Buena Vista University


Social Work Programs at Buena Vista

Buena Vista University appears in our ranking of the 35 Best Value Christian Colleges with CSWE-accredited Programs.

Since 1981, the School of Social Science, Philosophy & Religion has delivered the B.A. in Social Work for Buena Vista University undergrads to develop the community rapport needed to influence welfare policy. Chaired by Dr. Kathryn McKinley, the 60-credit, junior-level major builds on Christian values to meet the 10 CSWE competencies of generalist practice. The 9:1 student-professor ratio keeps courses like Racism in American Life, Human Genetics, Psycho-Social Dimensions, and Methods of Social Research small. Minors, such as Trauma Advocacy and Rehabilitation Health Sciences, can be added. The Honors Program enriches courses with independent research and $2,500 travel stipends for students with minimum 3.75 GPAs. Some may start the 4+1 Mental Health Counseling M.S.Ed. in July with online Canvas meetings.

Earning Buena Vista University's B.A. in Social Work for Iowa LBSW licensing and a median $46,000 salary requires two internships for 480 field hours total. Past placements have included Children's Square, AIDS Project of Central Iowa, Des Moines HeadStart, Cherokee Mental Health Institute, Chautauqua Park Shelter, Camp Dodge, Hospice of Siouxland, and Storm Lake Clinic. Each year, students unite with the NASW Heartland Chapter for Iowa Legislative Day. The SASW makes field trips to Jane Addams' historic Hull House in Chicago. In May, BVU's Estelle Siebens Science Center hosted the Domestic Violence Symposium. Undergrads can join Phi Alpha, Students Against a Violent Environment, Hakuna Matata Club, and Amnesty International. Other opportunities include becoming McCorkle Fellows, spending January Interim in Peru, and attending the William W. Siebens Lecture.

About Buena Vista University

Buena Vista University originated in 1891 when the United Presbyterian Church built a four-building campus for independent, Christ-centered coed education. Accredited in 1952, Buena Vista gained university status in March 1995 after creating its Master of Education. Five years later, BVU gained national recognition for the first school-wide wireless internet system. Now boasting 23 buildings, its 240,000-square-meter Great Plains campus has expanded with eLearning and 16 satellites. Budgeting $38.6 million yearly, Buena Vista University enrolls 786 full-time Beavers, including Social Work majors who boast 100 percent job placement. Linked to 10,728 LinkedIn alumni, BVU has graduated Jesse Schmidt, Nate Bjorkgren, Shelly Shelton, Nancy Boettger, and more.

The U.S. News & World Report ranked Buena Vista 24th among Midwest universities with the 264th best online bachelor's program nationally. On Niche, BVU has America's 357th best dorms, 439th best liberal arts curriculum, and 581st top value. The Social Mobility Index placed Buena Vista University 518th for opportunity. College Factual deemed BVU the country's 31st best Presbyterian school with the 336th highest paid social work grads. In Washington Monthly, Buena Vista is applauded for the 75th most service hours and 95th top Ph.D. completion rate. The "College of Distinction" was positioned fifth in Iowa by the SR Education Group. Great Value Colleges picked BVU as the 90th most affordable small university west of the Mississippi River too.

Buena Vista University Accreditation Details

In March 2011, Buena Vista University submitted to its 10-year institutional review from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (HLC-NCA) to keep the Level III accreditation under its 17th president Dr. Frederick V. Moore. Headquartered 459 miles west in Chicago, this 19-state regional accrediting body is authorized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) to assess the quality of BVU's 67 baccalaureate and nine master's degrees from Estherville to Marshalltown. Buena Vista holds membership to the Association of Presbyterian Colleges & Universities (APCU). The BSW Program will also retain Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) approval through June 2019.

Buena Vista University Application Requirements

Earning spots at Buena Vista University is considered "moderately difficult" by Peterson's since only 64 percent of the 1,256 applicants in Fall 2016 were successful. First-year Beavers can prepare for the B.A. in Social Work after a secondary diploma or GED equivalent. High schoolers generally rank in the top 35 percent of their class with a mean GPA of 3.42. On average, freshmen hold an ACT score of 22 or SAT score of 1100. During the Fall of their junior year, undergrads formally apply to the Social Work Department with minimum 2.0 college GPAs. Three prerequisites, titled Introduction to Social Work, Field Observation, and Human Life Cycle, must get graded above "C-." Non-native English speakers must also score at least 6.0 on the IELTS or 79 on the internet-based TOEFL test.

Buena Vista University has rolling admission without a set deadline. The exception is for international students who must apply by May 1st for Fall or October 1st for Spring. Hopeful B.A. in Social Work majors can submit the application wholly online for free. If needed, hard copies can be physically sent to 610 W. Fourth Street in Storm Lake, IA 50588. Contact (800) 383-9600 or admissions@bvu.edu for any questions. The School of Social Science, Philosophy & Religion's checklist includes the following:

  • Official transcripts from previous schools
  • Degree audits from Buena Vista University
  • Two faculty recommendation letters
  • Signed NASW Code of Ethics agreement
  • Standardized testing score reports
  • Typed, one-page objectives statement

Tuition and Financial Aid

For 2018-19, Buena Vista University will charge full-time B.A. in Social Work majors $17,022 per semester or $34,004 annually. Part-time undergrad study incurs $1,144 per credit. Online degree completion programs are discounted to $436 per credit. Living at the Storm Lake campus' dorms like Liberty Hall adds $9,538 for yearly room and board. BVU suggests leaving $999 for textbooks, $1,445 for travel, $65 for loan fees, and $757 for miscellaneous. Annual bachelor's attendance equals approximately $46,808.

According to the NCES College Navigator, 100 percent of starting, full-time BVU Beavers receive financial aid offers averaging $24,599 for $4.51 million total. University funds include the Trustee Scholarship, Multicultural Scholarship, Blue Award, Dean's Fellowship, Education for Service Scholarship, and National Presbyterian Scholarship. The Undergraduate Rural Medicine Education Program gifts $3,000 to interested pre-med students. Federal Pell and SEOG Grants are available after FAFSA applications with code 001847. Hawkeye State natives can earn the All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship, Iowa Tuition Grant, and Governor Terry E. Branstad Scholarship. Part-time Federal Work Study jobs have a June 1st priority deadline. The Department of Veterans Affairs offers Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits for tuition. Money magazine also reports that Buena Vista alums have median debt of $16,807 from Perkins, Direct, McElroy, and Mabel E. Sherman loans.

Learn more about Buena Vista University at the School of Social Science, Philosophy & Religion website.