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

Financial Assistance

For a full description of financial aid policies and aid sources for Storm Lake students, please visit our Guide to Financing Your BVU Education ( Buena Vista University provides financial assistance to qualified students through scholarships, grants, loans, and work opportunities. Nearly 100 percent of our students receive financial aid. The university awards and disburses money from the federal government, the State of Iowa, private donors, and Buena Vista University. This financial aid comes in three forms:

  1. Gift aid is grants or scholarships that do not have to be repaid.
  2. Loans are made to students at low interest rates and must be repaid, but generally after the student has completed his or her education.
  3. Work opportunities are often awarded to students through special programs that provide jobs on or off-campus during times of enrollment.

A financial aid award may include any or all of these types of assistance. For more information on any aid program, request a Points to Remember brochure from the Office of Financial Assistance.

Specific information concerning financial aid for BVU online students may be found in the BVU Online Program section.

Financial Assistance Application

To apply for financial assistance:

  1. Complete and submit the application for admission to Buena Vista University.
  2. Provide all necessary items to the Office of Admission and be accepted to Buena Vista University as a degree-seeking student in a financial aid eligible program.
  3. As soon after Oct.1 as possible, complete and file an application for financial aid. The application can be found at
  4. By completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) correctly, students are applying for all federal, state, and institutional aid sources available. Some forms of aid may require additional information or an application.
  5. Students must reapply for financial aid each year they expect to attend Buena Vista University and request consideration for need-based aid.

General Eligibility Guidelines

To be eligible to receive federal aid, a student must meet the following requirements:

  1. Have financial need, unless otherwise indicated. Financial need will be determined using the information reported on a free needs analysis document (FAFSA) and the following formula: cost of education - family contribution = financial need
  2. Have a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent.
  3. Be enrolled as a regular student (students who are not degree seeking are not regular students).
  4. Be enrolled at least half-time, although some aid sources require full-time enrollment, and others will provide aid for less than half-time enrollment.
  5. Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  6. Make satisfactory academic progress.
  7. Be current on all previously borrowed educational loans.
  8. Release the FAFSA information to BVU while still enrolled. Some forms of federal aid require a June 1 application receipt date to be eligible for consideration.
  9. Other verification items may be needed before aid may be provided.

To be eligible to receive state aid, a student must meet the following requirements:

  1. Demonstrate financial need unless otherwise noted in the program description.
  2. Meet Iowa residency standards and be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  3. Make satisfactory academic progress.
  4. Apply by the July deadline, when applicable.
  5. Be current on all previously borrowed educational loans.

Enrollment Status

Enrollment status in the undergraduate program for all aid programs will be determined by actual enrollment each semester. Full-time = 12 or more credits/semester; three-quarter time = 9-11 credits/semester; half-time = 6-8 credits/semester; and less than half time = less than 6 credits/semester.

If a student repeats a course for which academic credit was previously earned, that course credit cannot be completed a third time and be counted towards enrollment status for purposes of federal or state financial aid eligibility. Passed courses (D- or better) can only count in enrollment status for one additional attempt.

Students are not eligible to receive federal or state aid for coursework that is not required for degree completion, therefore, students should carefully plan their enrollment.

Gift, Grants and Financial Aid Assistance

Information about federal grants and awards like the Federal Pell Grant, the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), the Robert C. Byrd Scholarship, the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant, can be found on the BVU web page:

Information about Iowa state grants and awards like the Iowa Tuition Grant, the Iowa National Guard Education Grant, the Iowa Education and Training Voucher, the All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship, the Future Ready Iowa You Can Go Back Grant, and other Iowa gift aid programs can be found on the BVU web page: Students from states other than Iowa should check with the proper agency in their state to receive information on availability of state-sponsored scholarships or grants.

Information about BVU institutional scholarships available to new first-year Storm Lake students at Buena Vista University can be found on the BVU web page:

Information about BVU institutional scholarships available to Storm Lake transfer students at Buena Vista University can be found on the BVU web page:

Information about BVU institutional scholarships and grants available to returning Storm Lake students at Buena Vista University can be found on the BVU web page:

Information about outside scholarships and grants available to returning Storm Lake students at Buena Vista University can be found on the BVU web page:

BVU’s Strategic Partnerships Division offers education partner grants to employees of university partners. Spouses/domestic partners and dependents (to age 26) of full-time partner employees are also eligible. This grant is for up to $2000 annually to attend BVU in Storm Lake. For a complete list of current partner employers and application steps, visit our website at

Vocational Rehabilitation benefits are available for students with physical disabilities or handicaps which impede pursuit of gainful employment or threaten continued employment. Requests for information should be made to the local Office of the Vocational Rehabilitation Bureau. Financial need is not a determining factor.

Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) awards. A resident ROTC participant, who is ROTC Scholarship eligible, will receive a grant from the university to cover up to a standard room and board charge. The total of all aid received (including Federal Pell Grant, and outside scholarship) will never be more than direct costs.

Yellow ribbon program awards. We are a participating yellow ribbon institution. Any student eligible for benefits at 100 percent (except spouses), will receive a grant from the university for any tuition charge not covered through the yellow ribbon program. The recipient will also likely received a monthly housing stipend and an allowance for books. Financial assistance which has been awarded through the university is subject to change upon receipt of these other forms of assistance. The receipt of aid/benefits that pay all or a large portion of a student’s direct charges will affect institutional gift aid previously awarded.

Availability of Funds for Study Abroad

Students who are interested in study abroad opportunities may receive financial assistance if eligible. Information is available on the BVU web page:

Work Opportunities

The university’s federal work-study program provides employment opportunities to students who show financial need. Funds are provided by the federal government and BVU, and are awarded as part of the financial aid package. Most student work contracts call for four to ten hours of work per week. Work schedules are arranged after the student’s class schedule has been determined to avoid conflict with classes. Currently, positions are available both on- and off-campus. Students will be paid, by check, at two-week intervals. See the Financial Assistance Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for academic renewal requirements. Priority deadline date for FAFSA filing is June 1. For additional eligibility requirements, please request a copy of the Federal CWS Awarding Policy.

Academic Assistantships are awarded to academically exceptional full-time students without regard to financial need and are designed to provide academic experience outside of the classroom. If you have been selected for one of these positions, you may receive valuable experience working closely with faculty on teaching, research or other projects. A 3.2 or better CGPA is required for consideration.

The university also provides referrals for a variety of part-time jobs in the community. These jobs are available to all students and financial need is not a factor.

Students will be asked to sign a contract that will further explain their terms of employment.

Low-Interest Loans

Loans provide students with an opportunity to defer part of the cost of education by borrowing now and repaying later at a reduced rate of interest. However, before deciding whether to accept or pursue a loan, you should carefully read the following section. We urge you not to take a loan for an amount larger than necessary. We also encourage you to consider both part-time employment and cutting down on expenses as ways of keeping your aggregate loan debt to a minimum. A student may access their federal student loan borrowing history at

Federal Direct Stafford Loans are federally funded and are available to students enrolled at least half-time in college. The federal government offers loans with an interest subsidy, for those students who show financial need, and loans without an interest subsidy. If eligible for the interest subsidy, the government will pay the interest on the loan for the student borrower while enrolled on at least a half-time basis. If eligible for an unsubsidized loan, the student will be responsible for interest accrual while in college as well as principal and interest after they are no longer enrolled at least half-time, but you may defer payment of that interest until you leave school. Repayment of principal and interest will normally begin after a six-month grace period.

An application for financial aid (FAFSA) must be submitted to determine eligibility for either loan source. Interested students must also complete a Federal Direct Stafford Loan Master Promissory Note, prior to the first semester of borrowing, regardless of the type of Direct Loan for which the student is eligible. After signing the Master Promissory Note for the first time, a subsequent signature will normally not be required for additional borrowing. Loan proceeds, minus an origination fee, will be received by the university and credited to the student’s account each semester. First year dependent students will be eligible for a total of $5,500 a year, sophomores $6,500 a year, and juniors and seniors $7,500 a year. These totals represent the maximum that can be borrowed in a combination of the subsidized and unsubsidized loans. The interest rate for new loans borrowed after July 1, 2023 will be 5.50%. The interest rate on subsidized loans varied in prior years, as did eligibility for interest subsidy during the student’s grace period.

Since this is a loan, any amount borrowed will have to be repaid with future earnings. Borrowers are normally allowed 10 years to repay; different repayment plans are available. The aggregate maximum that may be borrowed for an undergraduate program is $31,000 for a dependent student and $57,500 for an independent student, with no more than $23,000 of this being subsidized. As evidenced by the repayment schedule, monthly repayment can be affordable. See the Financial Assistance Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for academic renewal requirements.

Additional Federal Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loans of up to $4,000 a year may be available to first- or second-year self-supporting students or first- or second-year dependent students whose parents have been denied a Federal Direct Parent Loan (PLUS). Up to $5,000 is available for similar students who have completed more than two years. Interested students can receive more information from our Office of Financial Assistance. See the Financial Assistance Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for academic renewal requirements.

Federal Parent Loans, called Federal Direct PLUS Loans, are available to parents who have dependent children in college. Parents can borrow up to an amount equal to the cost of education minus other


financial aid, at an interest rate of 7.54%. Financial need is not required. An origination fee will be taken out before the funds are disbursed. Monthly repayment normally begins no later than 60 days after the loan proceeds are fully disbursed. Our Office of Financial Assistance has additional information about this federal loan program.

BVU must receive the results of a FAFSA and a Federal Direct Loan must be certified while the student is still enrolled in the enrollment period for which the loan is intended.

Buena Vista University Loans, McElroy Loans may be available to full-time students to supplement the loan options mentioned above. Funding is limited. Financial need may be a factor in eligibility. At this time, students will receive an explanation of their rights and responsibilities regarding the loan. See the Financial Assistance Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for academic renewal requirements.

Alternative Loans are available to students or parents of students attending Buena Vista University. Loan eligibility is determined by the borrower’s credit worthiness. Loan amounts range from $500 to over $48,000 annually. The interest rates are variable. Repayment generally begins within 30 to 60 days after the loan money is received, although payments may be deferrable while the student is enrolled. The borrower may take up from 10-20 years to repay. Financial need is not a prerequisite. For more information on any alternative loan source, including information on our Preferred Lender list, can be found on the BVU web page:

Reporting Other Financial Aid

Any financial aid which you may receive from sources not listed on your aid award, such as a scholarship or loan from a local or private organization, military benefits, or Vocational Rehabilitation benefits, must be reported to the BVU Office of Financial Assistance. Financial assistance which has been awarded through the University is subject to change upon receipt of other assistance. The receipt of aid/benefits that pay all or a large portion of a student’s charges will affect institutional gift aid awarded. When notifying the Office of Financial Assistance of any outside aid, please list the name and total amount of the award, and the anticipated disbursement date(s).

Verifying Family Information

If a question arises concerning information reported on your confidential application for financial aid or your application is selected for verification by the Department of Education, BVU reserves the right to verify such information by requesting copies of income tax documents and/or other data. BVU’s policy for verification of family information can be found on its web page:

For Further Financial Information

You may contact the director of financial assistance at the following address to obtain answers to any questions you may have: Buena Vista University, Office of Financial Assistance, 610 W. Fourth Street, Storm Lake, Iowa 50588, 1.800.383.2821 or 712.749.2164. Additional information can be found on the BVU web page:, or you can e-mail us at

Student Complaints

In addition to seeking out specific offices, students may file complaints using the online submission form: