Online Learning & Equality: Rio Salado College Hosts Bill Gates

“During my visit, I heard inspiring stories of students who are taking advantage of these flexible learning models to pursue degrees that can put them on paths to new careers."

- Bill Gates, co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Imagine that you never finished college…and perhaps never were able to begin. You now have a full-time job, a family to support, or both. The future is top of mind, as is the day-to-day challenge of making ends meet. Meanwhile, college costs continue to skyrocket.

For students whose options are limited both financially and logistically, institutions like Rio Salado College in Tempe, Arizona are within reach. An NGLC grantee, Rio Salado has been described as a “college without walls” in that it offers higher education at a massive scale: 22 full-time faculty serve 60,000 students, with the help of 1,400 part-time instructors who manage aspects of each course.

In a recent blog post, Bill Gates shared his thoughts on a personal visit to Rio Salado and the possibilities for making quality higher education options more accessible.

Gates’ visit focused on the college’s RioAchieve initiative, which is designed to target five intervention areas that support student success, retention, and completion—supported through technological innovations that allow them to be delivered in a scalable, sustainable manner.

Find out how such initiatives have helped one Rio Salado student to change his circumstances—improving life for himself and for his son:



Interested in learning more? Download this NGLC brief about Rio Salado College.


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