Transcripts From High School And Other Institutions

All students are required to provide an official copy of their final high school transcripts, ap, clep credits, and transcripts of any college credit directly to the university by the beginning of the semester or term in which they enroll. Official copies must be received via U.S. Mail. Without official transcripts and records, a student will not be allowed to register beyond the initial term/semester until the records are complete. Students who have graduated from high school prior to the last ten years are not required to submit final high school transcripts.

Classification Of Students

  • Freshmen: Students who have earned fewer than 24 credit hours
  • Sophomores: Students who have earned a minimum of 24 credit hours
  • Juniors: Students who have earned a minimum of 56 credit hours
  • Seniors: Students who have earned a minimum of 87 credit hours

Numbering Of Courses

In the program descriptions and course descriptions sections of this catalog you will find comprehensive information regarding each of the majors offered by the university, including major and minor requirements and annotated course descriptions. In order to assist you in locating specific courses of interest to you, courses are numbered according to the following scheme: 

  • The credit hours (CR) indicated per course is the credit for each semester or term unless noted otherwise. Lower division courses, numbered from 100-299, are intended for freshmen and sophomores.
  • Upper division courses, numbered from 300-499, are ordinarily available only to juniors and seniors.
  • Special courses may be offered by faculty to meet special needs and interests. When offered as a 150 courses are intended for underclass students, while 450 courses are intended for upperclass students.

Independent and directed study courses may be taken according to the catalog guidelines and any other requirements determined by each school, the supervising professor and the school dean. Forms are available on the registrar’s webpage or at the Registrar’s Office.

Typical Course Load

The normal class load is 14-16 credit hours per semester in order to complete the minimum required 128 credit hours during a four-year period of study at Buena Vista University’s Storm Lake campus. Fulltime status requires enrolling in a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester at the Storm Lake campus. In unusual circumstances, a student may be permitted to take more than 17.5 credit hours. In such cases, an Academic Action is required with the dean of faculty making the final determination. Generally, seniors and honor students only are permitted to enroll in more than 17.5 credits any given semester. Additional fees will be assessed for anything beyond the 18th credit hour.

Normal load and full-time status for BVU Professional & Online Studies is 6 credit hours per eight-week term.

The university reserves the right to regulate class size, add, delete, or otherwise alter the published course listings.

Adding Courses

A student may add a course during the first two weeks of the fall or spring semesters or prior to the third class meeting in a summer session, half semester course. Students at the Storm Lake campus must obtain the signature of the instructor of the course and the faculty advisor on a “add/drop” form, which is available on the registrar’s web page, if adding a course during the second week of classes in a fall or spring semester. A student may drop or add a course the first two days of interim. After the second day no changes will be permitted in interim.

Students of BVU’s Professional & Online Studies program may add a course within the first five working days of the start of the term at any location. BVU Professional & Online Studies students can obtain the form at their designated location office.

Dropping Courses

Students at Storm Lake may drop a course prior to the third class in interim or during the first two weeks of a semester or equivalent period for other terms. Course changes are generally made via online registration. Courses dropped after online access is closed must be completed via paper form and advisor signature is required. Courses dropped prior to the deadline will not appear on the permanent record unless such drop results in a change of status (full-time/part-time) and/or a change in tuition/cost. Courses dropped after the deadline or result in a change as previously described will be processed as withdrawals and a “W” will appear as a grade on the permanent record.

Students of BVU’s Professional & Online Studies program may drop a course within the first five working days of the start of the term at any location. Courses dropped prior to the deadline will not appear on the permanent record unless such drop results in a change of status (full-time/part-time) and /or a change in tuition/cost. Courses dropped after the deadline or result in a change as previously described will be processed as withdrawals and a “W” will appear as a grade on the permanent record.

Repeating Courses

A course may be repeated once at the discretion of the student. A subsequent repeat is allowed only upon prior approval through special academic action.

Repeat of courses originally taken for a letter grade must be taken for a letter grade. Repeat of P/NC courses may be taken either for a letter grade or P/NC.

For purpose of grade point average, the second and any subsequent grades for repeated courses will be used in the CGPA computation. Only the first grade will be omitted from the grade point average. All repeated grades will be shown on the transcript; however, only the last grade will be used to satisfy graduation requirements, including total hours earned. Courses taken at Buena Vista University must be repeated at Buena Vista University.

Permission To Study Off-Campus

Students desiring to enroll in another post-secondary institution with the intent of applying credits earned to a Buena Vista University degree program must secure written approval in advance of taking the course. Prior to the final 30 credit hours (senior year), the student’s academic advisor, school dean and associate dean of faculty, or BVU Professional & Online Studies director must approve the request to transfer courses from another institution back into Buena Vista University. The dean of faculty must approve such transfer requests during the final 30 credit hours.

Requests to take courses at other institutions will not be accepted when they are taken for the following purposes: failed BVU courses and/or BVU courses repeated in order to obtain higher grades. No more than 12 credit hours may be taken from another institution during a summer and no more than a total of 24 credit hours (summer coursework) may be used toward graduation. Juniors and seniors may not transfer two-year college credit into BVU, with one exception - required courses not offered at the Buena Vista University location of enrollment.

Students enrolled at one BVU location who wish to enroll in courses at a second BVU location with the intent of applying credits earned to a Buena Vista University degree or endorsement program must secure written approval in advance of taking such an “off-campus” course. Storm Lake campus students must receive written approval of such “off-campus study” requests from the student’s academic advisor, the school dean, and the associate dean of faculty. Students who wish to do such “off-campus study” at the Storm Lake campus, must secure written approval for such study from the student’s academic advisor, the school dean, and the associate dean for BVU Professional & Online Studies. Other P&O students must secure written permission in advance from their academic advisor and BVU Professional & Online Studies director to study at another P&O location.

Note: Field experiences, such as those available to education majors, ought to be completed in the student’s “home” department. Exceptions require approval from the “home” department as well as the faculty and administration mentioned above.

Under exceptional circumstances, a student may be granted permission to take a class off-campus. As a rule, doing so is discouraged. There are times, however, when taking a course off-campus is unavoidable in a student’s program of study. Such recognized occasions include: 

  • Transfer students in need of a course “off-rotation” to avoid delaying graduation, a situation that is particularly possible for courses that are offered only on alternate years.
  • Time schedule conflicts between two required courses in a given semester. Determination of a need for the two courses in the given semester rather than desire for the two courses in a certain semester must be demonstrated by the student’s four-year plan of study.
  • Facilitating a student’s ability to study abroad for a semester or engage a semester long specialized internship.

Allowing a student to take a class off-campus so a student may complete an additional endorsement (with the exception of those reading endorsement courses which are only offered online), major and/or minor is not considered essential. Course substitutions are not permitted using non-campus courses when other options exist on campus; the first priority is to have students completing courses at their sites of enrollment. Students bear responsibility to enroll in the appropriate rotation of courses to complete their program of study. Students who enroll in and then drop a course to discover they are now “off-rotation” in course sequencing or fail to initially register for a course in a particular sequence given their anticipated graduation date should not expect that permission to take a class off-campus will be allowed to rectify their situation.

In addition, the following guidelines govern Storm Lake students’ enrollments in BVU Professional & Online Studies courses:

  • Students must be full-time (minimum of 12 credit hours) at Storm Lake in order to enroll in BVU Professional & Online Studies courses. Enrolling in and later dropping credits at Storm Lake resulting in less than 12 credit hours of Storm Lake enrollment is not permitted. Under no circumstances may BVU Professional & Online Studies course enrollment be used to achieve full-time status at Storm Lake.
  • All students, except education majors enrolled in reading endorsements courses which are only offered online, must pay online rates for online credits enrolled in during any fall semester, spring semester or summer session. All students enrolled in BVU Professional & Online Studies on-the ground courses during any fall semester, spring semester or summer session must pay the appropriate BVU Professional & Online Studies on-the-ground course rates for those credits.
  • Because of the intensity of courses and the considerable overlap in time between interim and Term 3, if a student is enrolled in 3 or more credits during interim, Term 3 registration is not permitted. If a student is not enrolled in interim, or is enrolled in 2 credits (such as Supervised Participation), 1 of the 2 credit reading courses would be permitted. Any Term 3 BVU Professional & Online Studies enrollment is counted as part of the spring semester. No student may take more than 5 credit hours of BVU Professional & Online Studies coursework in any given fall or spring semester.
  • Education majors enrolling in reading endorsement courses during a fall or spring semester, and not exceeding 18 credit hours total, are not assessed additional tuition charges. Education majors enrolling in reading endorsement online courses which create an overload (more than 18 credit hours) will be charged at Storm Lake rates for the overload. Education students may choose to enroll in reading endorsement courses in the summer to avoid overload fees.
  • Terms 5 and 6 are viewed as summer registration and any enrollment is charged at the BVU Professional & Online Studies online or on-the-ground rates respectively.
  • Students may take two BVU Professional & Online Studies courses per term during the summer (Terms 5 and 6). Two courses, however, may not be possible in Term 5 given it is reviewed as part of the total credit hours in a student’s spring load at Storm Lake (maximum of 18 credit hours).
  • If a student wishes to withdraw from any BVU Professional & Online Studies course once it has begun, but before the deadline for that term, the student will receive a grade of “W” and be responsible for the prorated online tuition charges, regardless of what term it is in.

Withdrawal From The University

A student who seeks to withdraw from the university may do so during the first two-thirds of the semester or an equivalent period for other terms. The academic record will reflect the term’s enrollment. A grade of “W” will be recorded for all courses. To initiate a withdrawal a student at the Storm Lake campus must inform student services staff, who initiates the withdrawal process and informs the appropriate offices within the university. BVU Professional &Online Studies students must inform the staff at the location of record who will notify appropriate offices. Failing grades will be recorded for students who withdraw after the deadline.