the autonomy to go above and beyond up to 90 when we’re reviewing transcripts that are from a four-year institution combined with the two-year institution. Some applicants or some inquiries have only a four-year institution credit or multiple credits or excuse me, multiple transcripts from four-year institutions. Then we can work up to 90 total credits. Students who just have a community college or just have a two-year curriculum in their past, we are capped below the 90, and that cap often correlates between what that specific associates degree program requires for degree completion.

Sean Levin:

So I’ll explain a little bit further. There are applicants who will apply to Rider or inquire about a credit review, who’ve been at their local two-year institution who have credits exceeding, let’s say 67, 80, but they do not have an associates degree. I repeat, they do not have an associates degree. We are capped at 60, 60 total credits if a student’s applying to Rider or inquiring about a credit evaluation without an associates degree and only two-year credits.

Sean Levin:

Now, the difference comes into play is if a student has an associates degree from their local two-year institution. If one has their associates degree, then we… the cap of community college credits for credits aligns with what that community college requires for associates degree completion. Traditionally from experience, and again this varies, but from my experience, the number of credits needed to earn an associates degree ranges between 60 and 66, maybe 69. Based on that number is what we’re now working with to transfer credits in. So it’s a review of what the community college requires for degree completion, but at the end of the day, it does exceed the 60, but it completely aligns with what the two-year institution requires.

Sean Levin:

That was a lot of information, so what my own suggestion is and I’m sure a lot of us have questions, is to always to reach out to myself or colleagues here at Rider, to talk about you and your needs and your wants and your academic history. So, I know that was long winded, so I apologize.

AJ Arroyo:

No, no, no, that’s okay. Absolutely, if anybody has any questions on anything that we go over today, we’ll have all of our contacts information available for you, so that way you can have that but please, feel free to reach out to us and we’ll be more than happy to clarify anything that we go over today.

AJ Arroyo:

So continuing on with some of these frequent questions that we get. Just having non-accredited credits on my transcript affect the ability to transfer those in?

Sean Levin:

It does, so in order for Rider to accept potentially any prior credits, it must be on a regionally accredited institution, from a regionally accredited institution, excuse me. There are institutions out there that are nationally accredited or specifically accredited for their discipline. Unfortunately, those courses would not be considered transferable.

Sean Levin:

Now, there is one opportunity for students to have these nationally accredited or professional accreditations evaluated by an organization called ACE, the American Council of Education. If ACE approves these courses and provides them on their specific transcripts, an ACE transcript and you submit the ACE transcript to Rider, Rider will accept these credits. But specifically if they’re coming from a non-regionally accredited institution, Rider will not accept them. So we oftentimes advise students to speak with individuals with ACE, the American Council of Education, to see about having their credits evaluated. Hopefully, having ACE apply them to their specific transcripts, if so, now that opens up the conversation for transferring of credit.

AJ Arroyo:

Got you. Now, when we’re talking about transferring credits and moving them in, how relevant does a course need to be, to be able to be transferred over? We know that different schools, especially in different parts of the country will label their courses different things. So what is it that you’re looking for when you’re looking to transfer course over onto a Rider transcript?

Sean Levin:

So the first two things that we look for are obviously the grade of a course and the level of the course. So we look for 100-level or above, and then we look for a passing grade based on whether it’s from a degree completion or just the courses within. If students meet their both requirements, then we look to see how it fits within their curriculum. Curriculums here at Rider, they have different components, whether it’s in your major in your electives and all throughout, our ultimate goal is to find a home for these previous courses.

Sean Levin:

Sometimes they might not fit nice and neat as transferring from let’s say an art history class at your previous school, to an art history class at Rider. But, there are opportunities maybe for electives. So maybe you’re pursuing that degree program that was completely different for your potential new program at Rider but your new program at Rider does allow elective credits or different general education courses. Our hope is to find a home for these courses, even if they don’t directly match from your previous coursework into your hopefully future coursework. So our ultimate goal at all times is to find a home for every single class based on these parameters.

Sean Levin:

Sometimes, most of the time it works. There are times where you satisfy a specific area based on the number of courses you’ve completed previously. So it’s really individualized but the theme that we like to advise to students is that we’re always looking to provide transferring of credit, especially if they’re satisfying the level of 100 or above, as well as the idea of a grade that’s approved as well.

AJ Arroyo:

Got you. So taking all that into consideration, will I know what classes I have left to take once I start in a program, or how would I find that out?

Sean Levin:

That’s another good question. So, when the initial review of credit occurs, not only are we reviewing your credits on how they transfer to Rider, we’re also advising how they fit into your noted or intended degree program or degree options that you’re considering. Our ultimate goal is that when we reconnect after the credit evaluation, you’re getting multiple answers. One of those answer is, how many credits we’re going to accept, as well as what type of courses as an individual, as well as a whole number of credits are remaining in my program. So we like to give the applicant or the prospect or the student in this case, all the tools to be able to make the decision for them well in advance. We believe that this process is extremely important when considering coming to school or transferring or pursuing a degree program. So it’s our ultimate goal to provide you with all the tools at that initial conversation piece so that you can make the decision best for you. If you decide to apply and hopefully get admitted and start, you understand from the very beginning potentially how many credits transfer, what classes transfer, and then on the flip side, how many total credits remaining in my program, as well as what specific courses can I take within my program that will align or fit moving forward?

AJ Arroyo:

Awesome, awesome, thank you so much for that, Sean. That clears up a lot of… like I said, questions that we hear a lot from students who are looking into starting these program.

AJ Arroyo:

What I’d like to do is we’ll move into the Q&A portion of our presentation. I have a couple of questions here in the Q&A box, but if you guys have any questions as we go through this, just start throwing them down in there, but we’ll just jump right in here.

AJ Arroyo:

I think this first question will be for Miranda. When should I apply for certain scholarships or otherwise? How long before I actually start the program should I be applying for financial aid?

Miranda Cole:

Sure, so if you’re looking at applying for outside scholarships, you would just want to double check what the application deadline is for that specific scholarship you’re applying to. So the good thing about outside scholarships is that whenever you get that scholarship, if you’re selected as a recipient, we can apply it at any time. So let’s say you start the program in the springtime but you don’t know the scholarship outcome until August. So we could definitely either apply it towards your past spring or summer session, or your upcoming fall. So it really depends on the scholarships and their criteria for where they want the funding applied to and when.

Miranda Cole:

So I always say if you’re looking to go to college, you just want to make sure that you’re always looking for those scholarship opportunities, and so that way when you’re prepared to start you have it all set and ready to go for that start date. So it’s up to you and that scholarship.

Miranda Cole:

As far as applying for financial aid in general, you would want to make sure that you’ve completed a FAFSA application at most, from the time that you apply through admissions. So it should be a double completion. So if you apply for admissions, you should also do the FAFSA so that way when we and Rider as a whole gets your information, financial aid could start their process along with admissions and give you all the information upfront. So that way, it’s not like a delayed reaction after you’ve been admitted into Rider.

AJ Arroyo:

Awesome, and yeah, a lot of great stuff there. So just make sure that when it comes to financial aid, you really just… there’s no such thing as too aggressive really, when it comes to looking for money for school.

Miranda Cole:

Correct.

AJ Arroyo:

Right?

Miranda Cole:

Yep, that’s correct.

AJ Arroyo:

Got you. So the same coin of that question but I guess the other side. What should I do if I want to start the program but my financial aid has not been approved yet?

Miranda Cole:

You want to reach out. So I would always tell students, never expect it just to resolve on its own. Always try to stay ahead of the game and making sure that if there’s anything outstanding or if you feel that you are still waiting on an answer, always call. It could always be something very simple or just a missed communication. So I always recommend that students reach out. We are available via email, we have Zoom. I mean, the options are endless, so we definitely… or, reach out to your academic advisor as well, and they could get you situated just to make sure that your financial aid is in place and that there’s no delay to you starting the program.

AJ Arroyo:

Awesome, awesome. I’ve got another question here, a two part-er. I think this one will be for Sean. The first part of the question is, how many classes are taken at one time when you’re in the program? The second is, how long will it take me to complete the program in general, which I guess would also bring to mind the total cost of the program. So yeah, how many classes are taken at one time? How long typically does it take to complete a program?

Sean Levin:

Good question, so I’ll start with the second part first. That oftentimes is advised case by case. So based on the number of credits that Rider can accept, will really dictate the total number of credits moving forward. Based on that number, we could start to drill down what’s best for each student. The beauty about what I believe Rider, it does allow for that individualized degree program. Some students have the ability from a time standpoint, from a financial standpoint, to take three classes, four classes. There are other students who end up taking two classes because they have financial limitations or they have a lot of off-campus obligations.

Sean Levin:

I always advise students to be really mindful of the limitations that they have that takes away from their ability to put into their studies. We all want to be done with our degree program, we all want to move quickly through this, but we also want to really be honest with ourselves and make sure that we’re doing what’s best for your studies and for your personal life, for your family and for your job, or the combination of the three.

Sean Levin:

So the end goal really, we’ve talked about the end goal in the beginning and we’ve talked about the finish line, but then we really bring it back to that immediate focus. We try to talk about short term goals and if we obviously if you started achieving a lot of great short term goals, it’s going to add up and you’re going to find yourself graduating and done your program and you had a great experience and it fit your work life balance and the financial balance.

Sean Levin:

That goes back to the first part of the question. That every student’s a little bit different. Well, in order to apply for financial aid, the students must… I know this is a Miranda side, so I apologize, but students must have at least six credits per term. So if you are in the ballgame and looking to apply for financial aid, that’s one of the minimum baselines. Now again, some students have the ability to take more classes, it’s really individualized.

Sean Levin:

What I do often advise and suggest and promote is definitely starting at maybe that slower pace, and then ramping up your program as you’re getting a little bit more comfortable with the balancing of school and non-school obligations. I always promote that because I’d rather that you as a student say to me, “Sean I wish I took more classes. I’m doing a great job in these,” than the other side of the coin where it’s, “I need to talk about options I have because I’m really struggling with all my classes, and off-campus is taking a toll as well.” So it’s really individualized, it’s case by case basis, but we do a lot of this conversation in the very part of one’s either entry or application or enrollment period.

AJ Arroyo:

Definitely, and I couldn’t have said that any better myself. We definitely recognize where students may be coming from that they want to get this done and under their belt as quickly as possible, but sometimes just doing it the fastest way possible may not necessarily be the best way. So, take your time, work with your enrollment advisors, with your academic advisors. That’s why we have people in place, to help make sure that you’re getting the best experience like Sean said.

AJ Arroyo:

Let me see, I’ve got a question here. How long does it take to complete an application? I’ll tell you, the application itself is not very complicated, it’s actually a relative quick application. What we need from you is the completed file, we’ll need transcripts from any and all previous institutions attended. If you want to get into specifics as far as what small parts you may need in that, that’s where I would suggest speaking with an enrollment advisor, but again, the application itself is not very difficult, nor is it a very long application to complete.

AJ Arroyo:

But there’s another question in here, at what point can we expect to hear back from a committee? So I guess Sean, the main question there is, once I have my application completed and it’s under review, what’s that review process timeline look like typically?

Sean Levin:

So it’s rolling admissions, so we look to get back answers as quickly as possible. So when an applicant has all their portfolio completed, our ultimate goal is to get that into the review committee. That review committee makes the decision as quickly as possible. So it’s really another individualized process, where the university is not waiting for certain days to review applicants. It’s basically continually checking and seeing, okay, if this applicant is still needing some information, let’s connect and say, “Hey, just want to let you know, we’re still waiting for his. If you can get this in at a time, let me know if we can help, we’re here to help.”

Sean Levin:

On the flip side, the minute that we receive a completed portfolio, we do look to make that review and begin the process immediately in the idea that rolling admission focus.

AJ Arroyo:

Got you, now I do have a question. Let me see here, oh no, we addressed that one, as far as how long it would take to complete my studies. Awesome, well listen, I’ll give a quick last call for questions in the Q&A box, I’ll give you about a minute or so here. Type in any questions that you might have. I’ll leave that open for a quick second.

AJ Arroyo:

(silence)

AJ Arroyo:

All right, doesn’t look like anything’s coming in here. That’s okay, if you guys realize that you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us by phone at 877-856-5140. You can reach out to us by email directly at admissions@online.rider.edu, or you can use the Live Vcita link here on this page to schedule an appointment with an admissions and enrollment advisor to go over those specific questions that you might have.

AJ Arroyo:

Thank you so much, Sean and Miranda, for joining us and giving us a lot of great information. Thank you everybody for joining us, and everybody have a great day.