The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy addresses the importance of students’ commitment to academic excellence and outlines the criteria for remaining in good standing academically at BVU.  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. Transfer hours brought in will count towards earned and attempted credits for purposes of satisfactory academic progress.

Federal regulations require that all federal financial aid recipients make satisfactory academic progress towards degree completion.  Progress is measured qualitatively by the student’s cumulative grade point average (CGPA), and quantitatively by percentage of credit hours earned in relation to those attempted.  Federal regulations also limit the duration of the program.  These standards will also apply to most funds provided through the State of Iowa.  Buena Vista University’s standards for these requirements are described below.

Faculty and staff members at Buena Vista University are committed to fostering and furthering the academic success of all students. While we recognize that sometimes students encounter difficulties in their academic pursuits, we also expect students to make satisfactory progress toward degree completion-see description below under “The Standards.”

A minimum cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 2.0 is required for graduation. Specific programs (such as school of education) may have higher CGPA requirements. See catalog program descriptions for details. Any student whose grade point drops below a 2.0, whether for the semester or as a cumulative grade point average, is in academic jeopardy and in danger of losing federal and state financial aid.  Such students are encouraged to meet with an advisor and to seek assistance from the Center for Academic Excellence at the Storm Lake Campus or BVU Graduate & Professional Studies office staff.

The Standards

Satisfactory academic progress in the University is defined by two components: 1. Qualitative - cumulative grade point average related to total number of credits earned and 2. Quantitative - ratio of earned to attempted credits.  (For graduate student standards, see pp. 150-51 of the Academic Catalog.)  Both of these components are explained below:

1. Qualitative Component:  Cumulative Grade Point Average

Because the transition to university learning is challenging, first and second year students are allowed time to build their CGPA to a 2.0 as they accumulate credits; by the time students have achieved junior status, they must have achieved and are expected to maintain a 2.0 BVU CGPA. A student is considered to be making satisfactory qualitative academic progress if the student in question has earned a BVU CGPA above the probationary status detailed below.

Cumulative Credits Earned

    Probationary Status

Less than 24

    Less than 1.75 CGPA


    Less than 1.9 CGPA


    Less than 2.0 CGPA

2. Quantitative Component: Credit Hours Earned

Adequate progress toward degree completion is measured by an appropriate ratio of credit hours earned in relationship with credit hours attempted. Students must complete 67% of the credit hours attempted to be making satisfactory academic progress. Withdrawing from courses, earning NC (no credit) and/or failing courses may ultimately result in not achieving the necessary 67% successful completion rate which allows students to graduate in the time limit allowed (see Duration of Eligibility below). A student is considered to be making satisfactory quantitative progress if the student in question meets the 67% completion standard detailed above.

All courses completed at BVU are included in the analysis of academic standing. BVU does not use incompletes as a grading option; students should be familiar with the change of grade contract process on page 34 (2010-11 Academic Catalog). Students also may choose to repeat courses they have failed or in which they earned a NC. The repeated attempt counts in the hours attempted by the student for purposes of calculating quantitative progress toward degree completion. See Repeating Courses on page 32 (2010-11 Academic Catalog).

Satisfactory Academic Progress Review Process

The Academic Standing Committee is chaired by the Associate Dean of Faculty and includes a representative from Graduate & Professional Studies, a representative from the deans at Storm Lake, a representative from the Registrar’s Office, a representative from Student Services, and the Director of Financial Assistance. This committee reviews students’ progress three times during each academic year and notifies in writing those students whose academic records fall short of the standards for determining satisfactory academic progress. For Storm Lake students, course work enrolled in during summer is reviewed in September, coursework enrolled in during fall is reviewed in January, while course work enrolled in during January and spring is reviewed in June. For students in the Graduate & Professional Studies Programs, course work will be reviewed after Terms 2, 4, and 6.  Students enrolled in the co-op programs through Graduate & Professional Studies will be evaluated after each term.

Based on the Academic Standing Committee’s review of qualitative and quantitative components, a student may be placed on academic probation, may be suspended from the University, or may be dismissed from the University. A student is considered to be in good academic standing and making satisfactory progress if the student in question meets the two standards detailed above.


Probation is a warning that indicates that a student’s continued enrollment at BVU is in jeopardy.  Probation would be the result during the first review period after which a student fails to meet either of the standards outlined above. If a student is placed on probation, the student will remain eligible for federal and/or state financial aid consideration during that first probationary period.  However, if enrolled in subsequent semesters/terms, the student will be removed from those courses pending return to good academic standing or successful appeal of suspension. 

A contract specifying steps a student must take for continued enrollment while on probation may be required at the discretion of the Academic Standing Committee. Such a contract may limit the total number of credits a student may enroll in during a subsequent semester/term, and may prescribe courses in which a student may enroll.

Failure to Achieve SAP after Probation

A student who fails to achieve good academic standing after a probationary period will be suspended from the University unless an appeal has been approved.  Appeals may be granted in the case of extenuating circumstances such as illnesses, family emergencies, employment, etc., that may affect a student’s ability to achieve satisfactory academic progress. 

A student without a successful appeal will be suspended.  A student who has been suspended may not enroll or attend classes at Buena Vista University for at least one semester at Storm Lake or term with Graduate & Professional Studies Programs before being eligible to apply for readmission to the university. The process for readmission is outlined below.

Appeal Process

The appeal should be in writing and received by the Associate Dean of Faculty in sufficient time for processing.   The written appeal must include and document the extenuating circumstances that prevented the student from meeting satisfactory progress, what has changed in the student’s situation, and the specific steps that will be taken to ensure future success, including a tentative schedule of classes to be taken, when they will be taken, and at which locations.  

Before a decision is made, the student’s progress – along with the details in the appeal related to the reasons for the lack of progress – will be reviewed by the Satisfactory Academic Progress  (SAP) Committee to determine if  and how the student can regain good academic standing.  The SAP Committee is composed of the Associate Dean of Faculty, the Director of Financial Aid, the Registrar, one dean, and one representative from Graduate & Professional Studies.

If the student’s appeal is approved, the student will be permitted to return for a second probationary period.  The student will remain eligible for federal or state financial aid consideration for the period of time stipulated by the SAP Committee.  The student must meet all stipulations set forth by the SAP Committee.  At the end of the next review period, the student will either continue with the multiple semester/term probationary contract, return to good academic standing, or be suspended. 

Re-establishing Satisfactory Academic Progress

Other than in situations where an appeal is granted, a student who has lost eligibility for federal or state financial aid can only regain eligibility by taking action that brings them back into satisfactory academic progress.

Neither paying for one's classes nor sitting out any length of time affects a student's academic standing so neither is sufficient to re-establish eligibility.

Credit hours earned at another institution will be used in the determination of academic standing; however, grades earned at another institution do not calculate into a student's CGPA at Buena Vista University.

Process for Re-Admission after Suspension

Students suspended from the university because of failure to meet the satisfactory academic progress requirements as outlined above wishing to apply for re-admission should:

  1. Consult with their academic advisor for assistance in preparing a letter of application for re-admission.
  2. Submit a formal letter addressed to the Associate Dean of Faculty requesting re-admission. This letter should provide an explanation of the circumstances that contributed to the student’s lack of academic progress and a detailed and specific plan outlining steps the student will take to address those circumstances in the future, including a tentative schedule of classes to be taken, when they will be taken, and at which locations.  The letter must include the student’s signature.
  3. Re-admission letters of request must be received in sufficient time for processing of those requests. As a rule, these requests should be received by the Associate Dean’s office a minimum of one month prior to the beginning of the semester/term in which the student wishes to re-enroll.
  4. The re-admission letter will be reviewed by a committee composed of the Associate Dean of Faculty, the Associate Dean for BVU Graduate & Professional Studies or his/her designee, and a school dean from Storm Lake.
  5. No financial aid will be available to a student until satisfactory academic progress is achieved.

Notification of Academic Status

Students will receive notification of their status after application for re-admission within two weeks of the review dates. Notification of probation or suspension is sent from the Vice President for Academic Affairs/Dean of Faculty to the student and copied to the student’s advisor or appropriate Graduate & Professional Studies personnel. However, it is the student’s responsibility to know the standards of academic progress (see “The Standards” above) and failure to receive the notification will not nullify the academic status.  Qualitative probation and suspension will be noted on the academic transcript for the semester/term in which that status is earned.


The University reserves the right, upon recommendation from the Academic Standing Committee, to dismiss a student who fails to meet the standards even after being placed on probation or suspension.

A student who has been dismissed from the University is not eligible for re-admission.


A student has the right to appeal the decision of the Academic Standing Committee in cases of suspension and dismissal. The appeal is made to the Vice President of Academic Affairs and consists of an explanatory letter submitted to that office within two weeks of receipt of notification of suspension or dismissal. The decision of the Academic Vice President is final.

Additional Information Related to Financial Aid Eligibility

Duration of Eligibility for Financial Aid

Undergraduate students will be allowed to attempt up to 192 total credit hours, or for transfer students, 150% of the hours it is determined are needed to complete the attempted BVU degree/program at the time the student first enrolls.  If the attempted program is not completed within this time frame, even in situations where there has been a change in course of study, financial aid eligibility will be terminated.   Appeals may be allowed on a case-by-case basis. 

Students who enroll in a second degree or teacher certification may be eligible for aid and will have their academic progress calculated from the credit hours attempted beyond the first degree. 

Students returning only to earn an additional major are not eligible for financial assistance. 

Students may receive federal aid for no more than 30 attempted hours of remedial course work. 

BVU Policy for Renewal of Institutional Aid

BVU will follow the requirements detailed above for general institutional aid eligibility. 

Awards offered based on ACT, class rank, prior CGPA while in high school or at another college, or through competition/audition, will have more stringent, specific requirements for renewal that were provided at the time the award was made.  

Even though a student may be making Satisfactory Academic Progress as detailed in the SAP Policy above, awards made based on academic criteria will have higher specific CGPA renewal requirements and these awards could be eliminated before the student loses other eligibility.  With the exception of the Multicultural Scholarship (please contact the Director of Multicultural Programs for specific renewal requirements), progress for these awards will be reviewed in two semester increments and recipients must have earned the required renewal CGPA at that time.  One semester of probation will be granted if the CGPA has not been met.  The award will be forfeited at the end of that probation semester if the required CGPA still has not been achieved.  Of course, the overall Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy may dictate loss of all aid eligibility before this time.

Most forms of institutional aid require full-time enrollment.

Students may contact the Office of Financial Aid for information on renewal requirements for specific awards.