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Frequently Asked Questions for Graduation, the Commencement Ceremony, and everything in between.

What is the difference between Commencement and Graduation?


Often referred to as “Graduation,” the Commencement Ceremony is just that, a ceremony.  It is an end-of-spring semester celebration for students projected to successfully complete all their graduation requirements by the end of that spring semester. Students completing all their requirements by the end of a summer or fall semester may also participate in the upcoming spring ceremony. You will not receive a diploma at the Commencement Ceremony. 


The term in which you have officially and successfully completed all your graduation requirements. Remember, signing up for the Commencement Ceremony is not a guarantee that you have met the requirements for graduation. After your academic records have been reviewed, you will be contacted at the mailing address you included on your application for graduation to notify you of the audit results.

For questions regarding the Commencement Ceremony, email for additional information.

For questions regarding graduation, your degree/certificate, or your degree audit, please contact the Records office at

How do I apply to graduate?

Students may apply for graduation to confirm you have met all requirements for degrees here. 

When is the deadline to apply for graduation?

Deadlines to apply for graduation can be found here

How do I register to participate in the Commencement Ceremony?

Students may register for the Commencement Ceremony on the Graduation website by clicking “Apply for Graduation” in the upper right-hand column. When applying for graduation you will be prompted to indicate if you wish to participate in the Commencement Ceremony.

Is there a Commencement Ceremony in December, too?

No, there is only one Commencement Ceremony, which takes place in May at the end of the spring semester.

When is the deadline to register to participate for the Commencement Ceremony?

There is no official deadline for registration. However, if you want your name printed in the program, you have until mid-April to let us know that you plan to attend. After that date, you are still encouraged to attend but your name and degree/certificate will not be included in the PPCC Commencement program that will be distributed at Commencement. Deadlines are announced via email once you submit an application for graduation.

Can I participate in the spring Commencement Ceremony if my expected graduation date is for the following summer term?

Yes, students who are within 9 credit hours of graduation may elect to participate. Your participation in Commencement does not guarantee award of degree or certificate. Degree/certificate will be awarded with confirmation of degree audit.

Can I participate in the ceremony if I graduated in the summer or fall term preceding graduation?

Yes, if you indicated that you plan to participate in Commencement as you applied for graduation, we will provide information concerning the Commencement Ceremony.

If you did not initially indicate that you wish to participate in the ceremony, please send an email to to change your status.

Can I still participate in the Commencement Ceremony if I have not received confirmation that my degree audit (confirmation that I have fulfilled all requirements) is complete?

Yes, however your participation in the Commencement Ceremony does not guarantee award of degree or certificate. Degree/certificate will be awarded with confirmation of degree audit.

What happens if I do not apply for graduation or register to participate in the Commencement Ceremony?

You must apply for graduation to initiate final awarding of degree. Apply for graduation here. You may elect to participate in the Commencement Ceremony, though participation is not mandatory. 

How can I confirm that you have received my registration to participate in the Commencement Ceremony?

If you filled out the graduation application and marked that you were planning to attend the ceremony, your name has been added to our list of registered participants. You will begin receiving email confirmations, but please allow up to 10 business days for them to come through.

We are working on creating a better system for students to potentially check this list. Please check the FAQs periodically to see if updates have been made.

Do I have to attend the Commencement Ceremony?

No, participation is not mandatory, but we encourage you to take part in this special day. You've earned it!

How can I confirm you have received my application for graduation?

You can confirm that the Records office has received your application for graduation by emailing

What do I do if I entered the wrong information on my application for graduation? 

For information pertaining to graduation/degree auditing, send an email to


If you wish to change your answer for attending the Commencement Ceremony, email

What degree/certificate will be printed on my diploma?

You will receive periodic letters and emails that list how your degree/certificate will be printed on your diploma after the Records office has processed your graduation audit.

You can also send an email to for more information. 

When will I receive my diploma?

Your degree/certificate will be posted to your transcript approximately 4 weeks after the end of the current semester. 

·    Diplomas are not issued at the Commencement Ceremony. Diplomas and certificates will be mailed to the address provided on your application for graduation approximately 8 weeks after your degree is posted to your transcript. It is your responsibility to make sure the address you provide will be valid at that time.

·    If you have unmet requirements, we will keep your application on file for one semester and check your records during that time to determine if the degree/certification requirements have been met.

·    After one semester has passed and degree requirements remain unmet, you must re-apply for graduation.

   I moved/will be moving. How do I update my address to get my diploma if I already submitted an application for graduation?

Contact the Records office by sending an email to to update your address.

Can I attend the ceremony for a certificate, or is it just for degrees?

You can attend the Commencement Ceremony for a certificate, a degree, or any combination/number of the two. You must apply for graduation to initiate the awarding of a degree/certificate. Degree/certificate will be awarded with confirmation of degree audit. Contact for more information.

When and where is the Commencement Ceremony?

Ceremony details can be found on our Graduation page. Click here to view latest information.

How long will the Commencement Ceremony last?

Length of the ceremony varies depending on the number of students participating, but you should plan for it to last around 2.5 hours once the ceremony begins. We individually call every participating student’s name to honor their work and effort. 

Do I have to stay for the whole duration of the Commencement Ceremony?

Yes, no matter when your name is called, be prepared to stay until the ceremony has ended. This is a time for celebration of you and your peers’ accomplishments, so sit back and enjoy the festivities!

Who do I contact if I have special needs (i.e. mobility, hearing, other) should I choose to participate in the ceremony?

You can:


A.    Mark your request for accommodations in the graduation application.

B.    Reply to the Commencement emails as prompted if you require accessibility services or require more information about accommodations offered at the Commencement Ceremony.

C.   Contact Accessibility Services via email:, webpage, or call 719.502.3333. 

How will I receive information regarding the ceremony?

Students who have submitted a graduation application will receive periodic email communications with information pertaining to Commencement. It is the student's responsibility to list an email address that is correct and that they check frequently on their graduation application. Information is also posted on the Graduation page on PPCC's website.

What do I do if I need an invitation letter from the College so that my family outside of the U.S. may join me at my Commencement Ceremony?

Please contact to receive communication confirming graduation. 

What is the dress code?

There is no formal dress code for guests, however, business casual is recommended. Graduates should wear appropriate clothing and comfortable footwear, bearing in mind they will be walking throughout the ceremony.


Students must have and wear a cap, gown, and tassel. Visit the PPCC Bookstore beginning mid-March or anytime online to purchase your cap, gown, and tassel.

Are there other important obligations I should be aware of before I graduate?

Be aware that financial holds stop the Records office from mailing diplomas. If you have questions about this, email Also, make sure your mailing address is up to date so that your diploma arrives at the correct address.

Are there any costs associated with the Commencement Ceremony?

The only cost the student is responsible for is the one-time purchase of your cap, gown, and tassel, which can be purchased at the PPCC Bookstore. You may elect to also purchase invitations and other add-ons, but otherwise there are no other required costs associated with the ceremony. 

Is parking available for the Commencement Ceremony?

Yes, parking for students and guests is available free of charge at the Commencement Ceremony venue.

Is transportation available to the Commencement Ceremony?

PPCC does not provide transportation for students to the ceremony venue, however we encourage our students to look at public transport options using google maps.

Do you provide special seating or services for my guest(s) if they have mobility issues?

Every effort has been made to comply with ADA accessibility guidelines to accommodate patrons with disabilities. In all ceremony venues it is advisable that you provide a wheelchair for your guest if they have any mobility issues due to health, age, or other.

Is there disabled parking available at the ceremony?

Disabled parking is available at the Commencement site. A valid disabled parking sticker or hang tag is needed for disabled parking and these spaces are available on a limited basis. It is advisable that you provide a wheelchair for your guest(s) if they have any mobility issues and/or drop off your guest(s) with an escort prior to parking. 

Are guest tickets required?

Tickets are not required for the Commencement Ceremony. You may invite as many of your friends and family as desired to celebrate with you.

Can my family sit with me during the Commencement Ceremony?

No, family members are not allowed on the floor during the ceremony. However, once the ceremony ends, your family can join you for photos and celebration throughout the venue.

Are there childcare options offered at the ceremony venue?

No, please make accommodations for your child(ren) elsewhere or be sure someone accompanies your child(ren) throughout the ceremony, as no family members are permitted on the graduation floor during the ceremony. 

How are names called during the ceremony?

On the day of Commencement when you check-in, you will receive a card to fill out with your name and, if applicable, the phonetic spelling of your name. You will keep this card with you the entire time, and once you are prompted to line up to walk across the stage, you will hand this card to the announcer and they will read your name. Other details, such as the degree(s)/certificate(s) you are graduating with, will not be announced as you walk across the stage. 

Where do I get my cap, gown, and tassel?

Visit the PPCC Bookstore beginning mid-March or anytime online to purchase your cap, gown, and tassel.

Do I need to pay for my cap, gown, and tassel?

There is an associated cost for your cap, gown, and tassel. Visit the PPCC Bookstore beginning mid-March or anytime online to purchase your cap, gown, and tassel.

What if I have my own cap, gown, and tassel?

You may wear your own cap and gown only if they are black. They do not need to be approved beforehand. You may want to purchase your own tassel, however, which you can do at the PPCC Bookstore website.

Can you mail my cap, gown, and tassel?

Yes - students can order their regalia at the PPCC Bookstore and select and pay for shipping to their home. 

Is there a deadline to purchase my cap, gown, and tassel?

The general deadline is May 1st. Contact the PPCC Bookstore for more details. 

If I graduated in the summer or fall term before the Commencement Ceremony, can I order a tassel charm with the year I graduated on it?

Alternate year number charms for your tassels may be available to exchange or order.  Please contact the PPCC Bookstore to see if they can accommodate this request.  

Can I decorate my cap?

Yes! You may decorate your cap any way you like for this momentous occasion.

Where can I get graduation announcements?

You can order announcements and much more at the PPCC Bookstore

Where do I get cords for clubs, organizations, or programs I’m involved in?

For student clubs, organizations, and programs, graduates should contact their club advisors for information about cords.

For Honor Cords, which are typically distributed as graduates check-in to the ceremony venue on the day of the Commencement Ceremony, students will want to verify their GPA to ensure they receive the correct cord for their academic achievement. Here is the breakdown for Honor Cords:

Graduating with highest honor, Summa Cum Laude = 4.0 cumulative GPA.

Graduating with great honor, Magna Cum Laude = 3.75 - 3.99 cumulative GPA.

Graduating with honor, Cum Laude = 3.5 - 3.749 cumulative GPA. 

Will I be able to purchase graduation photos?

Yes, you will be given a few opportunities to "capture the graduation moment" in your official academic regalia. A photographer will be available during the Ceremony to take graduate portraits. Proofs with information on ordering photos will be mailed to all degree candidates immediately following the ceremony. 

Can I take photos during the ceremony?

Students may take photos during the ceremony. Family members will not be allowed on the floor during the ceremony but will have access at its conclusion, at which time they may take photos with their graduate(s).

Will the Commencement Ceremony be recorded?

Yes, the Commencement Ceremony will be recorded and posted to the Graduation website within a month following the ceremony.

Can I bring personal belongings (cell phone, purse, etc.), and will there be a place for me to store them?

You may bring a cell phone into the venue as long as it remains on silent and on your person, but do not bring purses, cameras, etc., as there will be no place to store them. Please leave them with your friends or family, or in your car, as none of these items will be permitted on the ceremony floor. We will not be responsible for items left behind.

Directions for students on scheduled day of Commencement Ceremony:

For directions to the Commencement venue, times, and other details, visit PPCC’s Graduation page for the latest info.


This is a time for celebration, and there will likely be high spirits and lots of action surrounding this event. Once you arrive at the ceremony venue, please pay attention to signage, helpers, and PPCC Faculty & Staff as they direct you through the ceremony. We are so proud of our graduates and look forward to sharing this special day with you. 

Who can I contact for questions or additional information?

For questions regarding the Commencement Ceremony, you can email for additional information.


For questions regarding graduation, your degree/certificate, or your degree audit, please contact the Records office at



Please note that all information above may be updated or changed periodically. Be sure to check the FAQs frequently so that you have the most up-to-date information.


Congrats Grads!