Student Life

The purpose of Student Life is to make Graceland a home for all students. We collaborate with the Graceland community to cultivate a culture where students discern who they are called to be, and where resources, support and opportunities are provided to help them answer that call.


Residence Life

The House System
Graceland’s basic unit of student life is known as a “house”. The house system is a unique program based on the principle of inclusion that recognizes the importance of each student attending the university and celebrates the individuality of each person. Members of each house elect six students to hold dual house/student government leadership positions for each house. Under their direction, social, religious, and academic support activities are planned for the house members. In addition, through the leadership of those six student leaders, the student voice is effectively communicated to the six student government organizations.

House membership cuts across academic classification, geographic regions, socio-economic backgrounds, racial and cultural backgrounds, as well as across all interest areas. This diversity ensures full-time students have the opportunity to examine long-held belief systems and to learn to appreciate and celebrate diversity in a supportive caring environment.

The Room Placement Process
Graceland University believes a significant portion of a student's learning experience can be achieved through association with other students in residence hall living. At the beginning of their first year of enrollment, all full-time students (whether living on or off campus) are assigned to a house during the room placement process. They will remain members of that house through the duration of their education at GU.

The process of placing new students in rooms begins in May. At that time, the Residence Life Office generates reports about the returning members of each of the 17 houses. Those reports gather the following information: academic areas of study, athletic team membership, and home towns. New incoming students are then placed in a manner which spreads out those groupings as evenly as possible, thus helping ensure the richness of the Graceland residential experience. The first round of placement is completed in June, and is sent out to students via their GU e-mail account. For help logging into GU email accounts, students may contact InfoCentral at 641-784-5167.

Housing requests can be completed online after a student has received their MyGraceland username and password, through June 30th. Roommate requests are considered when the request is received from both parties and space is available. Chances of being placed with the roommate of your choice are greatest if the request is submitted prior to June 9.

The On Campus Living Policy
On the Lamoni campus, residence hall living is required of all students unless approval is received from the Residence Life Office. A limited number of students with Senior status are approved to live off campus each year. Seniors receive priority. Students exempt from this policy are: students who are 23 years of age or older, military veterans, married students, or students living with legal dependents. Students who qualify for one of these exemptions need to complete an Off Campus Application along with the necessary documentation to verify their exempt status, i.e.: copy of marriage license, dependent birth certificates, military ID card.

Students who wish to live off campus must complete an Off Campus Application. To be eligible to apply to live off campus, students must have earned 88 credit hours by the end of the Spring semester and be registered full time for the upcoming fall semester. The deadline for returning students to apply to live off campus is in March of the previous academic year. The number of upperclassmen approved to live off campus is determined by comparing the total number of number of beds available to the total number of current students enrolled, the size of the graduating senior class, and the current number of off campus students returning for the next academic year.

Students who live with their parent(s) or legal guardian(s) within a 25 mile radius of the GU Lamoni campus may qualify for a local vicinity exception. Student and parent(s) legal guardian(s) must complete and submit a signed notarized copy of the Local Vicinity Exception Form. Students who are found not living with their parent(s) or legal guardian(s) will be billed full room and board for the semester in question.

Other exceptions to the On Campus Living Policy are rare, but are considered on a case-by-case basis. Students who do not meet the above exemptions to the policy need to submit an Off Campus Application to the Residence Life Office for consideration. Students living off campus are responsible for their own arrangements, however, the Residence Life Office keeps a list of the names and contact information of local landlords willing to rent to college students.

The Housing Contract
Students are required to sign and submit an online housing contract. The online form is available on MyGraceland. A link to the form will be included on the Enrollment Checklist. Signed housing contracts are valid for the academic year unless cancelled under the terms of the contract. Returning GU students sign contracts in the Spring during the Spring room selection process for the following academic year. Returning students who do not select a room nor turn in a signed room contract during the Spring room selection process, will be placed where rooms are available by the Residence Life Office.

Residence Hall Closures

University-owned traditional residence halls are closed during the official breaks of the university, with the exception of Fall Break. However, if students have no other alternative, arrangements can be made to stay in the residence halls for a fee. As the dining facilities are closed during breaks, meals are not provided. Students living in the Small, Thomas or Tower Apartments are not required to leave their residences during official breaks of the university.

Meal Plans

All of GU's housing facilities are located near the Floyd M. McDowell Commons. Students living in the four traditional residence halls (Graybill, Gunsolley, Tess Morgan and Walker Halls) as well as the College Avenue houses, are required to purchase a full board plan in the Floyd McDowell Commons. Additional information regarding dining options available online ( Students residing in the Small & Thomas Apartments are required to purchase the 5-meal plan, but may also choose to purchase the full board plan. The full board plan, the 5-meal plan, and Gbucks are available to students who reside off campus. Gbucks are dollars which can be loaded onto a student’s Graceland ID card and can be used on campus for food, or at five Lamoni restaurants for food, as well as the Lamoni Coliseum movie theater. Gbucks are available to all students.

Students living in the Tower Apartments, designed for married students and students with legal dependents, are not required to purchase a meal plan.

Campus Ministries

The mission of Campus Ministries is to engage students in building community, sharing faith, and creating peace and justice. We are a partnership between Graceland University and Community of Christ, the university’s founding and sponsoring denomination.

Campus Ministries serves to create a spiritual home for students. A spiritual home is a courageous space where each person can explore and deepen their relationship with God, and if a disciple of Jesus Christ, can live out more fully Christ’s mission of invitation, compassion, evangelism, justice and peacemaking, and disciple formation. We invite all students to discern their vocation and calling through academics, their own faith tradition, and through ecumenical and interfaith activities. Weekly activities and worship in the Community of Christ tradition are student-led and supported by Campus Ministers. We collaborate with other faith traditions for both on-campus and off-campus options for students.

Campus Ministries is an integral part of the Student Life. Through collaboration, we have started using the VALUE Rubrics of the Association of American Colleges and Universities to assess student learning outcomes associated with co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. The Campus Ministries offices are located in the Memorial Student Center (MSC), in the Student Life offices wing.

The Campus Ministries team includes

  • student chaplains serving in each of the residence houses available to offer caring peer support, including the president of the Council of House Chaplains
  • associates who are student employees serving in specialized areas and ministries, including a student pastor, and
  • two campus ministers, one full-time and one graduate assistant serving part-time and enrolled in the Community of Christ seminary

InSpire: Missional Ministry and Leadership
InSpire prepares students for lifelong service in missional ministry and leadership in the Community of Christ following graduation. Through a formational process connecting academic courses, the missional ministry and leadership practicum, and on-campus experiential and experimental ministry, students discern and/or continue their journey to become effective bi-vocational ministers. The goal is to merge fields of interests and education with theological and ethical understanding into missional ministry and leadership. Contact the Campus Minister for more information.

Graceland Student Government (Lamoni Campus)

All students enrolled at Graceland are members of the Graceland Student Government (GSG). Student government is involved in all campus areas which affect students. The GSG is organized to express their views on issues of institutional policy and on matters of general interest to the student body. The branches of student government and their corresponding bodies include:

  • Executive — The executive authority and responsibility of the Graceland Student Government will be vested in the GSG president, the GSG Leadership Council, and Council of House Presidents.
  • Legislative — Student Senate
  • Academic — Academic Student Council (ASC)
  • Social — Campus Organization for Social Activities (COSA) and Intramural Athletics (IM)
  • Judicial — Council on Student Welfare (CSW)
  • Spiritual — Council of House Chaplains

Each body has specific functions and responsibilities.


The Career, Academic, and Personal Counseling (CAP) Center

The CAP Center is located in the north wing of Patroness Hall. Its purpose is to help students understand themselves and realize their career, academic and personal goals by integrating three services:

CAREER PLANNING — Career Development Specialists guide students through the process of self-assessment, choosing a major, exploring possible career fields, and then the job search process. They help students locate resources for securing internships and summer jobs. Advisors also assist with resume and cover letter development, LinkedIn profile writing, SEO (online presence), personal statements for graduate school, and provide mock interviews. The CAP center sponsors internship and career fairs on campus. The CAP center also assists students in attending career fairs off-campus.

ACADEMIC ADVISING — Academic Advising Specialists help all new students and nursing majors with the academic planning process as well as to explore life and career goals. Advisors share information about campus resources, educational options including choice of major, and academic policies and procedures. Students begin to work with their Academic Advisors during New Student Orientation prior to the beginning of classes.

PERSONAL COUNSELING — Personal Counseling staff helps all students with problems such as depression, anxiety, and other behavioral concerns that interfere with their academic and social life on campus through individual, group or couples counseling, crisis intervention, or brief problem-solving sessions. Through the counseling process, students may explore their interpersonal relationships and their college experience. Personal Counseling staff is also available to talk with students or groups on personal development topics such as assertiveness, eating disorders, date rape, and conflict resolution. The personal counselor(s) may refer students to other professional services when necessary.

Student Publications

The Tower is an online newspaper published by Graceland students that covers the happenings of the campus community in addition to voicing student and faculty opinion. Two print versions are published per year. The Vespiary is a student-run literary magazine produced annually. The Acacia is the university yearbook, which is also published by students. All three of these publications are under the supervision of sponsors.

Music Groups

Graceland’s Music Department offers a variety of ensembles for students to participate in, including: Orchestra, Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, Drumline, Pep Band, Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, and a variety of chamber groups (percussion ensemble, flute choir, brass choir, etc.). Ensembles perform at a wide variety of events both on and off campus throughout the course of the academic year. Graceland students, regardless of major, may also register for lessons in voice, piano, strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion, guitar, and bass.

Recreational Facilities

The Eugene E. and Julia Travis Closson Physical Education Center includes an indoor pool; a 200 meter indoor track; weight room; and badminton, basketball, tennis and volleyball courts. Outdoor facilities include two small lakes, an 18-hole disc golf course, the Hal McKain Tennis Courts, and the Bruce Jenner Sports Complex with the Ackerley 400 meter outdoor track, the Rasmussen soccer field, and the Huntsman football field. By special arrangement, Graceland students are welcome to join the Lamoni Golf and Country Club.

Fitz Center

The Fitz Center is a state-of-the-art facility equipped with cardiovascular equipment (treadmills, elliptical machines, stationary bikes, stair climbers and rowing machines), weight equipment (including free weights), and a group fitness studio for group fitness classes. Full-time students have access to this facility with payment of their student activity fee. The center is open 5:30 am – midnight seven days a week.

Student Health

Graceland partners with Community Health Centers of Southern Iowa to service the health needs of students. CHCSI has a satellite location on campus, located in the lower level of Walker Hall (entrance at the northeast corner of the building). Please visit the Health Services page on My Graceland for additional information.

Health and Immunizations Forms
All students entering Graceland for the first time are required to have a completed Health Form with an updated Immunization Record on file at Student Health Services.

Immunization Requirements
Each student will be required to have proof of two measles vaccinations if he/she was born after 1957 and has not had the active disease. Exemption from the measles vaccination will be permitted to those for whom the immunization is contraindicated and verified by a doctor. Students from countries with a high prevalence of Tuberculosis are required to have a TB test done within the past year.

Health Insurance
All full-time students are REQUIRED to have an insurance plan that is valid in the state of Iowa. Please note: Many policies, including Medicaid, are only valid in the home-state.

Health Insurance for International Students
All international students, including Canadians, will be automatically enrolled with LewerMark Health Insurance which will be charged to their student account each semester. For more information about the International Student Health Insurance plan, please visit My Graceland.

Student Handbook

A student handbook is available online. This handbook includes the Code of Conduct, campus policies, and general information.

Student Persistence

43% of new high school graduates who entered Graceland University in Fall 2010 graduated by 2016. 79% of the transfer students who entered Graceland in Fall 2010 completed the baccalaureate degree at Graceland by 2016.  Graduation rates of students with athletically related aid are available here.

2016-2017 Cumulative Summary of Enrollment


Lamoni     1,358
Independence     95
CGCS     328
Total Undergraduate     1,781
CGCS     1,139
Total Graduate     1,139
Total University Enrollment     2,920


Cumulative Geographical Distribution of Undergraduate Students for 2016-2017

(Lamoni and Independence Campuses - Fall and Spring Semesters)

40 States plus American Somoa, Armed Forces Europe and Puerto Rico are represented. 26 Countries are represented.

Alabama 4 Angola 1
Alaska 1 Australia 7
American Somoa 1 Azerbaijan 1
Arizona 31 Bosnia & Herzegovina 2
Arkansas 5 Bulgaria 1
Armed Forces Europe 1 Cameroon 1
California 85 Canada 11
Colorado 16 Columbia 4
Connecticut 2 Dominican Republic 1
Delaware 2 Egypt 2
Florida 40 Ghana 1
Georgia 3 Honduras 1
Hawaii 14 Indonesia 1
Idaho 4 Jamaica 1
Illinois 37 Japan 1
Indiana 3 Kosovo 2
Iowa 587 Latvia 1
Kansas 36 Mexico 3
Louisiana 2 Nepal 4
Maryland 3 Norway 1
Massachusetts 1 Russia 1
Michigan 12 Spain 1
Minnesota 9 Sweden 1
Mississippi 1 United Kindom 3
Missouri 324 United States 1,390
Nebraska 5 Venezuela 9
Nevada 11 Zambia 1
New Jersey 2 TOTAL COUNTRIES 1,470
New Mexico 1    
New York 7    
North Carolina 3    
Ohio 13    
Oklahoma 5    
Oregon 8    
Pennsylvania 3    
Puerto Rico 18    
South Carolina 1    
Tennessee 3    
Texas 61    
Utah 2    
Washington 13    
West Virginia 1    
Wisconson 8