University of Iowa

Helpful Terms

In this section:

University Functions and Offices

Academic Advisor: Academic advisors help students explore their academic interests, identify additional resources for information and support, and work with students to develop their plans of study.  Academic advisors serve a similar role as high school guidance counselors.

The University of Iowa has a two-tiered advising structure.  First year undergraduates who have not been admitted directly to the College of Business, Engineering, or Nursing are assigned to a professional academic advisor in the Academic Advising Center.  Students who have been directly admitted to the above programs or who have typically earned 24 semester hours of credit (approximate one year of full-time course-work) will be assigned to a professional or faculty advisor in their major department. 

Academic Advising Center:

Academic Support and Retention (AS&R): Academic Support & Retention seeks to provide support to students as they transition from high school to college and as they progress through their studies at the University of Iowa.

Academic Support and Retention:

CAMBUS: CAMBUS is the University of Iowa’s public bus system.  The bus service is free and open to the general public.


Center for Diversity and Enrichment (CDE): The CDE works to create a welcoming climate for underrepresented students, staff, and faculty.

            Center for Diversity and Enrichment:

Center for Student Involvement and Leadership (CSIL):  CSIL provides resources for student organizations, fraternities and sororities, multicultural programs, and leadership programs. CSIL also includes the Student Legal Services, the Off Campus Housing Service, and the Student Credit and Money Management Service.


Chemistry Resource Center: At the Chemistry Research Center, Chemistry Teaching Assistants offer free tutoring to undergraduate students enrolled in various chemistry classes.

            Chemistry Resource Center:

Dean of Students (DOS): The Office of the Dean of Students has two main functions:  1) It provides assistance to students experiencing crisis and emergency situations. 2) It manages the academic and non-academic conduct systems for UI.

            Dean of Students:

FAFSA: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an online application for federal financial aid.  It includes federal grants, such as the Pell Grant, federal loans, and work-study funds.  This application must be filled out in order to receive federal financial aid.  If you have any questions about FAFSA you can contained theOffice of Student Financial Aid (


Financial aid: Financial aid includes scholarships, loans, grants, and work-study that are meant to meet the costs of education at the University of Iowa.

            Office of Student Financial Aid:

International Programs: International Programs is the University of Iowa’s hub for international activities, including study abroad, and International Student and Scholar Services.

            International Programs:

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS): ISSS enhances the academic, cultural, and social pursuits of international students and scholars.  ISSS provides immigration and personal advising to international students and scholars as well as cross-cultural programming and training.

            International Student and Scholar Services:

Math Tutorial Lab: The Math Lab provides one-on-one help to students who would like assistance studying for their math class.

Math Lab:

Pomerantz Career Center: Pomerantz Career Center provides career counseling and professional development opportunities for students.

            Pomerantz Career Center:

Registration: During specific registration periods, students can register for the next term’s courses.  Often additional criteria must be met before a student can register, such as approval from their academic advisor.

            Registration Information:

Registrar: The registrar is responsible for maintaining class enrollment and all academic records.  The Office of the Registrar offers information about registration, academic calendars, tuition, residency requirements, and graduation requirements.  The Office of the Registrar also handles requests for transcripts.

            Office of the Registrar:

Residence Hall (Res Hall): Residence halls are the on campus housing available to students.  They are casually called dorms.  However, unlike the dormitories of the past, residence halls are not just a place for students to sleep.  Residence hall staff provide programming, tutoring, social opportunities, and emotional support to students.

            Housing and Dining:

Speaking Center: The Speaking Center offers one-on-one and small group tutoring and consultation to students and instructors who would like to work on any aspect of oral communication.

Speaking Center:

Student Health & Wellness: Student Health & Wellness provides appointments for both health (illness, injury, etc.) and wellness (nutrition, physical activity, stress, tobacco, &Sexual Health) related concerns.

            Student Health and Wellness:

Supplemental Instruction (SI): SI is a free resource where fellow students (SI Leaders) facilitate activities to help you understand specific courses better.

            Supplemental Instruction:

TRIO Student Support Services (TRIO SSS): TRIO SSS is a supportive academic community that seeks to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds to do well academically, graduate in a timely manner, and be accepted to graduate or professional school if they choose to pursue education beyond the undergraduate level.

            TRIO Student Support Services:

Tutor Iowa: A resource for students who would like additional academic assistance in a variety of courses.

            Tutor Iowa:

University Counseling Service (UCS): The UCS offers a variety of mental health consultation, counseling, and outreach services for currently enrolled University of Iowa students.

University Counseling Service:

Women’s Resource & Action Center (WRAC): WRAC works to create greater equity for individuals and communities of all identities, with a particular focus on women. Services include support and discussion groups, counseling, scholarships and awards, and the Sojourner Truth Library.


Writing Center: The Writing Center is available to anyone in the University of Iowa community (students, faculty, staff) who would like help with their writing projects. 

Writing Center:

Miscellaneous Terms

Academic Probation: Academic probation is a warning that a student has fallen out of “good academic standing.”  Typically, this is determined by a combination of cumulative and term GPA (your overall GPA and semester GPA, respectively).  Probation is a warning that you must improve your academic performance otherwise you may be dismissed by your academic college and you may not graduate.  Each college at the University of Iowa has its own standards for staying in good standing:

            College of Liberal Arts and Sciences:

            College of Engineering:

            Tippie College of Business:

Dean’s List: Students who achieve a grade point average of 3.50 or higher on 12 semester hours or more of UI graded course work during a semester or summer session and who have no hours of I (incomplete) or O (no grade reported) for that enrollment are recognized by inclusion on the Dean's List for that semester.

Degree Audit: A degree audit is used to determine a student’s academic progress towards their desired degree.

Degree Applications: Students must apply for a degree for the session in which they intend to graduate.

Dismissal: Students may be dismissed from their college if they do not improve their academic performance after being placed on academic probation.

Dropped Class: Students may elect to drop classes during the semester for various reasons (cost of tuition, unexpected illness or injury, lack of academic preparation for a specific course, etc.).  Dropping is different from withdrawing because withdrawing involves dropping all classes in a semester, not just some.  If you drop a class after the end of the second week of class the course will continue to appear on your transcript with a mark of “W.”  Classes marked with a “W” do not count towards your GPA.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): Federal law that governs the privacy of student educational records, access to those records, and disclosure of information from them.

First-Generation College Student: First-generation college students are the first in their family to earn a four-year degree.

General Education: General Education courses in various areas of study are required for graduation.  General Education allows students to explore a variety of courses and helps them become well-rounded in their studies.  General Education requirements vary from college to college.

Graduation with Distinction: The Office of the Registrar certifies to the dean of the college the names of students eligible to graduate with distinction. The college awards degrees "with highest distinction" to students in the highest 2 percent of the graduating class, "with high distinction" to students in the next highest 3 percent, and "with distinction" to the next highest 5 percent. Ranking is based on students' grade point averages for all college level study undertaken before the final registration.

To be eligible for graduation with distinction, students must complete a minimum 60 s.h. of University of Iowa credit of which at least 45 s.h. must have been completed before the student's final registration.

HawkID: The HawkID is your personal identification used along with your HawkID password to access most online services at the University of Iowa. It is usually made up of some combination of your first, middle and last name. For example, John F Doe might have the ID jfdoe.

Higher education: Higher education includes education after the high school level.  Institutions of higher education include universities, colleges, seminaries, institutes of technology, community colleges, and vocational schools. 

Iowa One Card: The Iowa One Card is the student ID card for University of Iowa Students.  It is used for after hours access to the Learning Commons at the Main Library, checking out Library materials, meal plans and doing laundry in the residence halls, and other tasks.  

Living-Learning Community (LLC): First-year students belong to LLCs where they can connect with a community while blending the residential and academic experience.

Mandatory Fees: Most students enrolled at the University of Iowa must pay mandatory fees that help pay for the facilities and services offered to them.

Office Hours: Many faculty members hold regular weekly office hours.  These hours are a time for students to drop-in and get to know their professor/instructor and/or receive additional help with the course material.  No appointment is necessary for office hours.

President's List: University of Iowa undergraduate students who achieve a grade point average of 4.00 on 12 semester hours or more of UI graded course work and who have no hours of I (incomplete) or O (no grade reported) for two consecutive semesters (including summer session) are recognized by inclusion on the President's List.

Residency: Residency is used to determine a student’s tuition rate.  In-state means the student is considered a resident of Iowa whereas out-of-state students are residents of another state.  A student can become a resident of Iowa by following the guidelines on the registrar’s website:

Tuition: Tuition owed to the University of Iowa is determined by the number of semester hours a student is enrolled in.  Tuition does not cover the cost of books, fees, or room and board.

Transition: The transition to college occurs as students move from familiar environments and experiences (ex. high school, living with their parents, and/or working full-time) to unfamiliar environments and experiences (living on campus or in an apartment, taking classes at the college level, etc.).

Withdrawal: Withdrawal means a student has decided to drop all their classes for a given semester.  This does not necessarily mean students have withdrawn from the university.  Students who choose to withdraw from a semester must process a Withdrawal of RegistrationOnce the semester begins, only a portion of tuition may be refunded.  Please see the registrar’s website for further information about deadlines for withdrawing and what percent of tuition may be refunded:


AAC: Academic Advising Center

ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act

AI: Advantage Iowa

ARC: Academic Resource Center

ARH: Associated Residence Halls

AS&R: Academic Support & Retention

CCOM: Carver College of Medicine

CDE: Center for Diversity and Enrichment

CLEP: College-Level Examination Program

CSIL: Center for Student Involvement and Leadership

DOS: Dean of Students

FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid

FERPA: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

FSL: Fraternity and Sorority Life

GA: Graduate Assistant

Gen Ed: General Education

GPA: Grade Point Average

ISSS: International Student and Scholar Services

LLC: Living-learning community

P/N: Pass/No Pass

RA: Residence Assistant or Research Assistant, depending on the context

SDS: Student Disability Services

SHW: Student Health and Wellness

s.h.: Semester hours

SI: Supplemental Instruction

TA: Teach Assistant

Tippie: Shortened name of the Tippie College of Business

TRIO SSS: TRIO Student Support Services;

UCS: University Counseling Service

UI: The University of Iowa

UIOWA: The University of Iowa

UISG: University of Iowa Student Government.

WRAC: Women’s Resource & Action Center

Online Portals

MyUI: Students use this site to register for class, view their grades, view and respond to financial aid notifications, and many other tasks.

ICON: ICON (Iowa Courses Online) is the University of Iowa’s course management system.  Most professors post syllabi, course materials, and grades on ICON.

HireaHawk: Job and internship openings (both on campus and from external employers) are listed in HireaHawk. 

OrgSync: The online portal for connecting with student organizations.

Resources for Faculty & Staff