FAQs

Graduation and Commencement Frequently Asked Questions


How do I get information about the university ceremony and graduation convocations?

Instructions and information for the university undergraduate and graduate ceremonies are posted on the Ceremony Information page approximately four weeks prior to graduation. You may also contact the Graduation Office, 210 Enrollment Services Center; or phone (515) 294-1840; or email graduation@iastate.edu.

For information on college convocations, see the College Convocations and Receptions page.

Are tickets required for the university commencement ceremonies?

No. Tickets are not required for the university commencement ceremony.

How do I get a cap and gown for the ceremony?

Caps and gowns may be obtained from the University Book Store, Memorial Union, phone: (515) 294-5684.

What do I need to do before graduation?

Undergraduate Students:
1)
You must complete and submit an application for graduation through AccessPlus (student tab/graduation/application). Degree requirements will be reviewed by the Graduation Office and your graduation status will be posted in AccessPlus under student tab, graduation, Graduation Status by midterm. The student and adviser will be notified of the student’s graduation status--by midterm.

2) Complete Financial Aid or Loans Receivable Exit Interview: If you have borrowed from the Stafford/Direct loan program, you must complete an exit counseling session. For more information, visit: http://www.financialaid.iastate.edu/. You will need to have your Department of Education PIN (not your ISU Card PIN) to access this site. If you no longer have this PIN number, you can request a duplicate on-line. If you do not have computer access, you can stop in the Office of Student Financial Aid at 0210 Beardshear to complete an exit interview packet. If you have questions, please contact the Office of Student Financial Aid, 0210 Beardshear, or phone (515) 294-2223.

If you have borrowed from the Disadvantaged Student Loan, Federal Perkins Loan, Health Profession Student Loan, Perkins Loan, or University Long Term Loan programs, you will be required to complete an exit counseling session. Detailed information will be sent to you the term of your graduation. If you have any questions please contact the Loans Receivable Office, 0880 Beardshear, or phone (515) 294-7388.

Your transcript will not be released if you do not complete exit interview requirements for Financial Aid and/or Loans Receivable.

Graduate Students:
1)
 Apply for graduation through Access Plus. Also see the Graduate College website for graduation requirements and deadlines.

2) Complete Financial Aid or Loans Receivable Exit Interview: If you have borrowed from the Stafford/Direct loan program, you must complete an exit counseling session on-line at https://www.nslds.ed.gov. You will need to have your Department of Education PIN (not your ISU Card PIN) to access this site. If you no longer have this PIN number, you can request a duplicate on-line. If you do not have computer access, you can stop in the Office of Student Financial Aid at 0210 Beardshear to complete an exit interview packet. If you have questions, please contact the Office of Student Financial Aid, 0210 Beardshear, or phone (515) 294-2223.

If you have borrowed from the Disadvantaged Student Loan, Federal Perkins Loan, Health Profession Student Loan, Perkins Loan, or University Long Term Loan programs, you will be required to complete an exit counseling session. Detailed information will be sent to you the term of your graduation. If you have any questions please contact the Loans Receivable Office, 0880 Beardshear, or phone (515) 294-7388.

Your transcript will not be released if you do not complete exit interview requirements for Financial Aid and/or Loans Receivable.

What if I need special assistance at the ceremony?

Graduates with special needs: Any graduate planning to participate in the commencement ceremony who will need special assistance (wheelchair access, etc.) should contact the Registrar's Office at (515) 294-1840 prior to the ceremony.

Guests with special needs: Special seating accomodations for guests is available on a first come, first serve basis and is on the concourse level of Hilton Coliseum. If assistance is needed the day of the ceremony, please speak with an usher. Please note that the handicapped entrance is on the west side of Hilton Coliseum.

How early should my family and I arrive for the ceremony?

The doors to Hilton Coliseum/gates to Jack Trice Stadium open to everyone two hours before the ceremony is scheduled to start.

How long will the graduation ceremony last?

The fall ceremony is a combined ceremony with both undergraduate and graduate students. The ceremony usually runs around 2.5 hours. The Spring graduate ceremony usually runs around 1.5-2 hours. The Spring undergraduate ceremony, which is significantly larger, runs approximately 3.5 hours. All graduates for all ceremonies will walk across the stage as their name is read.

How do I find out about local lodging and dining for my guests?

Visit the Ames Convention and Visitors Bureau website.

When will diplomas be mailed?

Approximately four weeks prior to graduation, the Graduation Office will email your ISU account with instructions on providing diploma mailing address information through your AccessPlus account. Diplomas will be mailed approximately two-three weeks after graduation.

Transcripts will NOT be mailed to students who have not completed the required Loans or Financial Aid Exit Counseling Sessions or who have a delinquent balance with the university.

What if I want my diploma mailed overseas?

International students returning home after graduation who want their diploma mailed to them overseas need to stop in the Graduation Office in the Office of the Registrar, 210 Enrollment Services Center and fill out an overseas mailer and verify mailing information. (Diplomas will be mailed to an overseas address ONLY when this procedure is completed). Call (515) 294-1840 or e-mail graduation@iastate.edu for more information.

Can I pick up my diploma instead of having it mailed to me?

Approximately four weeks prior to graduation, the Graduation Office will email your ISU account with instructions on providing diploma delivery information through your AccessPlus account. Specify that you prefer to pick up your diploma rather than having it mailed. Diplomas will be available for pick-up in the Graduation Office, 210 Enrollment Services Center, approximately two-three weeks after graduation.

What if I need to change my graduation date to a later semester?

1) Login to AccessPlus (student tab/graduation/application).

2) Open application for term submitted.

3) Select "withdraw application."

4) Submit application for term you plan to complete requirements in.

What are the requirements for "Graduating with Distinction?"

Undergraduates who have a cumulative grade point average of 3.50 or higher at the beginning of their final term are eligible to graduate “with distinction” provided they have completed 60 semester credits of coursework at Iowa State University at the time they graduate, including a minimum of 50 graded credits.

Students who graduate with a cumulative grade point average of 3.90 or higher will graduate Summa Cum Laude; those who graduate with a cumulative grade point average of 3.70 to 3.89 will graduate Magna Cum Laude; and those who graduate with a cumulative grade point average of 3.50 to 3.69 will graduate Cum Laude. This recognition appears on the student’s official transcript and diploma and in the commencement program.

Will my minor appear on my diploma?

Minors appear only on the Iowa State University transcript. Only your major will show on your diploma.