Buena Vista University was founded by the Presbyterian Church (USA) in the Storm Lake Opera House in 1891. The next year, Old Main was constructed for major expansion that has continued through 2001 when the $9.5 million Lamberti Recreation Center was built. Today, the private, nonprofit Christian liberal arts school enrolls 1,373 Beavers. Devoted to the motto “Education for Service,” Buena Vista students contribute over 37,000 service learning hours yearly. Endowed for $122.3 million, BVU maintains 60 main acres in rural Storm Lake in north-central Iowa just 68 miles east of Sioux City. Buena Vista University also boasts 16 off-campus Iowa locations and an online campus for programs like the Master in Education in Exceptional Student Services and Instruction.
According to the U.S. News, Buena Vista is the Midwest’s 24th best university, third most vet-friendly campus, and 15th top value school. On Niche, BVU stands as America’s 439th most liberal college and Iowa’s 16th hardest college to get accepted to. Washington Monthly crowned BVU the 59th best baccalaureate institution nationally and 154th best bang for the buck regionally. Buena Vista University was placed as the country’s 606th most value-earned college with an average starting salary of $35,500 in MONEY Magazine. College Factual positioned BVU as the 26th most focused college for interdisciplinary studies. The “College of Distinction” was also named to the President’s Higher Education Service Honor Roll in 2016.
Buena Vista University Accreditation Details
Continuously since 1952, Buena Vista University has held institutional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC-NCA). This regional approval was reaffirmed in 2010 under President Dr. Joshua Merchant to ensure recognition of its 68 bachelor’s and 10 master’s programs by the U.S. Department of Education. The School of Education & Exercise Science is approved by the Iowa Department of Education for teacher certification but isn’t currently accredited by the Council on Accreditation for Teacher Preparation (CAEP).
Buena Vista University Application Requirements
Getting an acceptance letter into Buena Vista University’s M.Ed. in Exceptional Student Services and Instruction program won’t be easy with the “selective” admission rate of 64 percent. Eligible post-grads must have finished a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science from a regionally accredited college. Those within 36 hours of graduation could join the Plus One M.Ed. program on exceptionalities. Undergrad courses should have an overall GPA of 2.75 and major GPA of 3.0 or better. Applicants with lower GPAs may be admitted on probation until nine credits graded “B” are completed. Master’s students need a valid Iowa or out-of-state PreK-12 teaching license. Although GRE scores are optional, passing Praxis scores are essential. Non-U.S. special educators can prove English fluency with a minimum TOEFL pBT score of 550.
Teachers seeking entry into Buena Vista University can complete the free Graduate Application online for any of the six terms from August to July. Most attachments are uploaded, but paper copies could be mailed to 610 West 4th Street in Storm Lake, IA 50588. Admissions advisors can also be reached at email@example.com. Don’t forget the following required materials:
- Official transcripts from each college
- Valid PreK-12 teaching certification
- Autobiographical essay of 500-1,000 words
- Three letters of reference from academic personnel
- Resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
Tuition and Financial Aid
Traditional tuition at Buena Vista University’s Storm Lake Campus leaves students paying $16,427 per semester or $32,854 annually full-time. That’s before the $9,490 for room and board and $1,458 for transportation is added. Online BVU programs can fortunately save money by billing $517 per credit and $1,188 for textbooks yearly. The Online Master of Education in Exceptional Student Services and Instruction spans 36-39 credits for total tuition of $18,612 to $20,163. Pursuing just the 24-credit special education certificates like the Mild to Moderate Disabilities 5-12 Endorsement would cost $12,408 total.
The NCES reports that 85 percent of full-time BVU Beavers share $23.3 million in yearly financial assistance for $13,932 apiece on average. Applying for federal financial aid via code 001847 would unlock the TEACH Grant, which gives special educators up to $4,000 per year. All online graduate programs are approved for G.I. Bill benefits from the Yellow Ribbon Program. Tuition reimbursement is available from many companies and school districts. Hawkeye State natives might obtain the Iowa Education & Training Voucher Grant or Iowa National Guard Grant. Buena Vista University has institutional funds like the Heritage Scholarship, Gold Award, Arch Scholarship, and Henry Olson & Ed Bock International Travel Stipend. Post-grads can borrow money from the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan, Graduate PLUS Loan, and private/alternative bank loans. Several agencies like Great Lakes have Teacher Loan Forgiveness programs worth up to $17,500 too.
Online Degree(s) Available
Buena Vista University utilizes the user-friendly Canvas platform to deliver 13 bachelor’s majors and three master’s programs online anytime 24/7. Admitting cohorts six times yearly, online BVU degrees integrate eight-week courses for flexibility. With the 13:1 student-faculty ratio, average classes have 10-19 pupils for close professor interaction and access to specialized tutors. As an Iowa Campus Compact member, Buena Vista also offers research help via 60 databases and the Tipasa Interlibrary Loan Service as well as Beaver Tracks’ Career Services. Current educators may pursue the following master’s:
Master of Education in Exceptional Student Services and Instruction
Exclusively online, Buena Vista’s M.Ed. in Exceptional Student Services and Instruction is a two-year Master of Education for post-grads to pursue advanced Strategist I or Strategist II endorsements in Iowa for teaching special education. The online degree emphasizes the pedagogical strategies used by teacher-mentors in real-life classrooms to support differing academic needs. The 36-39 credit curriculum builds upon core courses like learning development with five tracks: Mild to Moderate Disabilities K-8, Mild to Moderate Disabilities 5-12, Significant Support Need – Cognitive, Significant Support Needs – Behavior, and Comprehensive. Undergrads could save time by taking the Plus One M.Ed. track for their Special Education Major (B.S.). Online courses, such as behavior interventions and person-centered lesson planning, include applied experience in teachers’ own schools.
Related Resource: Top 20 Best Online Master’s in Special Education 2018
Similar online programs conferred by Buena Vista University for working with children with disabilities are the B.S. in Human Services, B.S. in Psychology, M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership, M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, and Teaching English as a Second Language Endorsement.