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

Graduate Program Information

Buena Vista University established a graduate program with the Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.) degree in 1996. The Professional School Counseling program started in 1996. In 2005, a Master of Education (M.Ed.) was added, designed to provide working teachers with opportunities to deepen their understanding of current best practices in education and to broaden their knowledge base as educational practitioners. Offerings in the M.Ed. program include 30-credit hour options with tracks available in Effective Teaching and Instructional Leadership (ETIL), Talented and Gifted (TAG), Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), and a Teacher Technology Integrationist track. In addition, teachers have the option of pursuing an Iowa endorsement program in TESL consisting of 20 hours of graduate level coursework or TAG consisting of 12 hours of graduate level coursework. The Master’s of Education with a TESL track may be also be completed in a Bachelor’s Plus One time frame. Master of Education degrees in Special Education programs with emphases in Mild to Moderate Disabilities, Significant Behavioral Disabilities, and Significant Cognitive Disabilities are also available.

The 60-credit hour Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program began in 2014. The program is designed to meet the curricular requirements for Iowa professional licensure under section 31.6(2) of the Bureau of Professional Licensure of the Iowa Board of Behavioral Science standards for a content-equivalent program.

In 2016, a 30-credit hour Master of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership was added, which will provide the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively lead people in an ever-changing work environment. In today’s competitive job market, the right knowledge and experience as well as an advanced degree distinguishes job applicants. A bachelor’s degree often is no longer sufficient to distinguish oneself from the competition. The Organizational Leadership program may be completed in a Bachelor’s Plus One time period.

In 2023, a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in Special Education and Secondary Education began. The degree is defined as an initial teacher licensure degree at the graduate level. The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) provides students with opportunity to complete their initial licensure requirements and their graduate degree.

The Master of Arts in Teaching in Special Education is a 44-credit hour program that provides the knowledge and skills to work with special needs students. The program offers two tracks - Significant Behavior Disabilities and Significant Cognitive Disabilities. The Master of Arts in Teaching Secondary Education is a 35-credit hour program that provides the knowledge and skills to teach a content area to middle school and high school students.

Graduate Program Mission Statement:

BVU Graduate Programs foster innovative development of advanced scholarship and applied practice, with an ethical foundation. Our rigorous, conveniently accessible programs prepare students for leadership roles through personalized mentorship, challenging theoretical groundwork, and application of knowledge in the larger community.

Graduate Program Values Statement:

BVU Graduate Programs hold the following four values:

  1. Ethics and Professional Behavior: Our students display ethical and professional behavior both inside and outside of the classroom.
  2. Engagement with Applied Scholarship and Practice: Our students interact with, understand, and generate applied scholarship and/or research within their chosen field.
  3. Awareness of Professional Issues: Our students maintain a current understanding of professional issues and are aware of trends and future directions within their field.
  4. Leadership in the Field: Our students are poised to take on leadership roles and help others improve, adapt, and evolve in a changing environment.

Graduate Program Course Level Descriptions

As they increase from the 100-level to the 400-level, undergraduate courses at BVU challenge students to perform tasks of increasing cognitive complexity. Consistent with the goals of liberal education, courses at the 300 and 400 levels challenge students to integrate learning, both within and across disciplinary boundaries, and demonstrate mastery of interdisciplinary skills such as effective writing and problem-solving. Courses at the 400-level emphasize the development of students’ capacities for independent, self-directed work in ways approaching the expectations of graduate education. Graduate courses at BVU, which are numbered at the 500 and 600 levels, are distinguished by the heightened sophistication of their theoretical and methodological content. Thus, graduate courses evaluate student work against advanced standards of field-specific knowledge and proficiency in making theory-to-practice connections. Moreover, graduate courses at BVU require students to demonstrate elevated capacities for evidence-based decision making and prescribe courses of action aligned with the standards of practice in their chosen field.

Credit Hour Definition

Except as provided in 34 CRF 668.8(k) and (l), Buena Vista University defines a credit hour as an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:

  1. Two hours of faculty guided instruction and a minimum of four hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately eight weeks for one semester hour of credit; or
  2. At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other activities as established by the institution, including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the awarding of credit hours. 34 CFR 600.2

Traditional Academic Term.

Consistent with this policy, academic credit is assigned on a schedule consistent with the Carnegie Unit. Thus, BVU requires the following quantities of (a) instructor-guided learning activity, such as that led by a University professor in a synchronous setting, and (b) independent learning activity performed by the student in the context of an eight week term:

8 Week Term Courses

Course Credit Hours Minutes of Weekly, In-Class or Instructor- Guided Learning Activity Minutes of Weekly, Independent Learning Activity (student work performed outside Approximate Total Min. (Hours) of Organized and Independent Learning Activity in 8 Week Term
1 100 min. 360 min. 3450 min. (57.5 hrs.)
2 200 min. 720 min. 6900 min. (115 hrs.)
3 300 min. 960 min. 9450 min. (157.5 hrs.)
4 400 min. 1440 min. 13,800 min. (238 hrs.)

The Eight Week Graduate Terms

BVU Graduate courses follow an eight-week term that require quantities of instructor guided and independent learning activity. Courses provided in the context of Graduate Programs involve modalities typical of distance learning experiences, such as “live”, synchronous instruction and online asynchronous instruction. Moreover, in these settings, instructor guided learning activity is defined broadly. Examples include, but are not limited to, “live” or recorded lectures, instructor responses to students’ discussion posts, written commentary on assignments, essays, journal entries, interviews, etc. Independent learning activities, graduate students are expected to complete more independent hours working research, essays, literature reviews, practicum hours within the appropriate setting (K-12 schools, mental health providers, etc.), group projects, discussions, etc.

Graduate Program’s Required GPA

All students enrolled in graduate degree programs must maintain a minimum of a 3.0 GPA. Students who earn a cumulative GPA of less than 3.0 will be placed on academic probation. Students will refer to their program handbook for additional details.

Graduate Programs Contact Information:

Buena Vista University
Graduate Programs
610 W. Fourth Street
Storm Lake, Iowa 50588
Telephone: 712.749.1000

Special Admissions Status

Students may be allowed to take up to 9 graduate-level courses from BVU without seeking a master’s degree or graduate endorsement. Candidates must be granted special permission to enroll in courses under these circumstances by the director of the specific graduate program. Permission will only be granted if there is course space available, with full admission candidates given first priority for registration in these courses. Students must complete an application form specifically for non-degree, non-endorsement, and non-certification status in the courses. After 9 credits, students will not be allowed to continue enrollment until full admission is sought and gained. At that time, courses previously taken may be transferred into full master’s degrees or endorsement programs, with permission of the current graduate program director.

Admissions Appeal

Students may appeal a negative admission decision. A formal letter of appeal must be written to the Director of Graduate Programs outlining the concerns regarding the admissions decision. The case is forwarded to the appeals panel comprised of the Provost, the Vice President for Enrollment Services, and the Dean of the School of the graduate program. The student may request an interview with the panel. After review of the evidence provided by the applicant, the panel makes a second ruling with regard to admission.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition will be at the rate set annually by the BVU Board of Trustees. Tuition payment is due by the first day of the term/semester. It is the student’s responsibility to pay fees and any other financial obligations to the University as they become due. The non-payment of any financial obligation may result in the administrative withdrawal of the student or in legal action. Records (grade and academic transcript) will be held for failure to meet payment deadlines, and the student will not be allowed to register for the next sequenced course. Student accounts may be viewed through Beavernet at any time. Methods of payment include check, MasterCard, Discover, Visa by mail, online, phone, or in person at the Business Office. International and foreign currency payments are available online. See for more information. Contact the Business Office at 800.383.2821, ext. 2041, or mail to Business Office, Buena Vista University, 610 W. 4th St., Storm Lake, Iowa 50588.

Statements concerning fees are announcements and are not to be regarded as offers to contract. The university reserves the right to change fees and other charges at any time by published notice before the opening of any semester or session.

Graduate Program Tuition and Fees for 2023-2024:

The fees below are for the 2023-2024 academic year. The university reserves the right to increase the rates charged with due notice.

Cost Per Credit Hour:

Clinical Mental Health Counseling tuition $575
Professional School Counseling tuition $565
Organizational Leadership tuition $565
Teacher Leadership, Curriculum & Instruction tuition $285
Special Education tuition $285
Master of Arts in Special Education tuition $495
Master of Arts in Secondary Education tuition $495


Clinical Mental Health Counseling deposit $250
Clinical Mental Health Counseling assessment fee $215
Clinical Mental Health Counseling CPCE Exam  

Exam fee

Clinical Mental Health Counseling residency fee  

Each summer

Professional School Counseling assessment fee $139
Professional School Counseling background check $25
Professional School Counseling residency fee  

Each summer

Master of Arts in Teaching background check $25
Master of Arts in Teaching assessment fee $169
Master of Arts in Teaching student teaching fee (based on 12 credit hours) $436
Additional out-of-area fee for student teaching:  

Placements more than 60 miles from BVU


Placements more than 100 miles from BVU


Placements more than 200 miles from BVU

Graduate Graduation fee $140

via Clearinghouse


(includes $2.90 online processing fee)


in person


one day/overnight service


international/express - additional

Returned Check/ACH fee $30

Fees listed are not inclusive, other charges may apply.

Graduate Course Registration

Registration for graduate courses is open on a rolling basis. However, space in courses may be limited. We recommend students register for courses at least four weeks prior to the start of a term to ensure availability and to allow time to order books. The schedule of courses is posted on the web at Deadlines and policies for late registration, adds, drops, and withdraws follow those established for online term schedules.

Typical Course Load

The normal class load is three credit hours per eight-week term. The university reserves the right to regulate class size, add, delete, or otherwise alter the published course listings.

Attendance and Absentee Policy

Students are expected to follow the participation parameters set by each instructor. Difficulties or conflicts with this expectation should be addressed through the individual instructor for each course. Students who do not log into an online course for a period of more than 7 consecutive days may be considered as no longer attending. Access to the online course may be blocked for non-attending students and may require instructor permission to reactivate access. Students deemed to be non-attending and blocked from course access are not withdrawn from the course unless they indicate so in writing.


Graduate students will need a computer with reliable internet access. Courses are delivered over multiple platforms including, but not limited to, video conferencing applications, learning management systems, collaboration systems, and email. Student access, whether at home or school, is essential to graduate study at BVU. Students are responsible for their own computer and internet access that meets the minimum technical requirements for BVU classes.

Recommended Computer Hardware & Software Requirements:

  • Computer running Windows 10 or macOS 10.13 (High Sierra) or higher. ChromeBooks, iPads, and computers running Linux do not meet requirements because some coursework will not be compatible with these types of devices.
  • High-Speed/Broadband internet. Some coursework may require downloading and uploading significant amounts of video so a large or unlimited data cap may be needed.
  • Webcam, speakers, and microphone
  • Digital table for white boarding and collaboration
  • Google Chrome web browser (latest version), zoom, and Microsoft Office. Office is available to BVU students for no additional cost by going to Chrome and zoom are free to download.

Retention Policy

If, for whatever reason, as graduate student fails to enroll for two consecutive terms, he or she must seek Program Director approval to re-enroll. Depending on the circumstances of a student’s departure from the program and the availability of space in the current cohorts, the Program Director may provide varied recommendations and requirements for re-admittance. Students will be notified through email of the decision and re-entry requirements.

Time Limitations

All requirements submitted in fulfillment of any of the master’s degree programs except Clinical Mental Health Counseling must be completed within a period of 8 years. These limitations will be extended only for the period of active duty for students entering the military service. The student must submit a petition upon his or her return from military service. See the Clinical Mental Health Counseling section of the catalog or specific time limitations for that program.

Graduate Financial Aid

Gift Aid

Federal Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants of up to $4,000/year may be awarded to graduate students who intend to teach and who have been accepted into an eligible program. In exchange, recipients must serve as a full-time teacher in a high-need field, in a school serving low-income students for at least four years within eight years of graduation.

Students who don’t complete their teaching obligation as indicated will be required to repay any funds received as a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, with interest accruing from the time the grant was disbursed. A CGPA of 3.25 is normally required; exception applies to certain graduate students who are currently teaching. Interested students should contact the Office of Financial Assistance for additional guidance.

Eligible graduate programs include majors/tracks within the School of Education/Master of Education that would qualify the student to teach (with student’s desire to teach) in a shortage area as defined by the federal government, state government or a local education agency, and that are included in ED’s annual Teacher Shortage Area Nationwide Listing.

Not all tracks within the Master’s programs prepare a person to teach in a shortage area so not all are considered Teach Grant eligible.

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 and full-time BVU employees are also eligible. This grant is for up to 30% tuition discount for the graduate program in Organizational Leadership. For a complete list of current partner employers and application steps, visit our website at

Loans Available

Federal Direct Loans are available to students who complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and enroll at least half-time in college. The federal government offers loans without an interest subsidy (Unsubsidized) for graduate students. If eligible for an unsubsidized loan, students are responsible for the interest charge upon receipt of the loan, but interest payments may be deferred until a student is no longer enrolled. Borrowers are normally allowed at least ten years to repay.

Graduate students are eligible for Unsubsidized Direct Loan only, with a maximum of $20,500/year (students enrolled in an endorsement only program will be eligible for undergraduate loan limits). The aggregate maximum is $138,500, which includes all direct loan funds received for undergraduate study. The interest rate as of July 1, 2023 is 7.05%.

If a Federal Direct Loan is included in your financial aid award and you have indicated that you would like to take advantage of this aid source, a Master Promissory Note and Entry Counseling may need to be completed during your first term of borrowing. If the promissory note and entry counseling has been completed, the funds will be available to you at the beginning of each term/semester. After signing the Master Promissory Note the first time, a new note will normally not be required for subsequent borrowing. However, previous Master Promissory Notes do expire. The amount of your disbursement will equal the amount you request or are eligible for minus an origination fee. The loan will typically be divided into three disbursements, but will depend on your enrollment plans.

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.

Alternative Loans are available to students attending BVU. Loan eligibility is determined by the borrower’s credit worthiness and out-of-pocket expenses. The interest rates vary. The borrower may take up to 20 years to repay. Principal payments may be deferred, in most cases, while the student is enrolled at least half-time. Financial need is not a prerequisite. More information can be found at:

Graduate Student Financial Aid Policies

Enrollment Status

  • Fall Semester - Combine Terms 1 & 2 (3 hours = 1/2 time status; 6 hours = full time)
  • Spring Semester - Combine Terms 3 & 4 (3 hours = 1/2 time status; 6 hours=full time)
  • Summer Semester - Combine Terms 5 & 6 (3 hours = 1/2 time status; 6 hours = full time)

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.

Repeat Policy

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 financial aid eligibility. Passed courses (D- or better) can only count in enrollment status for one additional attempt.

Federally Funded Programs Eligibility Requirements

  • Be enrolled at least half-time (unless otherwise indicated) and as a regular student.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  • Make satisfactory academic progress.
  • Sign various educational statements and submit any required documentation.
  • Be current on all previously-borrowed educational loans
  • Release FAFSA data to BVU while still enrolled

Validation Policy

Registration for each course must be validated by attending at least one of the first two class sessions for face-to-face courses. Validation of enrollment for hybrid courses must occur within the first week of the course. For online courses, students must be logged into the course and actively participating (including, but not limited to, submitting an academic assignment whether graded or ungraded; taking an exam, an interactive tutorial or computer-assisted instruction; participating in an online discussion about academic matters; or initiating contact with an instructor to ask a question about the academic subject matter of the course) within the first seven calendar days of the start of the course. To validate enrollment for directed studies, internships, or other non-classroom experiences, students are expected to communicate with the graduate office and the instructor within the first week of the course. If a student is not planning on completing the requirements for directed studies, internships, or other non-classroom experiences, the student must contact the site office in writing via email or by completing an add/drop form within the first week of the term. Permission to start or add a class late requires submission of a special academic action form, which must be signed by the instructor, advisor, and enrollment manager.

Failure to obtain permission for an intentional late start or to validate enrollment in the time frame described above, will result in a student being administratively dropped from the course(s). Being administratively dropped means that no tuition charges will be accrued, and all financial aid will be returned according to regulations and policies.

Students are expected to make payment or make payment arrangements for each term prior to the first day of class.

Withdrawal Process

This policy will assist students who feel the need to completely withdraw from the university after a semester has begun but before its conclusion. A student is considered to be withdrawn from a credit hour program if the student does not complete all of the days in the payment period that the student was scheduled to complete; the days in the payment period would include all the days in both terms in a semester made up of modules if the student is registered for both at the time of withdrawal.

In addition to withdrawing from a course(s), a student also has the opportunity to drop a course. It is possible to drop a course in which there has been no attendance. It is possible for a student to drop a course(s) or for staff to drop a student through validation. There will be no charge for a dropped course. However, if a student in a modular program drops all hours in a term after having completed a prior term (all in the same semester), a calculation will be required to determine how much federal aid must be returned and all days in the semester will be used in that calculation. If a student drops all hours in a subsequent term in a semester during the current term and completes that current term, this is not considered a withdrawal and no R2T4 calculation is required.

If, on the same day, a student withdraws from all courses in the first term of a modular semester and drops all courses in a subsequent term in the same semester, all of the days in the semester will be used in the R2T4 calculation.

If a student who is registered for both terms in a modular semester withdraws from the first term, we will request documentation of the student’s intent to return for the second terms. If the student fails to indicate their intent or indicates they will not return for the second term, the student will be considered as withdrawn from the semester as of the withdrawal date. If the student indicates that they will return for the second term, the student will not be considered to have withdrawn. A return of federal aid calculation will only be required if the student later does not return as indicated.

For a student who officially withdraws, the withdrawal date will be the earlier of the following (unless a later date can be documented):

  • The date the student begins the official process mentioned below, or
  • The date the student officially notifies the institution of intent to withdraw.

If a student triggers both definitions above of official withdrawal on different dates, we will use the earlier date, unless we can document academically related activity later. Academically related activity is defined as one that has been confirmed by an employee of BVU, such as taking an exam, actively logging into the coursework, turning in a class assignment, attending a study group or class, etc.

Official notification can come in written form, via telephone, in person, or through e-mail and should be made with the Graduate Programs Office. This process must also be followed for withdrawal from online courses.

If a student begins but does not complete coursework for a term/semester, but does not officially withdraw as described above, they will be considered to have unofficially withdrawn. The withdrawal date for a federal or state aid recipient who doesn’t complete any courses will be the later of the midpoint of the payment period or the last day of academic related activity, if documented; this date will be used in determining how much aid must be returned. The withdrawal date will be communicated to the National Student Loan Data Service (NSLDS) and will be used to determine loan repayment when necessary.

No federal or state aid will be returned for a withdrawal that occurs after sixty percent of the payment period (which could be based on one term or two, depending on enrollment at the time of withdrawal).

If a student unofficially withdraws, the student will be fully charged for tuition. If a student left without notification because of circumstances beyond the student’s control, the BVU graduate programs staff might determine a withdrawal date related to those circumstances.

A student can rescind a withdrawal by providing a written request to the graduate programs office.

If disciplinary action results in the loss of any college or college-contracted service for the student, there will be no refund of charges. Federal or state aid may be returned based on the Return of Title IV Funds/State Aid Policy. The Office of Financial Assistance can be contacted with questions concerning the withdrawal process or the refund calculation. A copy of the Return of Title IV Funds/State Aid Policy can be found in the financial assistance section of this catalog and our web site, or can be requested from the Office of Financial Assistance or the Business Office.

Return of Title IV Funds Policy

To calculate the amount of assistance earned by a student, BVU will first determine the percentage of assistance the student earned. The percentage of assistance earned is equal to the percentage of the period of enrollment that was completed as of and including the day the student withdrew, up to the 60 percent point in time. The percentage will be calculated using calendar days completed as of the day the student withdraws divided by the number of days in the enrollment/payment period. All scheduled breaks of five or more days, including Saturdays and Sundays, will be taken out of the calculation. The calculated earned percentage is applied to the total amount of assistance that was disbursed or could have been disbursed to the student (allowable post withdrawal disbursements included), or on the student’s behalf, for the period of enrollment, as of the withdrawal date. If the withdrawal occurs after the 60 percent point, then the percentage of aid earned is 100 percent.

BVU must return the lesser of the unearned amount of Title IV (federal) and state aid, or an amount equal to the total institutional charges the student incurred for the enrollment period, multiplied by the unearned percentage of Title IV and state assistance (which is the complement of the earned percentage). The student is required to return federal funds when the total amount of unearned assistance exceeds the amount the school must return. However, a student is not required to return 50 percent of Title IV grant assistance received. If it is determined that a student must return federal grant assistance, the student will be given 45 days from the day the calculation is performed to submit the owed amount to, or make satisfactory arrangements with, the Buena Vista University Business Office. If payment or an arrangement for payment is not made within 45 days, the Department of Education will be notified of the overpayment and the student may face losing consideration for future financial assistance until payment is received.

The order of the return of Title IV funds will be as follows:

  • Unsubsidized Direct Loan
  • Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
  • Federal Teach Grant
  • Other Title IV assistance for which return of funds is required

If a student or parent feels that individual circumstances warrant exceptions from stated policy, the following appeal order can be followed:

  1. Accounts Receivable Manager
  2. Director of Financial Assistance
  3. Assistant Controller
  4. Director of Business Services/Controller
  5. Vice President for Business Services
  6. President of Buena Vista University

Contact the Office of Financial Assistance for an example of a refund calculation.

Institutional Charges & Aid Policy for Withdrawals

Students who withdraw completely from a course at Buena Vista University Graduate Programs, will have their tuition reduced on a percentage basis. Correspondingly, a student’s institutional aid/state aid will be returned based on their official date of withdrawal and the same percentage. The Business Office will notify the student of their final billing information after all of the appropriate adjustments have been made. Any additional fees a student accrues will not be adjusted and the student will be fully charged.

The following schedules will determine the calculation for students’ tuition for the particular courses the withdrawal applies to. Refunds are based on the official start date of the term and not the first day of class.

Graduate Programs T1 - T6 courses:

  • Prior to the end of the 4th calendar day of the term: 95% return of charges & institutional aid/state aid
  • Prior to the end of the 8th calendar day of the term: 75% return of charges & institutional aid/state aid
  • Prior to the end of the 11th calendar day of the term: 50% return of charges & institutional aid/state aid
  • Prior to the end of the 15th calendar day of the term: 25% return of charges & institutional aid/state aid

Academic Policies

Academic Honesty

Graduate students are required to adhere to the academic honesty described fully in the Academic Program Policies & Particulars  section of this catalog.

Satisfactory Academic Progress in Graduate Programs

Graduate students are required to establish and maintain an overall program cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 3.0. To maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), graduate students must also continue to complete courses at an appropriate pace. For full-time students in graduate programs, the normal pace of course completion is one course per term or 6 courses (18 credits) per year.

Standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress

  1. Cumulative grade point average
    All courses completed in a graduate program at BVU are included in the analysis of academic standing. Incompletes are not a grading option. If a course is repeated, the repeat(s) will count in the CGPA calculation and the attempted hours for pace calculation. The same is true for courses from which the student withdraws. Up to 9 credits of graduate work may be transferred from other accredited institutions. Only course work with an obtained grade of B- (2.7) or better may be transferred. The student’s CGPA will not include the grades for courses completed elsewhere.
  2. Pace and Duration of Eligibility for Financial Assistance
    Full-time students who fail to complete at least 67% of their attempted hours will be deemed to be progressing at an unsatisfactory pace and will lose eligibility for financial aid, pending a decision on an appeal (see Appeal Process, below). Credits transferred into the BVU program will be included in the SAP pace analysis when the transfer credits are recorded in the Office of the Registrar.

Academic Standing Review Process

The Committee on Graduate Academic Standing (CGAS) is composed of a dean of a School with graduate programs as Chair, the Registrar, the Director of Financial Assistance, a second Dean, and one faculty member with Graduate Faculty status. This committee will review students’ progress at the end of each semester (Fall, Spring, Summer or Terms 2,4,6). Non-degree seekers are exempt from review. Students with a CGPA lower than 3.0 will be placed on academic probation for the next semester. Failure to achieve a CGPA of at least 3.0 by the end of the next semester will result in suspension from the program. Students in this situation will be notified in writing by the Academic Standing Committee, as will the Office of Financial Aid and the Registrar’s Office. An appeal of suspension process is described below.

At the end of each semester (Terms 2,4,6) the CGAS will also notify, in writing, students who are failing to meet the expected pace of course completion (67% of attempted courses) in their graduate program that they are in danger of being suspended if they fail to meet the required pace by the end of the next semester of attendance. It will direct those students to their academic advisor to develop a written plan to come into full compliance with requirements for SAP.

Financial Aid Eligibility

The satisfactory academic progress review for Title IV aid eligibility will occur annually following the completion of term 6, using the standards previously mentioned. All students, including those who have been enrolled in a program for less than a full year, will be evaluated based on an analysis of courses attempted and completed to date along with CGPA progress. Graduate students who fail to meet either pace or CGPA requirements will lose Title IV (federal) aid eligibility. Students in this situation will be notified in writing. An appeal of suspension process is described below.

Appeal Process

A student who has been suspended and has faced extenuating circumstances such as his/her injury or illness, the death of a relative, or other special circumstances may appeal a suspension. A student who wishes to appeal a suspension must consult with her/his academic advisor to develop an appeal. All appeals must be in writing and received by the chair of the CGAS within one week of notification of suspension because of an unsatisfactory CGPA or failure to maintain a satisfactory pace. The written appeal must include and document the extenuating circumstance(s) that prevented the student from meeting the CGPA and/or pace requirements, what has changed in the student’s situation, and a plan with specific steps that will be taken to ensure future success, including a schedule of classes to be taken, where those classes will be taken, what grades must be earned, and if there will be transfer work.

If the appeal with its plan is approved, the student will be allowed to continue to take classes and receive financial assistance. Students in this situation will continue to be eligible for financial assistance and to continue to take courses as long as they are meeting the standards in the plan. A student whose appeal is unsuccessful will be suspended from the academic program and will have financial aid suspended.

If a student does not appeal or an appeal is not approved, the student will be dropped, without financial liability or academic record, from any class(es) in which he/she is currently enrolled.

If the appeal is not approved and the student has evidence of failure to follow policies or procedures or of arbitrary or capricious treatment in the appeals process, the student may further appeal to the Provost. The decision of the Provost is final.

Re-establishing SAP

A previously suspended student may apply for readmission to BVU. The application will be reviewed by the CGAS. For an application to be successful it must include documentation of actions the student has taken to assure success upon re-entry into a program. Neither paying for classes nor sitting out any length of time affects a student’s academic standing, so neither is sufficient to re-establish eligibility. The appeal must also include an academic plan that would bring the student back into SAP if it were successfully followed. The previously suspended student is strongly encouraged to consult with an academic program advisor when developing an application for readmission.

If a previously suspended student is readmitted to a graduate program, the student will be allowed to resume taking classes and will be eligible for financial assistance. The readmitted student will be on financial aid probation. The student will continue to be eligible to take classes and receive financial assistance as long as the conditions of the academic plan are being met. Should the student fail to meet the conditions of the academic plan, the review process, above, will determine the student’s standing.

Duration of Eligibility for Financial Assistance

If the attempted program is not completed within 150% of the timeframe it normally takes to complete the attempted program, even in situations where there has been a change in course of study, financial aid eligibility will be terminated. Appeals for duration of eligibility for financial assistance will be allowed on a case-by-case basis and must be made to the Office of Financial Assistance.

In addition to the information you can find here, there are a variety of policies and reports available on our website at:

You may also find additional information concerning your financial aid rights and responsibilities in the undergraduate section of this catalog.

Transfer of Graduate Credit

Only students who are in good standing as graduate students at a regionally accredited institution who also have completed a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution are eligible to apply as graduate transfer students. Transfer credit guidelines are applicable to both degree-seeking (master’s degree) and non-degree seeking (licensure only) candidates. To find more specific transfer credit requirements for School Counseling and Mental Health Counseling, please see those program requirements.

Transfer of credits is limited as follows:

  • No more than 9 semester hours of credit may be transferred into any of the graduate programs. The Program Directors will examine the course for similarity of content and will approve or disapprove. Please refer to each graduate program for specific requirements with transfer credits.
  • Transfer credit must consist of course work that has been obtained from an accredited graduate program within the past 8 years.
  • Only course work with an obtained grade of “B-” (2.7) or above may be transferred.

For the Master of Education, no transfer credit will be granted for the required introductory course, GEDU 510 - Graduate Study and Research .

The acceptance of the maximum credit hours is conditional on the applicability of the requested credit to the student’s planned degree program. The student must request, in writing, consideration of potential transfer credit to Director of the graduate program. If the student chooses to pursue transfer of credit, he or she must provide the director of the graduate program with official transcripts along with a catalog description and/or syllabus of the course or courses from the offering institution.

Official transcripts must show that the credit is at the graduate level. Courses may be prescribed in lieu of specific requirements for those who have already completed these requirements at another institution. Additional requirements for transfer credits are listed within each graduate program.

After completing graduate courses at Buena Vista University, a student seeking to take a course elsewhere and transfer it to the program must secure the prior approval of the appropriate Graduate Program director.

Buena Vista University has the option of not accepting transfer credit from a regionally accredited institution for courses offered by that institution in a state outside of the state where the institution has its home campus. Graduate course work taken by correspondence will not be accepted.

Transfer of Undergraduate Credits

In the Master of Education Plus One TESL program, students may transfer up to 9 credit hours in designated courses but must complete and submit the graduate portfolio items for these courses before credit is awarded. Courses accepted for transfer include:

  • Introduction to Second Language Acquisition (TESL 270 ) Coincides with GECI 541 
  • Methods of Teaching English as a Second Language with Field Experience (TESL 330 ) Coincides with GECI 543  
  • Curriculum Development and Assessment in ESL (TESL 407 ) Coincides with GECI 544  

Graduate Student Academic Appeals Process

Graduate students having concerns in the academic area are encouraged to resolve these concerns through direct communication with the professor or administrative office involved, with the assistant dean of education and graduate studies, the dean of the School of Education or the vice president for academic affairs. Often these concerns will involve a dispute over a grade. On those rare occasions when disagreements may not be resolved directly, the appeals process detailed below may be used.

Students having academic related concerns should first consult with the faculty member involved. In the case of a grade, no grade may be changed after it has been filed in the Registrar’s Office except by action of the faculty member or the decision of an appeal by the vice president for academic affairs. If a grade remains uncontested for a period of six weeks into a subsequent semester/term following the date published as the official end of the semester/term, it will be assumed to be correct and will not be eligible for change.

Prior to a formal appeal, the student should discuss his/her questions with the faculty member involved. The appeal process is intended for those rare occasions when students and faculty cannot come to understanding of the faculty member’s assessment of the student’s work.

Steps students must take in this process must include:

  1. In writing, the student identifies his/her concerns by drafting an email indicating the course, instructor, the grade received, the grade the student believes he/she should have received, and the reasons why a grade different from the one assigned is more appropriate in his/her judgment.
  2. The email must be sent to the School Dean who oversees the graduate program
  3. Generally, within a week’s time, the School Dean will meet with the student. The student should provide electronic documents of any related course materials from the course in question in advance of this meeting.
  4. The School Dean will meet with the faculty person involved with the grade challenge. The faculty member should provide electronic copies of any documents relevant for review of the case (papers, final exams, etc. for which the student does not have ownership).
  5. Based on the materials and information provided by the student and faculty member, the school dean resolves the question(s) identified in the appeal. The school dean may choose to ask for a meeting with the student and faculty member or consult with others as appropriate; the school dean’s decision of the appeal will be communicated in writing to the student and faculty person involved within two weeks of receiving the request for appeal from the student. If a change of grade is warranted, appropriate paperwork for a change of grade will be completed by the school dean.
  6. The student or faculty member in the graduate program may appeal the school dean’s decision to the Provost. Such an appeal must state the reason(s) and be presented in writing within two (2) business days after receiving the decision from the school dean. The relevant electronic copies of course materials received by the school dean must be forwarded to the Provost, who reviews the materials and may ask for meetings with the student and/or faculty member involved. The Provost communicates her/his decision in writing within two weeks of receiving the request for appeal. The decision of the Provost is final.

Student concerns which are for issues other than grades should be handled similarly. Because of the specific nature of a concern a student may have about how the interaction with a faculty member is occurring, it may be most appropriate for the student to meet with the assistant dean of education initially rather than first speaking to the faculty member.