The Academic Standing Policy addresses the importance of students’ commitment to academic excellence and outlines the criteria for remaining in good standing academically at BVU.

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 is encouraged to meet with an advisor and to seek assistance from the Center for Academic Excellence at the Storm Lake Campus or BVU Professional and Online Studies office staff.

The Standards

A student’s overall “academic standing” in the University is defined by two factors: 1. cumulative grade point average related to total number of credits earned and 2. satisfactory progress toward degree completion. Both of these factors are explained below:

  1. 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, either at BVU or as a transfer student entering as a junior, they must have achieved and are expected to maintain a 2.0 CGPA. A student is considered to be in good academic standing if the student in question meets the CGPA standard or if the student is in compliance with any stipulations placed on the student by Admissions or the Academic Standing Committee.

    Cumulative Credits Earned            Probationary  Earned
    Less than 24 ..................... Less than 1.75 CGPA
    24-55.99 ........................... Less than 1.9 CGPA
    56+ ................................... Less than 2.0 CGPA
  2. Satisfactory progress toward degree completion
    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 eligible for financial aid and not be subject to probation. For example, for each review period (semester for Storm Lake students or combination of terms for BVU Professional and Online Studies) student records will be reviewed to determine if a student has completed 67% of the cumulative hours s/he attempted. Students are advised that withdrawing from courses, earning NC (no credit) and/or failing courses may ultimately result in failing to achieve the necessary 67% successful completion rate which allows students to graduate in the time limit allowed. A student is considered to be making satisfactory progress if the student in question meets the 67% completion standard detailed above or if the student is in compliance with any stipulations placed on the student by Admissions or the Academic Standing Committee.

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 30-31 (2009-2010 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 progress toward degree completion. See Repeating Courses on page 28-29 (2009-2010 Academic Catalog).

A student will be allowed to attempt 150% of the hours it is determined are needed to complete the chosen 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 the course of study, financial aid eligibility will be terminated.

Extenuating circumstances (i.e. medical or family emergencies, etc.) may cause a student to completely withdraw from the university after a semester/term has begun but before its completion. In these cases, the withdrawal from courses will not be measured in the student’s determination of satisfactory progress.

Process to Determine Academic Standing

The Academic Standing Committee is chaired by the Associate Dean of Faculty and includes a representative from Professional and Online 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 academic standing. 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 Professional and Online Studies Programs, course work enrolled in during Terms 5 and 6 is reviewed in September; coursework enrolled in during Terms 1 and 2 is reviewed in January while course work enrolled in during Terms 3 and 4 is reviewed in June. Students enrolled in coop programs through the Professional and Online Studies will be evaluated in January and June. 

Based on the Academic Standing Committee’s review of cumulative grade point average and adequate progress toward degree, a student may be placed on academic probation, may be suspended from the University for one or more semesters/terms, 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 or if the student is in compliance with any stipulations placed on the student by Admissions or the Academic Standing Committee.

Academic Probation

Academic probation is a warning that indicates that a student’s continued enrollment at BVU is in jeopardy. Academic probation would generally be the result during the first review period after which a student to meet either of the standards outlined above. Academic probation may be extended for a second, subsequent review period. For example, a student who has been placed on probation for a review period and whose CGPA would indicate suspension at the next review period, will generally not be suspended, but will be allowed to remain on probation if the most recent review period’s GPA shows sufficient progress toward achieving or restoring his/her CGPA to the standards noted above (normally meaning the student has earned at least a 2.0 in the most recent review period).

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. Usually, such a contract will limit the total number of credits a student may enroll in during a subsequent semester/term.

Academic Suspension

A student with two consecutive probation-level review periods is suspended from the University for one or more review periods. Under unusual circumstances, the University reserves the right to suspend a student who is not making satisfactory progress at the end of any review period. If a student is currently enrolled and attending when the letter of suspension is received, the student will be allowed to complete the semester/term in progress. The student will not be allowed to enroll in subsequent semesters/terms unless an appeal for readmission has been granted. Appeals are rarely granted but may be in the case of extenuating circumstances such as illnesses, family emergencies, etc. Students are considered to be making satisfactory academic progress if their cumulative grade point average and progress toward degree completion exceeds the suspension standards. 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 Professional and Online Studies Programs before being eligible to apply for readmission to the university. The process for readmission is outlined below.

Process for Re-Admission after Suspension

Students suspended from the university because of failure to meet the academic standing 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. 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 Professional and Online Studies or his/her designee, and a school dean from Storm Lake.

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. Students readmitted after suspension may be readmitted on probation. If readmitted on probation, contingency plans will be written informing students of the conditions they must meet in order to remain enrolled and to achieve good standing.  For example, a student who was suspended may have earned sufficient credits so that s/he meets the 67% completion standard measuring progress toward a degree. However, because the required CGPA at BVU hasn’t yet been achieved, a plan specifying a specific period of time granted to the student to return his/her CGPA to appropriate levels will be written. In such cases, a minimum expectation is that students will achieve a semester GPA of at least a 2.0 and will likely be required to achieve a semester GPA higher than the minimum 2.0 to return their CGPA to a minimum of a 2.0 in a reasonable time period.

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 Professional and Online Studies personnel. However, it is the student’s responsibility to know these standards and failure to receive the notification will not nullify the academic status. 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.