Accreditation and Policies

Briar Cliff University is accredited as a degree-granting institution by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. We offer several accredited programs that can lead to professional licensure and have several policies and procedures outlined below designed to protect the health and safety of our campus community and regulate the decisions, actions, and principles of our institution.

States vary in what professions they require to be licensed and how licensure functions. Some states require an individual to graduate from an approved program. Others require an individual to “meet [the] certification requirements of a national organization.” A specific amount of training can also be required as well as passage of an exam based on a state requisite exam score. Often, licensed professionals must complete continuing education on an annual basis.

Responsibilities of the Students

Throughout the admissions, enrollment, orientation, and housing processes, students are presented with and confirm receipt of all critical campus policies and procedures. Students are responsible for reading, confirming, and following all University Policies. Briar Cliff University reserves the right to hold students accountable and process and distribute disciplinary actions for any violations. When it comes to state accreditations for student completing programs with licensure, students are responsible for continuously checking with the licensing board(s) in their state of residence or in the state in which they intend to obtain a license for the most recent information and requirements. Students should review the specific academic requirements for the program in which they are enrolling, including those related to practicum/internship as well as pre-qualifications for licensure such as the need for a criminal background check. Many licensure boards and state require more than successful degree completion to obtain a license: some states require an individual to: graduate from an approved program, some to “meet [the] certification requirements of a national organization,” some a specific amount of training, and/or passage of an exam based on a state requisite exam score. Often, licensed professionals must complete continuing education on an annual basis. Please be advised that state laws, regulations, and policies may change at any time. Changes in requirements can impact the program's ability to meet educational requirements for licensure. Since many licensure boards require more than successful degree completion to obtain a license, we highly recommend that students contact the applicable licensure board(s) in their state of residence or in the state where they intend to obtain a license before beginning an academic program that results in licensure and prior to beginning any internship/practicum.


Institutions are required to represent the accreditation status of each program accurately and without ambiguity. Programs are either accredited or not accredited, if they are accredited is will be listed as such on the program page and explained further in the dropdowns below. 


Higher Learning Commission

Briar Cliff University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Iowa College Student Aid Commission

Briar Cliff University is registered to operate as a degree-granting institution in Iowa and authorized to participate in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement for distance education by the Iowa College Student Aid Commission.

State Authorization

Briar Cliff is a member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (NC-SARA) which allows us to provide distance learning programs (both online and in the form of supervised field experiences) and coursework to residents of states other than Iowa. NC-SARA membership, however, does not grant reciprocity or exempt us from state professional licensing requirements. As a result, licensing requirements in Iowa may not be recognized as sufficient to obtain a license in any other state.

Relocation: Relocating during the course of a program to another state may impact if the student can remain in the program, meet the state licensure requirements and/or continue to receive financial aid funding. Prior to considering relocation, please contact your program to discuss authorization and licensure eligibility requirements.

International Students: Prior to enrolling in any program at Briar Cliff University, prospective students living and/or working outside of the United States should confirm with the appropriate certifying agency whether successful completion of any degree program at Briar Cliff will meet the credentialing requirements of the country in which they intend to seek employment, as to certain types of employment or for advanced/specialized educational programs.

Additional Memberships

The University holds memberships in:

  • The Council of Independent Colleges
  • The Higher Learning Commission
  • The Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
  • The Iowa Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
  • The Iowa College Foundation
  • The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
  • The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities
  • The Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities
State Authorizations for Online Degrees

Universities are required to comply with the distance education laws of each individual state. If you are an out-of-state student seeking to enroll in one of Briar Cliff's online degree completion or graduate programs, or if you are an online student considering moving to another state, you should check Briar Cliff University's status with that state. Visit the state authorization page to determine if your program is authorized in your home/target state. Participating in a program not authorized by your state could result in a loss of transferability of credits.

Career & Placement Services

Briar Cliff University does its best to assist graduates in job placement and to assist current students in internship placement. Students and graduates can find career and employment information through the Career Development Office. 

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Diversity Services

Briar Cliff University is proud to be a small liberal arts college in the Midwest with impressive diversity stats. Our caring community is built to value and respect the uniqueness of each person and be welcoming and open to all. Our multicultural center is designed to help every student receive education, information, and support in promoting a campus with open dialogue. 

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Professional Licensure

Behavior Analysis
Certification (Verified Course Sequence, BCaBA) 

Briar Cliff University’s Bachelor’s degree in Behavior Analysis is an ABAI Verified Course Sequence (#51045, 5th edition). This means that our program is designed to provide students with the required coursework and practicum experience to qualify for credentialing at the Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBA) level. In order to obtain practicum experience, students must first complete a mandatory supervision contract with the Director of the Behavior Analysis program.

Licensure (Iowa, Licensed Assistant Behavior Analyst)

In the state of Iowa, certification as a BCaBA meets the state licensure requirements to obtain an Assistant Behavior Analyst License. Licensure requirements vary state-by-state, so students wishing to practice behavior analysis outside of the state of Iowa should research the state-specific licensure requirements.

Education Programs

The education program of the University is approved by the State Department of Education of Iowa for the certification of teachers.

NC SARA Professional Licensure Information: The Briar Cliff university Educational programs meet the requirements in Iowa. This is not determined for other states, students can check here for who to contact for more information. 

Nursing Programs

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), the Post-Graduate APRN Certificate, and the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs at Briar Cliff University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). All BCU nursing programs are approved by the Iowa Board of Nursing and meet the state educational requirements for licensure in the state of Iowa.

  • All graduates of our accredited pre-licensure BSN program are eligible to take the national licensing exam (NCLEX) in the state of their choice. Completion of the BSN following licensure as an RN does not lead to additional licensure
  • BCU has not made a determination that its MSN and Post-Graduate APRN certificate curricula meet the educational requirements for any other states. Students from other states are encouraged to contact their state licensing boards to determine if the program meets the educational requirements for licensure in that state, by checking each state’s licensing board.
  • Completion of the DNP program does not lead to additional licensure.
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Physical Therapy

The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) is the only accrediting agency that is nationally recognized by the US Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) to accredit entry-level physical therapist education programs. Briar Cliff University Physical Therapy Program is accredited by CAPTE.

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Occupational Therapy

The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) is the only accrediting agency that is nationally recognized by the US Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) to accredit entry-level occupational therapy programs. Briar Cliff University’s Occupational Therapy Program is in the Candidacy phase for accreditation by ACOTE. 

Social Work 

Briar Cliff University Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program (face-to-face and online) is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Completion of the Baccalaureate Social Work (BSW) Program at Briar Cliff University prepares students for professional licensure in Iowa. A determination has not been made of whether the BSW Program at Briar Cliff University meets the licensing requirements for a bachelor's level social work degree outside the state of Iowa. Students who wish to be licensed at the bachelor’s level in states outside of Iowa should seek guidance from the licensing entity in which they plan to practice before beginning the social work program at Briar Cliff University, by reviewing each state’s licensing board.

The social work department has been accredited by the CSWE since 1974.

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Articulation Agreements

Briar Cliff University maintains a number of articulation agreements with other colleges and universities to serve students with specific academic program needs. In some cases, these agreements cover how credits transfer to Briar Cliff University for completion of the baccalaureate degree. In other cases, the agreements allow Briar Cliff University students to transfer to and from degree programs at other institutions while completing the bachelor's degree at Briar Cliff University. 

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Graduate Students | Filing a Complaint

Discover how best to file a complaint for graduate clinical and practicum experiences outside of due process.

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The majority of guidelines and rules can be found in the Student Handbook that all students sign and commit to during the orientation process. Once you are a students, all updates will be communicated to you through your Briar Cliff University email. 


Student Handbook

Enrolled students and their guests are responsible for reading, confirming, and following all University policies referenced on this page and found within the student handbook. 

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Your health and safety is important to us. Briar Cliff University has developed and adopted several additional proactive and precautionary plans, policies, and procedures to further support and enable the health and safety of our campus community.

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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Many departments at Briar Cliff University collect and maintain information about students. Although these records belong to the university, both university policy and federal law accord students a number of rights concerning these records. The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) establishes rules and regulations for access to and disclosure of student records.

To fulfill FERPA requirements, the university has established Policies on Student Records. These policies outline a student's rights regarding his/her records, where records may be kept and maintained, what kinds of information are in those records, the conditions under which the student or others may have access and what action a student can take regarding perceived inaccuracies or if a student's rights have been compromised. The policies on student records are published by the Office of the Registrar. For more information or to receive a copy,  contact the office of the Registrar.

FERPA provides eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records. Students have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. 

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Student Information Release Policy

Most information containing a student’s personal and academic records is considered confidential and is not released to anyone without the student’s written authorization. There is, however, some information that Briar Cliff University and its employees can release without the student’s authorization. This information is defined as “directory information.” Students may also request that this information be withheld from the public, but must do so in person at the Office of the Registrar.

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Campus Right to Know & Security Act Clery Act

Briar Cliff campus security prepares an annual report to in accordance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crimes Statistics Act (Clery Act). 

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Compliance with Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) annual edition is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the departments and agencies of the Federal Government, produced by the Office of the Federal Register and the Government Publishing Office.

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Parking Policy

Briar Cliff University provides parking for students, employees and visitors of the university. Permits are required to park on campus at all times, including spaces designated for disabled persons. Distinct permits will be issued to employees, resident students, and commuter students.

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Privacy Policy

Briar Cliff University does not collect personally identifying information about you when visiting our site, unless you choose to provide such information. Providing such information is strictly voluntary.

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Catering and Alcohol Policy

Briar Cliff University holds a valid liquor license and offer catering services for events on campus. 

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Event Policy

All Briar Cliff University event pricing will be custom quoted upon request. When pricing has been accepted by customer, Briar Cliff University will send a space rental contract for the customer to sign and approved. 

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Persons with Disabilities

 Persons with disabilities who need accommodations should contact to discuss needs. Documentation of the disability is required.

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File A Complaint

Students residing in Iowa or a SARA member state who have a complaint with Briar Cliff should first attempt to resolve their grievance directly with the college through the Student Handbook policies. If a student feels there has been no resolution made to the complaint after following the aforementioned policies, the student may contact the Iowa College Student Aid Commission (Iowa College Aid) by filling out an online dispute form or calling 877-272-4456.

Online Dispute Form

Title IX

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces, among other statutes, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. Title IX states:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. If you feel that have been the victim of sexual discrimination, a sexual assault or harassment you can contact  Daniel Jung, Title IX Coordinator or report at Title IX reporting.

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Academic Standing Policy

In order to be a considered a student in good standing at Briar Cliff University, a student must earn and maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 or better. Any student who fails to earn a 2.00 GPA in any term and whose cumulative GPA drops below 2.00 is classified as a student on probation and runs the risk of being dismissed from the university.

Students who fail to achieve the following cumulative grade point averages are subject to academic dismissal: 

  • 1.00 upon attempting 15 credit hours at BCU
  • 1.25 upon attempting 30 credit hours at BCU
  • 1.50 upon attempting 40 credit hours at BCU
  • 1.75 upon attempting 50 credit hours at BCU
  • 2.00 after attempting 60 or more credit hours at BCU.

NOTE: The preceding includes credit hours taken at Briar Cliff.

In addition, students who fail to achieve the following cumulative grade point averages are subject to academic dismissal:

  • 1.50 upon attempting 70 credit hours
  • 1.75 upon attempting 80 credit hours
  • 2.00 after attempting 90 or more credit hours.

NOTE: The preceding includes transfer credit hours.

A student who is subject to academic dismissal may appeal his or her dismissal to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Any student who is academically dismissed may return to the university after one term (not including summer school). Those who choose to return must show evidence of the likelihood of academic success. Upon readmission to the university, they may resume study on a full-time basis and may apply for financial aid.

Any student receiving a grade point average less than 1.00 in any term is subject to academic review and/or dismissal.

Academic Withdrawal Procedures 

Students may add or drop classes in their schedules with the help of faculty advisors. Classes may be added or dropped within the first two days of the term only. During the next three days, courses may be added and dropped by picking up a Change in Registration form from the Office of the Registrar. After the five days/week, however, only the Registrar’s Office may change a student’s schedule.

Students must seek written instructor approval before adding a class after the first two days of a term. Adding a course will require the instructor’s signature approval during this three day period. Once the signature approval is returned to the Registrar’s Office, the course will be added to the student’s schedule. Dropping a course during this period will be completed in the Registrar’s Office. Students may withdraw from classes through the “last day to withdraw” date in a term. To withdraw from classes, students need written consent both from their faculty advisor and from the instructor of the class from which they wish to withdraw.

When the deadline for withdrawing from a course has expired, students may withdraw, but will receive a grade of ‘WP’ for withdraw passing or ‘WF’ for withdraw failing. ‘WP’ grades do not impact cumulative GPA. ‘WF’ grades calculate into cumulative GPA the same as an ‘F’ grade.

Financial aid will NOT be adjusted after the first week of the term regardless of changes in registration.

Military Students:

Briar Cliff pledges full support to members of our military and/or the spouse of a member (if the member has a dependent child) of the Iowa national guard or reserve forces of the United States and those members who are ordered to state military service or federal service or duty. If members of the military and/or the spouse of a member (if the member has a dependent child) are called to active duty within an academic semester, Briar Cliff will arrange for them to:

  • Complete courses for which they are registered at an accelerated pace;
  • Receive “delayed” grades so that these courses can be completed at the conclusion of active duty; or
  • Withdraw with a grade of “w” from one or more of the courses for which they are registered.

Military members and/or spouses of a member (if the member has a dependent child) will receive a full refund of tuition and fee charges for the academic semester in which they completely withdraw from the institution due to a call to active duty. Room and board charges will be refunded based on the percentage of semester completed. 


Enrolled students and their guests are responsible for reading, confirming, and following all University policies. For accreditations, it is the responsibility of the student completing the licensure program to continuously check with the licensing board(s) in the state in which they intend to obtain a license for information and requirements.


Briar Cliff University will not be held liable if the student is unable to qualify for licensure or certification in any jurisdiction or cannot obtain a practicum/internship location.