Financial aid •

April 12, 2022

American River College (ARC) financial aid: the complete guide

Read all about financial aid at American River College, including scholarships, loans, and grants.

Financial aid at American River College

American River College is located in Sacramento, California. The school began in 1954 when voters agreed to establish a junior college district in the area. The college’s campus first opened in 1958, and it became American River College in 1965.

ARC’s mission is to put students first and provide an academically rich, inclusive environment that inspires learning, critical thinking, and responsible community participation. 

As a public college, ARC’s cost of attendance is quite low, making it an appealing choice for California students. If you’re thinking about attending American River College, here are the things you need to know.

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A snapshot look at American River College 

American River College is a community college located in Sacramento, California. What makes it appealing to students is that it has a unique open-admissions policy. That means that students don’t need to worry about not getting accepted to the school. So long as you have a high school education and completed certain classes, you’re guaranteed admission to the school.

Students at ARC can choose from a variety of degree and certificate programs in subjects such as accounting, anthropology, art history, automotive technology, business, chemistry, computer science, dance, engineering, the humanities, nutrition, and more.

Outside of their classes, students can engage with ARC’s more than 45 academic, social, and recreational clubs or participate in 1 of 20 intercollegiate sports as a participant or a spectator. Students get free admission to all regular-season games.

ARC also has a vibrant arts community featuring galleries, a theater, and other on-campus events. With its low tuition for California students, it’s an appealing choice for those who want an inexpensive education.

Ranking: Not ranked

Size: 6,713 full-time students

Demographics: 53% male, 47% female

Tuition: $1,288 for in-state students, $11,840 for out-of-state students

Acceptance rate: 100%

Average GPA of accepted student: N/A

Key dates and deadlines (2022):

Application: N/A

Financial aid deadlines: March 2

A look at scholarships offered by American River College 

If you’re thinking about how to pay for college, one of the best things you can do is earn scholarships. Scholarships are like free money you can use for tuition and other college-related expenses. You don’t have to pay them back, ever—as long as you meet requirements like finishing your degree, etc.

American River College’s financial aid website has information about different scholarships that you can apply for. Using “The University Network,” you can find scholarships that match your strengths, making it easy to apply for the awards that you have the best chance of qualifying for.

These scholarships can award as little as 100–200 dollars to as much as $10,000 or more, making them a great way to pay for school.

Outside of the awards you can find through American River College, there are plenty of other scholarships to apply for. Businesses in the area, community organizations, and many other groups have scholarship programs that you can look for. If you just put in the elbow grease, you can find niche scholarships for pretty much anything you can think of!

Student loans

While scholarships are likely the best way to pay for college, most people find that they won’t cover their full tuition bill. Once you’ve exhausted your scholarship funds and college savings, the next best place to turn is student loans.

Student loans let you borrow money to invest in an education, but remember that you’ll have to pay them back, plus interest.

American River College’s financial aid programs site outlines the different loan programs available. One that may appeal to California residents is the California Dream loan. These loans come from the state, don’t accrue interest until you leave school, and have low rates.

Another loan program you can take advantage of is the Federal Direct Loan Program. These loans come from the US federal government and come in 2 forms: subsidized and unsubsidized loans.

With subsidized loans, interest won’t start to build up until you leave school. With unsubsidized loans, the interest starts building right away. That means you should max out your subsidized loans first.

Federal student loans are good because they are eligible for things like deferred payments, forbearance, and income-based repayment plans. That can make it easier to pay them back.

There are also private student lenders that will give students money to pay for college expenses. Unfortunately, these loans lack the perks that come with federal loans—no interest protection or forbearance for you. They also tend to have higher fees and rates, so you should make the most of your federal loans before considering private student loans.

To learn more about student loans, like repayment terms, check out our article on how student loans work.


Do you want as much financial aid as you can get for your studies? The most important thing you can do is fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).


The FAFSA is a universal student aid application that the government and schools use to determine eligibility for aid like federal grants, scholarships, and loans.

To fill out the FAFSA, you’ll have to work with your parents or guardians to provide information such as your family’s income and the amount you’ve saved to pay for college. The government puts the information on your FAFSA into a complex formula to determine your family’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to your education expenses.

Schools don’t look at your FAFSA when deciding whether to accept your application, so you don’t have to worry about financial need keeping you out of your preferred school.

You can start filling out the FAFSA on October 1 for financial aid awarded in the next calendar year. The deadline is the end of June for the FAFSA, but California has a much earlier deadline—March 2—for many of its state programs. So aim to fill out the FAFSA as soon as you can.

To learn more about the FAFSA, how to fill it out, and its deadlines, read our in-depth guide on the FAFSA.

American River College financial aid FAQs 

Still have questions about financial aid at ARC? Don’t fret. In this section, we answer some of the most common questions we get about student aid for ARC.

What is American River College’s cost of attendance?

ARC is quite an affordable college for in-state students:

Cost of attendance

American River College’s cost of attendance ranges from $15,768 to $24,508 for in-state students depending on their living situation. Of this, $1,288 is tuition.

Out-of-state students pay an additional $9,072 in tuition, increasing the cost from $24,840 to $33,580.

How many students pay no tuition at ARC?

American River College offers 2 years of tuition-free schooling to first-time, full-time students from California. Overall, students receive an average of $2,416 in aid.

Can out-of-state students receive financial aid?

Yes, out-of-state students at American River College are eligible to receive financial aid.

Universities like American River College that you might be interested in

If you’re thinking about going to American River College, you might be interested in these Cali alternatives.

Schools similar to American River College

California State University

If you’re looking to attend a larger school, but like the low cost of American River College, California State University may be a good fit. CSU is a large system of universities with campuses in San Jose, Chico, San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and other cities across the state.

More than 500,000 students study at CSU campuses, making each of the system’s campuses a strong choice for students who want to go to a larger school.

University of California

The University of California is another large public university system in California. There are campuses in cities like Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. You’ll have no trouble finding a campus near you.

If you like the idea of a larger campus than American River College’s but still want to pay a reasonable amount in tuition, the UC system might be a good choice.

Cal Poly Pomona

If you are technically inclined, Cal Poly Pomona is 1 of the world’s top polytechnic schools and is home to almost 24,000 students. The school focuses on applied sciences like mechanical and electrical engineering.

Cal Poly Pomona has earned a reputation for being highly innovative and is ranked as a top technical school in the western US.

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American River College is a good choice for California students looking for a strong education at a low cost. Eligible students local to the school can wind up spending less than $16,000 a year while getting a great education. If you find the right financial aid, you can cover a lot of that cost without taking money out of your pocket.

If you feel overwhelmed by this process, we’re here to help. With Mos, you can access the largest scholarship pool in America with just 1 application.

To get started, check out our website.

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