May 29, 2024  
BVU Academic Catalog 23-24 
BVU Academic Catalog 23-24


Requests for admission are considered by the Office of Admissions. Applicants whose abilities, academic preparation, interests, and personal qualities give promise of success at Buena Vista University will be selected for admission. Buena Vista University reserves the right to admit or deny admission based on criteria decided by the University that supports a positive and safe learning environment.

Each application for admission is given personal attention. Applicants are considered on the basis of academic performance, test scores (optional), and motivation. The character of the applicant is very important and qualities such as leadership, special talents, work ethic, community service, and participation in extracurricular activities also play an important part in determining admission. A personal visit to the campus is strongly encouraged and may be required as a step in the process. Buena Vista University does not discriminate on the basis of an individual’s actual or perceived race, color, religion or religious belief, citizenship status, sex, marital status, disability, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, military service or affiliation, genetic information, or age in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarships and loan programs, athletic program, and other University programs and activities, and does not tolerate such discrimination or harassment of its faculty, administration, staff, students, or visitors.

Storm Lake Application Process

Individuals may submit an application any time after completion of the first semester of their junior year. Transfer students may apply any time. Each candidate should follow these procedures to apply for admission:

  1. Complete and submit the online application for admission.
  2. Send a copy of your high school transcript, through the latest completed semester, to the Office of Admissions, Buena Vista University, 610 W. Fourth St., Storm Lake, Iowa 50588. If no high school transcript is available, please send GED or HiSET diploma.
  3. Test Optional: Students submit their transcript to BVU for review. If a student is accepted and then enrolls, he/she will be asked to submit any tests scores they may have for class placement. If the student has no test scores to submit, he/she may need to take a placement exam during Registration. Submission of Test Scores: Students who choose to submit a test score, American College Test (ACT) or the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) should have the scores sent directly to the Office of Admission. ACT or SAT scores posted on an official high school transcript are also acceptable.
  4. If there is personal information that has affected your past academic performance, please include this information on a separate paper and transmit to the Office of Admission.
  5. Freshman applicants and transfer students who do not have an associate’s degree must request their final high school transcript, GED, or HiSET diploma to be sent prior to the start of the first academic semester directly to the Office of Admissions, Buena Vista University, 610 W. Fourth St., Storm Lake, Iowa 50588.
  6. For freshman applicants completing coursework jointly through their high schools and a college, formal requests for transcripts need to be made with the college. Transcripts for any coursework completed through all post-secondary institutions as well as official documentation, such as AP and CLEP score reports, must be sent directly to the Office of Admissions.
  7. Any student who has completed academic work at another post-secondary institution is required to supply official transcripts of their academic work from each institution attended.

Upon receipt of the application and the supporting information, notification of the admissions decision will be forwarded to you. Your letter of acceptance will request that the following be on file in the Office of Admissions for final admission and permission to register:

  1. An advance enrollment deposit of $200. Priority for housing is based on the university’s receipt date of the enrollment deposit.
  2. A housing application form (resident students only).
  3. Your final, official high school and/or college transcript.

Admission of Storm Lake First Year Students

The Office of Admissions considers each application for admission based on the following factors:

  1. Certification of graduation from an accredited secondary school or the recognized equivalent.
  2. Rank in secondary school graduating class, plus cumulative grade point average.
  3. Quality of coursework taken.
  4. Results on standardized tests - ACT and/or SAT (optional)
  5. Character and motivation.
  6. Extracurricular activities in school, church, and/or community.

Admission of Storm Lake Transfer Students

If you have attended another regionally accredited institution, your cumulative grade point average and the quality of coursework taken (especially in your major/minor fields) will be key factors in the admissions decision. Character, motivation, recommendations, and extracurricular involvement will also be weighed.

Campus Visits

Prospective students and their families are encouraged to visit campus. Students may tour the campus, talk with professors and current students, attend classes, eat in the dining room, talk with a member of the admissions staff, meet coaches and/or co-curricular leaders, and discuss financial aid opportunities.

Students are welcome to visit the campus any time, but for the most accurate view, we recommend they visit when classes are in session. Arrangements should be made with the Office of Admissions by calling 1.800.383.9600 (toll-free) or 712.749.2235.

Guidelines for Transfer of Credit

Credit for all arts and sciences courses will normally be accepted at Buena Vista University from a school with accreditation by any of the following regional accrediting associations:

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Evaluations of past academic work will be made free of charge as transcripts of previous work reach our Office of Admissions. These evaluations are subject to change if official transcripts document different achievements.

Course credits not used toward a major/minor or general education are treated as electives. The actual number of transfer credits accepted toward the major/minor are determined by the Registrar’s Office, in consultation with the appropriate school dean.

Transfer Credits

A minimum of 120 credit hours is required for graduation. The final 30 credit hours must be completed at Buena Vista University. Transferred course work may be used to satisfy institutional course requirements in the major, minor, concentration, general education or elective categories. The actual equivalency or appropriateness of a specific transfer course for the major, minor, concentration or general education area is determined by the Registrar’s Office in consultation with the appropriate school dean.

Credits earned at a regionally accredited college or university will be eligible for review for transfer to Buena Vista University. The evaluation for transfer will include the following criteria:

  1. Relevance to the curricular program at BVU.
  2. Transferability of coursework will be determined by the Registrar’s Office in consultation with the appropriate school dean.
  3. BVU recognizes Associate of Arts degrees and selected Associate of Science and Associate of Applied Science degrees. Credit will be evaluated based on criteria described in this policy.
  4. Coursework from all other associate degrees will be evaluated on a course-by-course basis.
  5. While not normally accepted in transfer, selected vocational/technical credit may be accepted as elective hours after review by the registrar. A maximum of 16 credit hours of vocational/technical credit will be accepted. Credit from proprietary or non-regionally accredited institutions is generally not accepted in transfer.
  6. BVU recognizes successfully completed “arts and sciences” coursework and will make appropriate notations on the official transcript. Students are required to complete a minimum of 60 credit hours from a four-year (baccalaureate) institution and a minimum of 30 credit hours from BVU, therefore, a maximum of 90 credit hours will be applied toward the degree, of which no more than 60 may be from a two-year college.
  7. A student’s cumulative grade point average will include BVU credits only. Grades earned at other institutions are not reflected on the BVU official transcript.
  8. BVU has full articulation agreements with: Des Moines Area Community College, Indian Hills Community College, Iowa Central Community College, Iowa Lakes Community College, Iowa Valley Community College District, Iowa Western Community College, Kirkwood Community College, Metropolitan Community College, Minnesota West Community and Tech College, North Iowa Area Community College, Northwest Iowa Community College, Southwestern Community College, Western Iowa Tech Community College, and Moberly Area Community College.

Even though an institution is not on this list of articulation agreements in place, Buena Vista University will accept a maximum of 60 semester hours from any regionally accredited two-year institution, when the student has earned an associates degree, and a maximum of 90 semester hours from a regionally accredited four-year institution.

Veterans Information

BVU has been designated a member of the Principles of Excellence Program for educational institutions serving service members, veterans, spouses, and other family members.

BVU is a participating Yellow Ribbon Institution. More information about this program can be found in the Financial Assistance section of the catalog.

Information and assistance for all students concerning veterans’ certification of enrollment may be obtained from, and questions regarding tuition assistance should be directed to, the Business Office.

Veterans interested in admission/re-admission to BVU should contact the Office of Admissions to begin the process. Veterans are not barred from admission based solely on their armed forces membership. Those veterans that are interested in readmission after leaving service in the US Armed Forces will be promptly readmitted as long as 1) the student has given us advance written or verbal notice of situation, 2) the cumulative length of absence hasn’t exceeded 5 years, 3) the student submits written or oral notice of intent to return no later than 3 years after completing the service period or no later than 2 years after recovering for a service related injury, and 4) the student was not discharged from the military or BVU due to poor conduct. When a veteran is unable to resume their program at the same academic status as when they left, BVU will help the student become prepared to continue and complete the program.

BVU is in compliance with the Veterans Benefits and Transition Act of 2018. BVU does not impose any penalties; does not assess late fees; does not deny access to classes; does not deny access to libraries or other institutional facilities; and does not or require that a Chapter 31 or Chapter 33 recipient borrow additional funds to cover the individual’s inability to meet his or her financial obligations due to the delayed disbursement of payment by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

BVU generally recognizes the American Council of Education’s (ACE) evaluation and recommendation for credit for military education and training where those credits are appropriate for use toward a BVU degree. Submit your official documentation (DD214 or other military transcript of completed education/training) to the Registrar’s Office or BVU online office for evaluation by the registrar.

Admission of International Students

Citizens of other countries seeking to enroll at Buena Vista University are encouraged to apply for admission six months in advance of their intended enrollment date. In order to be considered for admission, you must submit the items listed below:

  1. A completed international student application for admission. We recommend students apply online at
  2. Official academic records with English translations from every academic institution attended beginning with the first year of secondary school. Records must include date of entry; date of completion; name of certificate/diploma received and certified copies of supporting documents (marks reports). Post-secondary education records must be evaluated for U.S. equivalency by an accredited organization. For a list of such organizations, please visit
  3. Proof of English proficiency to be verified by the results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) - Recommended scores: 550 Paper-based test or 79 Internet based; Required scores 500 PBT or 59 iBT. An equivalent score from another testing agency may be accepted (IELTS, STEP, MET, etc.) All students are required to complete an English diagnostic upon arrival. If the language of instruction in your secondary school or university was in English, the language proficiency test may be waived.
  4. A copy of your passport to ensure accuracy in preparing your admission and immigration documents.
  5. A certified statement of financial position with supporting documents from banks and/or sponsoring agencies. Bank statements should include the most recent six months of account activity.
  6. Students transferring from a U.S. college or university must complete an International Student Transfer Form.

All documentation must be original or certified/attested copy. We suggest that you fax or e-mail copies to our office prior to mailing:

Office of Admissions
Fax: 749.2035

Admission of Other Students

Former Students

A former BVU student who is returning to the university must submit a re-admission application form (available from the Office of Admissions) and supply official transcripts from any other colleges or universities attended. Students wishing to return after having been suspended from BVU must follow the procedures outlined in the satisfactory academic progress policy.

Graduate Students

Contact the Graduate Programs Office at 749.1000 or or see the Graduate Programs Admissions information in this catalog

Post Graduates

A graduate of Buena Vista University or another institution who desires to enter BVU in order to be recommended for certification, to work toward entrance into professional or graduate school, or to pursue new areas of interest should initially contact the registrar before applying for admission, and must submit copies of all college transcripts prior to admission.

Part-time Students

The university welcomes applications from prospective part-time students who desire to complete degree programs or to continue beyond degree programs. All such students must apply for admission prior to the beginning of the semester or session in which they desire to enroll and follow the same process for admission of full-time students.

Special Students

Unclassified students may be admitted to study for credit not leading to a degree. They may select courses for which they qualify, if approved by the appropriate school dean. Students should complete a special application for admission, which is available online.

Transient Students

Students working toward a degree at another university may enroll for courses at BVU as transient students, upon presentation of authorization from the dean or registrar of their institution indicating approval of the specific courses to be taken. The proper form to use for such authorization is available at the BVU Registrar’s Office.


By advance permission of the instructor and on a space available basis, persons who are capable of benefiting from university classes may enroll as auditors. Auditors pay a reduced tuition fee. Examinations are not required, and no university credit is earned.