2019-2020 Catalog 
    Jun 04, 2023  
2019-2020 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Policies and Standards


  Calvin University offers the following degrees:
    AA Associate of Arts
    BA Bachelor of Arts
    BS Bachelor of Science
    BCS Bachelor of Computer Science
    BSA Bachelor of Science in Accounting
    BSE Bachelor of Science in Engineering
    BFA Bachelor of Fine Arts
    BSN Bachelor of Science in Nursing
    BSR Bachelor of Science in Recreation
    BSW Bachelor of Social Work
    BSOT Bachelor of Science in Letters and Occupational Therapy
    MA Master of Arts in Speech Pathology
    MAcc Master of Accounting
    MEd Master of Education

The formal requirements for a Calvin bachelor’s degree include the following: successful completion of 124 semester hours, completion of three interim courses of three semester hours or more (transfer students need to complete one interim course for each year they attend Calvin), completion of the designated program of study and the designated core, and a minimum GPA of 2.0 (some programs require a 2.5 GPA) both overall and in the program of concentration. A minimum of four upper level major courses and thirty out of the last sixty semester hours must be completed at Calvin. Not more than five semester hours of basic physical education or eight semester hours in applied music and drama may be applied to graduation requirements except when such courses are a designated part of a required major or minor program. No more than twelve semester hours of internship credit and no more than eight semester hours of independent study may be applied to graduation requirements.

Students who have completed at least fifty-eight semester hours in astronomy, biology, chemistry, computer science, the earth sciences, engineering, mathematics, physics, psychology, statistcs and select kinesiology courses (KIN 212  , 213  , 325  ) may elect to receive a Bachelor of Science degree by submitting a request to the registrar’s office. At least twelve of the fifty-eight hours must be from outside the student’s primary science department.

Students desiring to earn a second baccalaureate degree from Calvin must meet all of the requirements of the second degree and complete a minimum of 145 semester hours. Students may not obtain more than one Bachelor of Science degree or more than one Bachelor of Arts degree, but may have more than one major within a given degree.

The formal requirements for a Calvin Master of Arts in Speech Pathology and Calvin Master of Accounting are given in the program description section of the catalog. The requirements for a Calvin Master of Education are given in the program description within the Education Department section of the catalog. 

The Associate of Arts in ministry leadership degree is limited to students in the Calvin Prison Initiative program. 60 semester hours are required with a minimum GPA of 2.0 for completion. Calvin also offers a certificate in ministry leadership in the Calvin Prison Initiative program. 

Programs of Concentration (Majors and Minors)

Majors - Every degree-seeking student must fulfill the requirements of a faculty-approved departmental or group major. Although such major concentrations are not normally chosen until the second semester of the sophomore year, most programs do presuppose the completion of specific freshman and sophomore courses. Official admission to a major program requires the formal approval of a department or program advisor and the completion of a declaration form. Once a declaration form is completed, a student may access a copy of their Academic Evaluation Report or My Progress, which details the student’s remaining academic requirements. Whenever students change their major, they must again submit a declaration form for the new major. Teacher education group majors and some departmental majors for teachers may be applied only to teacher certification programs.

To be admitted to a department’s major program a student must have earned at least a C (2.0) in each course designated as a prerequisite for admission, unless that department stipulates a C (2.0) average in two or more prerequisite courses. To be admitted to a group concentration a student must have met the GPA required for admission by the primary department within that group. A student not maintaining a minimum average of C (2.0) in the program of concentration may be permitted to remain in that program for a single semester of probation.

The various programs of concentration are specified in the section of the catalog, which describes departmental programs and course offerings. Group majors designed for teacher certification programs are described in the education section.

Interdisciplinary Majors - Students may also initiate interdisciplinary majors other than those formally approved by the faculty. Such majors require a minimum of 42 semester hours across three departments.

A minimum of 33 semester hours must be from two departments with no fewer than 14 semester hours from each. At least 6 semester hours of 300-level courses normally must be taken from each of these two departments. A minimum of eight semester hours must be chosen from a third department.

Students must provide a written statement of purpose for such programs. Proposals require the approval of the registrar, two advisors, and the chairs of the departments from which the 33 semester hours are selected. Interdisciplinary major forms are available in the registrar’s office.

Minors - Optional six-course departmental minors and group minors are possible in certain fields. A 2.0 average in the minor program courses is required for graduation in them. Minors are described in the departmental sections of the catalog. Only those minors described in the education section are approved for teacher certification.

Overlap Policy

An overlap is defined as one course meeting two or more requirements. Cognate courses are not counted in overlap calculations.

Overlap between core and majors/minors - There is no limitation on the number of overlaps permitted between core and any major, minor, cognate, or concentration.

Overlap between major and minor - To graduate with a major and a minor a student must complete a minimum of fourteen distinct courses of three semester hours or more. A maximum of two overlaps are permitted between a major and a minor. The details are as follows:

Courses required in the major Maximum overlaps permitted
10 or more

Overlap between two majors - To graduate with two majors, a student must complete a minimum of sixteen distinct courses of three semester hours or more. A maximum of three overlaps are permitted between two majors (cognate courses are not counted in the overlap calculation). The details are as follows:

Total courses in two majors Maximum overlaps permitted
19 or more

Overlap between minors - There may be no overlaps between minors.

Interim Course

Calvin is on a calendar system that designates a three-week interim term during the month of January. During this period, students generally take one three semester hour course. Most interim classes meet mornings or afternoons, but those involving laboratories and in-service experiences may require full-day participation. Because of their informal and intensive nature, most interim courses have enrollment limits. A number of one semester hour Physical Education and Recreation courses are also offered during interim.

Degree requirements and grading - To meet requirements for a Calvin degree, students must complete a minimum of three interim courses of at least three semester hours each. Transfer students must complete one interim course for each year in attendance at Calvin and students may not take more than two interim courses in a single department. Interim courses are graded honors (H), satisfactory (S), or unsatisfactory (U), except those courses that satisfy core requirements and other specially designated courses, which are graded in the conventional A-F system.

Numbering - Courses numbered 10-59 are open to all students and have no prerequisites. Courses numbered 60 and higher have prerequisites. Also, courses numbered 40 through 59 and 80 through 89 may meet major or minor program requirements.

Cost - A student that is enrolled full-time (a minimum of 12 semester hours) in the fall and/or spring term will not be charged tuition for regular on-campus interim courses up to four semester hours. Regular tuition charges will apply for more than four semester hours or if a student registers for a second interim in the same academic year. Off-campus interim courses will have travel costs; Physical Education and Recreation courses may have activity fees.

Visiting - Members of the community who are not enrolled as students in any university are invited to register as visitors in interim classes if the permission of the instructor is given. Formal admission to the university is not required, but each visitor must register with the registrar’s office before attending class. The fee for each course visited is $55, which includes campus parking privileges. This invitation to visitors extends to off-campus interim courses as well. However, professors leading off-campus courses give first priority to student enrollment; if space is available, visitors may register for the course and pay the costs associated with the off-campus interim and an additional administrative fee of $55.

Independent Studies and Tutorials

Calvin University provides the opportunity to do independent research or reading when students have demonstrated their competence in the academic discipline involved and have shown the ability to study on their own initiative. It must be approved by the instructor directing the study, his/her department chair and the registrar’s office. It must be subject to the supervision of the instructor during that term. When completed, the course must be given a regular semester letter grade. It shall carry credit of 1 to 4 semester hours. No more than 8 semester hours of such study may be applied toward graduation requirements. Because such projects require considerable time of the instructor as well as of the student, instructors are not obligated to approve an independent study and are expected to limit the number of students accepted.

To be eligible to register for a regular course on a tutorial basis a student must: hold junior, senior, or graduate status; have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0; and have completed all of the prerequisites for the course.

Transfer Policy

Transfer credit will normally be awarded for courses that are:

  • Taken at accredited institutions.
  • Academic and similar in nature to courses offered at Calvin.
  • Completed with a minimum grade of C.
  • Represented on an official transcript and authorized by the credit-granting institution.

Transfer Limits - Students may transfer a maximum of 70 semester hours from two-year institutions; there is no limit for transfer credit from four-year institutions. Students may transfer coursework at any time during their academic career.

A minimum of 4 upper-level courses in the major and 30 of the last 60 semester hours must be completed at Calvin. Transfer students must complete one interim course for each year they attend Calvin. The following core must be taken at Calvin (transfer credit not accepted): one biblical/theological core course, developing a Christian mind core, one science core, cross cultural engagement core, integrative studies core (generally the major capstone course).

Military credits - Veterans will receive credit, as recommended by the American Council on Education, for liberal arts courses taken through the USAFI and for a maximum of 9 semester hours taken by correspondence courses from accredited universities in the program.

Transfer evaluation for prospective students - Individuals that apply to Calvin as transfer students will receive an official transfer evaluation with their acceptance letter.

Transfer process for current students - Current students must receive pre-approval for transfer work. A list of pre-approved courses is maintained by the registrar and is available online. Departmental chairs and advisors may approve coursework for majors and minors, if the courses are comparable to the Calvin course requirement. The registrar may approve transfer credit for core or for elective credit (hours taken for graduation semester hour minimums).

International Transfer Credits - Courses will be considered for credit that are completed at international institutions that are formally recognized as a tertiary-level educational institution by their respective country’s national government  - generally through their Ministry of Education. If official documentation from the international institution is not in English, any request for transfer of credit must be accompanied by an official English language translation of the transcript as well as a translation of the official course descriptions from that institution’s catalog. If course descriptions are not available, English translations of each course syllabus will be required. Credits from an international institution without these evaluations cannot be formally assessed.

Policies for Course Credits and Exemption Examinations

A maximum of 32 semester hours may be obtained through the transfer of non-classroom-based credit. Some students are able to earn advanced college credit in certain subjects.

Advanced Placement (AP) - At the time of admission, first-year students may submit scores from an AP examination conducted by the College Board. While the minimum acceptable score is 3, 4 or 5 depending on the test, the amount of credit awarded for higher scores varies. Detailed information is available from the registrar’s office. Students may not receive both AP credit and a high school exemption for the same core requirement.

International Baccalaureate (IB) - Course credit will be given to students who receive a grade of 5 or higher on Higher-level classes.

Departmental Examinations - Some departments offer departmental examinations for some courses. If a department deems it appropriate, regularly enrolled students may meet a course requirement and receive regular academic credit by examination. Only one exam per department may be taken unless prior approval is given by the registrar. Such tests must be taken in lieu of registration for the course and may not be used as repeated courses. Students wishing to take departmental examinations may obtain forms from the registrar’s office, the forms are then completed by the departments, indicating the grade received after the student takes the exam. For information on fees associated with these exams, see the financial information  pages. The student’s performance on the examinations will be recorded on the student’s record.

Non-Traditional Methods - Calvin students may obtain transfer credit from on-line and correspondence courses that have been previously approved by the registrar’s office.

Furthermore, students who have completed appropriate courses in high school may be exempted from certain university course requirements. This is possible in foreign language, and the sciences. Details about these exemptions are listed with the core curriculum. Consult the registrar’s office for more information about the ways high school courses satisfy university requirements.

Student Load and Classification

The typical undergraduate student load is 12 to 17 semester hours per semester. A minimum of 12 credit hours is required for full time status, a load of six hours is considered half time for financial aid purposes (for more information, see financial information  pages). The normal course load of 12 to 17 semester hours permits students to register for courses in applied music, basic physical education, and drama in addition to a typical academic load. Non-credit review courses are counted as part of a normal load, and students on probation or condition may be required to limit their load to 12 semester hours. In exceptional cases, a student may apply for permission, at the registrar’s office, to carry more than 17 semester hours. Such an application requires the recommendation of the student’s academic advisor or department chair and must be returned to the registrar’s office for approval. To be eligible for consideration, the student must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0, must have received no grades of incomplete during the previous two semesters, and is expected to limit outside employment.

Normal progress toward the degree for full-time students requires that a minimum of 12 semester hours be earned each semester. Normal progress also requires the completion of three interim courses. A more typical load is 31 semester hours per year, which enables most students to complete degree requirements in four academic years.

Undergraduate students are classified as first-year students until they have earned 27 semester hours of credit. Students with a minimum of 27 semester hours of credit completed will be classified as sophomores; those with 58, as juniors; and those with 89, as seniors. Classification for the purpose of university records will be revised at the beginning of each academic semester.

Visitors and Auditors

Members of the community who are not enrolled as students in any college or university are invited to register as visitors in most lecture classes. Formal admission to the university is not required; however each visitor must obtain permission from the professor and register with the registrar’s office, before attending class. A student may not visit a course or course component that is by its nature practical or applied, such as applied music, ensembles, languages or courses that require a lab. The fee for each course visited is $55 for the semester, which includes campus parking privileges.

Students who are registered for 12-17 non-audit credits do not pay extra for any audited course. For students registered part time (0-5, or 6-11) or for an overload (18 or more) auditing a course costs half of the tuition rate. See  financial services   pages for tuition rates. Auditors must be formally admitted to the university.

The audited course is listed on the student’s academic transcript, but no credit is recorded and the student’s GPA is unaffected. Auditors are expected to attend all classes and participate in the assigned activities of the class. They may take all tests and submit assigned papers for evaluation, but they are not required to do so. Auditors may change their registration from audit to credit only during the first nine weeks of the semester; students enrolled in a course for credit may change to audit only during the first nine weeks.

Enrollment in Seminary Classes

Full-time university students may, as a part of a program worked out with their departmental advisors, carry up to two courses in Calvin Theological Seminary in any one semester. Approval by the registrar of the seminary and the registrar of the university is required, and under no circumstances may credit for a single course be counted toward degree programs in both university and seminary. Full-time seminary students may enroll for not more than two courses in the university provided the registrar of the seminary and the university approve.


Students may be granted a hiatus from the university for one academic term. Applications for a leave of absence are considered for exceptional circumstances, and if the student does not plan to attend a different university during the specified term. Exceptional circumstances that generally merit consideration include: medical need(s), compassionate reasons affecting immediate family, reserve military service training, participation in an off-campus program that is not endorsed or approved by Calvin University, or if course(s) needed for graduation will not be offered until a future term.

If approved for hiatus, the student will maintain account access, and will not need to reapply for admission to return. Application for hiatus, and additional information is available at the registrar’s office.

Academic Forgiveness Policy

All students must meet the 2.0 GPA standard for graduation. However, students who have completed course work at Calvin prior to their readmission can invoke an academic forgiveness option. To do so, students must specifically request this option at the time of readmission, and at least five years must have elapsed since their last Calvin attendance date. Under the academic forgiveness policy, grades received in a student’s prior academic period at Calvin are excluded from the GPA calculation required for graduation. All course and grade information, even when not included in the GPA calculation, remain on a student’s official transcript. The semesters for which academic forgiveness has been granted will be so noted. Only those courses in which a student received a C- or better can be used as semester hour credit toward graduation requirements. Other prior coursework must be repeated or replaced in an approved manner.

Grading Systems

Grades given during the regular semester are designated by letters A through F, with A signifying excellent work and F signifying failure. Additional possible grades are: I, incomplete; W, authorized withdrawal; and N, unauthorized withdrawal.

Grades given for honors credit are preceded by the letter H (i.e., HA-). Once completed, an incomplete remains noted with the new grade; this does not lower the calculated grade (i.e. IA-).

For purposes of averaging grades, the following numerical values or grade points are assigned to each of the above grades: A, four points per course; B, three; C, two; D, one. A plus-grade is computed at three-tenths of a point above these figures and a minus-grade at three-tenths below. Grades for courses completed as transfer credit or in cooperative programs at other colleges and universities are recorded on students’ records but are not included in the compilation of their average at Calvin.

In spring 2020, due to COVID-19 and the resulting changes in course material delivery, the university adopted a one semester pass/fail grading policy. Students were allowed to change up to two spring 2020 grades to S(atisfactory) or U(nsatifactory). 

Interim Grades - Ordinary grades for the interim are H, honors; S, satisfactory; and U, unsatisfactory. These do not carry grade point values and are not averaged in the student’s total record, but the student normally receives three semester hours toward the 124 required for graduation for each interim course satisfactorily completed. Interim courses carrying core credit and those that are also taught during the fall and spring semesters are normally graded according to the traditional letter system and will be included in the student’s average.

Graduate Workshops - Graduate workshops are graded with S and U grades only.

Audits - Auditors are given grades of AU. However, if they fail to attend classes, the instructor will report a grade of AUN.

Withdrawals - Students may alter their schedules during the first week of classes without grades of W being recorded on their records. After that time, grades of W, authorized withdrawal, will be recorded if they leave courses with the written approval of their instructors by the end of the ninth week of the semester. Students who discontinue classes without permission or notification are not entitled to a grade of W but will be given an N, unauthorized withdrawal. This grade is computed as an F in determining a student’s GPA. However, students who withdraw from school at any time with the approval of the registrar and of one of the student deans may be given grades of W in all courses.

Repeats - Students may repeat any courses by properly registering for them, but must inform the instructor when they are repeating a course. Only the latest grade, whether higher or lower, shall be included in the compilation of a student’s cumulative GPA. The original grade is not expunged from the record, but is noted as a repeated course. A student will not receive additional course credit for repeated courses.

Incompletes - If students fail to complete all the required work or to sit for the final examination, instructors may, if they consider a student’s reason valid, give a grade of I, incomplete, rather than a grade of F. The grade of I shall be computed as a neutral grade in determining a student’s GPA. Students given an I in fall semester or in interim must make up the deficiency by March 15 of the following spring semester; if given an I during the spring semester or summer session, they must make up the deficiency by October 15 of the following fall semester. If they fail to do so, grades of IN will be entered on their records. A grade of F will be altered only if a student reregisters and retakes the course in which it was given. Grades of I are never expunged from the records. When a final grade is received or the deadline is passed a new grade preceded by an I (i.e. IB+) will be rewarded.

The Dean’s List

In order to be eligible for the Dean’s List a student must be a degree-seeking undergraduate student. Full-time students with a semester GPA of 3.5 or higher and a cumulative grade of 3.5 or higher will be placed on the Dean’s List. Part-time students who meet the grade point requirements above and have earned 3 semester hours within the last year and at least 12 semester hours within the last 2 years will be placed on the Dean’s List. The Dean’s List is compiled at the end of each semester when grade reports are printed. Interim grades and subsequent grade changes normally do not alter the list.

Academic Warning, Probation, and Dismissal

Each student admitted to Calvin is assumed to have the preparation, the desire, and the ability to make satisfactory progress toward a degree; however, some students do not make the progress expected of them. Such students are notified that they are placed on academic probation, offered special assistance and academic counseling, and given an opportunity to improve their records.

Academic Review

The number of semester hours attempted is the number of hours for which a student is registered at the beginning of the second week of classes plus the attempted hours accumulated from previous semesters at Calvin. Credited hours are those for which the student has earned credit that applies toward a degree.

Courses that are repeated are counted in the number of courses attempted, but not in the number of semester hours credited. For the purpose of calculating the GPA, incompletes are not calculated in the GPA until the deadline for completion. If they are not completed by the deadline, a failing grade is assigned.

At the end of the fall and spring terms, students who have attempted at least 24 semester hours at Calvin are evaluated by the Academic Review Committee, and determined to be in good standing if they maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 and have completed at least 50% of attempted semester hours. Students who have attempted fewer than 24 hours at Calvin are assumed to be in good standing.

Academic Warning

All students who earn a semester GPA of less than 2.0 are placed on academic warning and will be required to take a number of actions as outlined by the Academic Review Committee. These actions generally include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Meet regularly with an academic counselor

• Limit enrollment for the subsequent semester, normally to 12 credit hours

• Limit outside employment and extra-curricular activities

In addition:

• First year students placed on academic warning or probation will be required to successfully complete an academic support course (normally ASC 111)

• In partnership with the academic counselor, all students on academic warning or probation will be advised to utilize other appropriate resources

Failure to meet the specified conditions will constitute grounds for immediate dismissal.

Academic Dismissal and Probation

Students are subject to academic dismissal after attempting at least 24 semester hours if they have a resulting cumulative GPA of less than 2.0 or have completed less than 50% of attempted semester hours.

Students who are permitted by the Academic Review Committee to continue are automatically placed on academic probation, no longer in good standing, and consequently subject to the interventions outlined for academic warning above.

Students who are not permitted to continue may appeal their academic dismissal to the Academic Review Committee. Students for whom an appeal is granted are also placed on academic probation, no longer in good standing, and consequently subject to the interventions outlined for academic warning above.

Students who are currently on academic warning or probation and earn less than a 2.0 GPA or complete fewer than 50% of the attempted semester hours in that semester are also subject to dismissal.


A request for readmission will be reviewed by the Academic Review Committee; readmission following academic dismissal will be based upon evidence that the difficulties previously encountered can be overcom and that eventual completion of degree requirements can reasonably be expected.


Calvin University is committed to an excellent educational experience for students and welcomes opinions and feedback regarding programs, services, and personnel. All students have the right to register a concern regarding a university policy or procedure or a person’s behavior as described in the policies referred to below:

  • Challenging the accuracy of student records - See Calvin’s FERPA policy, below.
  • Concerns about academic sanctions given as a result of academic dishonesty - See the procedures outlined in the Student Handbook.
  • Concerns and appeals regarding faculty, courses, or general teaching effectiveness - See the Faculty Concerns, Protest, and Appeals section of the Calvin’s Student Handbook. Complaints can be registered at any time using the Comment-on-Faculty form, available in the university’s online portal.
  • Concerns about online or out-of-state courses - Students who are taking Calvin courses while in another state may also contact that state to register a complaint. A current list of the states in which Calvin is authorized to offer courses and their complaint procedures can be found on the registrar’s website.
  • Discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or abuse of power (whether experienced or witnessed) - The university encourages the reporting of all perceived incidents of discrimination, harassment or retaliation regardless of the offender’s identity or position. Reports may be made to a Safer Spaces Administrator. Reports also may be made via the “I Will Report It” 24/7 designated message line at 616-526-IWRI (616-526-4974) or via the online Comment-on-Faculty form. The Safer Spaces policy outlines the procedures for handling such complaints.
  • Discrimination on the basis of disability - See Calvin’s Grievance Procedures for Persons with Disabilities. This policy is published in the Student Handbook.

Calvin University seeks to resolve student concerns in a timely and effective manner. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. If a student believes that the university’s internal procedures have not adequately addressed his or her concerns, the student may directly register a complaint about the university with the Higher Learning Commission by email (complaints@hlcommission.org) or in writing to The Higher Learning Commission; 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500; Chicago, Illinois 60604-1411.

Questions or concerns about Calvin’s complaint policies should be directed to the provost.

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Calvin University

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 helps protect the privacy of student records. It provides for the right to inspect and review information contained in educational records, request an amendment to those records, and to limit disclosure of information from the records. In addition, students have a right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, if they believe that one of their primary rights has been violated.

Access and privacy

Students who are currently enrolled at Calvin University or formerly enrolled students, regardless of their age or status in regard to parental dependency, are protected under FERPA. Parents of students termed ‘dependent’ for income tax purposes may have access to the student’s educational records.

With certain exceptions, a student has rights of access to those records which are directly related to him/her and which are maintained by Calvin University. Education records include any records in the possession of an employee which are shared with or accessible to another individual. The records may be handwritten or in the form of print, magnetic tape, film, electronic image, computer storage, or some other medium. This would include transcripts or other records obtained from a school in which a student was previously enrolled.

Official Calvin University transcripts are released only when requested in writing by the students. Transcripts will not be released for students who have failed to meet their financial obligations to the university.

All other requests to inspect and review education records should be submitted by the student in writing to the registrar, dean, department head or other appropriate official, and clearly identify the record(s) that the student wishes to inspect. If the requested record(s) are not maintained by the school official to whom the request was submitted, that official will advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

Disclosure of Information

Calvin may disclose information on a student without violating FERPA through what is known as directory Information. This includes a student’s name, address, telephone number, electronic email address, photograph, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized sports and activities, weight and height of athletes, dates of attendance, grade level, enrollment status (e.g., undergraduate or graduate, full- or part-time), degrees, honors, and awards received. A student may restrict the release of his/her directory information by submitting a signed authorization form to the registrar’s office.

In certain other situations, a student’s written consent is not required to disclose the educational information. Exceptions* include the disclosure:

  • to school officials who have ‘legitimate educational interests’ (see definition below);
  • to post-secondary schools in which a student seeks to enroll;
  • to federal, state, and/or local education authorities involving an audit or evaluation of compliance with programs;
  • in connection with financial aid;
  • to state and local authorities pursuant to a state law adopted before November 1974 requiring the disclosure;
  • to organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of educational institutions;
  • to accrediting organizations;
  • to parents of a dependent student;
  • to parents of students under age 21 for violations of any law or institutional policy related to the possession of alcohol or controlled substance;
  • to comply with judicial order of lawfully issued subpoena, including ex parte orders under the USA Patriot Act;
  • in connection with a health or safety emergency;
  • of information designated as directory information (see above definition);
  • to the student;
  • to a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense;
  • in connection with a disciplinary hearing to an alleged victim of a crime of violence;
  • concerning sex offenders and other individuals required to register under stated or federal law;

* There are some specific conditions to the exceptions noted above, which can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations (Title 34, § 99.31).

Requests to disclose educational information will always be handled with caution and approached on a case-by-case basis.

Challenging accuracy of records

Students who believe that their education records contain information that is inaccurate or misleading, or is otherwise in violation of their privacy should discuss their problems informally with the person in charge of the records involved. If the problems cannot be resolved, the student may request a formal hearing by the registrar. The request must be made in writing to the registrar who, within seven days after receiving the request, will inform the student of the date, place and time of the hearing. Students may present evidence relevant to the issues raised. The hearing officer who will adjudicate such challenges will be the registrar, or a person designated by the registrar who does not have a direct interest in the outcome of the hearing. The educational records will be corrected or amended in accordance with the decisions of the hearing officer, if the decisions are in favor of the student. If the decisions are unsatisfactory to the student, the student may place with the educational records statements commenting on the information in the records or statements setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decisions of the hearing officer. The statements will be placed in the educational records, maintained as part of the student’s records, and released whenever the records in question are disclosed.

School Officials & Legitimate Educational Interest

Calvin discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by Calvin University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including Campus Safety and Health Services personnel); a person or company with whom Calvin has contracted as its agent to provide a services instead of using Calvin employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.

As school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the university. Please contact the registrar’s office with any questions.


To file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Calvin University to comply with the requirements of FERPA, contact:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5901

Application for Degree and Certificates

In addition to the formal requirements for degrees, students must satisfy certain technical requirements. Students must complete a declaration of major form and have it signed by their departmental advisor. These declarations are normally completed during the sophomore or junior year. Students intending to graduate must file a formal application for a degree at the registrar’s office or online (calvin.edu/students) no later than the beginning of the semester in which they expect to graduate. If they are completing teacher education programs, they must also file an application for Michigan certification at the same time they apply for a degree or not later than a semester before they complete the certification requirements.

Students may not participate in the May graduation ceremony unless they are within one semester of meeting their graduation requirements.

Students desiring to graduate with an honors designation must meet the requirements of the Honors Scholars Program .  The university also recognizes student scholarship with the following transcript designations for any student who meets the following cumulative grade point average (GPA) standards.

Cum laude 3.65-3.79
Magna cum laude 3.80-3.94
Summa cum laude 3.95-4.00

 The appropriate designation will be added to student transcripts based on a student’s final GPA after the degree is posted.