Ceremony Information

Commencement FAQ





Petition to Graduate

What is the deadline to petition to graduate if I want to participate in the commencement ceremony?
Spring: February 17, 2014
Fall: July 21, 2014

Your Student Advisor will notify you when you qualify to submit your petition. You can locate your current status on your degree progress report, which is found on your Student Portal under "My Degree." Allow 5-7 business days for the form to be processed. This completed form, including required fees, must be submitted to release all transcripts, diplomas, and verifications for degrees awarded. After processing this form, your account will be charged the graduation fee plus any applicable sales tax.

Petitions received after the deadlines will be forwarded to the next commencement ceremony date.

What if it has been more than 7 business days, and I have not heard back from Ashford University as to the status of my PTG approval?
It is possible that your form was not properly transmitted. Please email graduation.information@ashford.edu first and alert us that you have not heard back. Then resubmit your form. Please do not hesitate to contact the Registrar Department if you do not hear back within seven business days.

How do I notify the University that I want to participate in a commencement ceremony?
If you have not yet graduated, and have not yet submitted your PTG form, click "YES" in the Attending Commencement box. Note: if the form is submitted on or before the deadline for registration for the spring ceremony (February 17) you will automatically be registered for the spring ceremony in Moline, IL. If the form is submitted after the deadline for the spring ceremony, you will automatically be registered for the fall ceremony in San Diego, CA.

If you have already graduated, notify the University by emailing graduation.information@ashford.edu. Note: if you graduated prior to October 13, 2013 and wish to participate in a ceremony, you may be placed on a waitlist.

If I do not plan on attending commencement, do I still need to fill out the Petition to Graduate (PTG) form?
Yes, all students must submit the PTG form in order to graduate, regardless of their plans to attend commencement.

May I participate in commencement if my PTG Form is not approved?
No. You must have a valid PTG on file to attend commencement.

I am unsure if I will be able to attend commencement. Should I still click YES on attending commencement?
Yes; you will be automatically removed later if you do not order your cap and gown. It is better to RSVP YES if you think there is a chance you might come. Those who miss the deadline are not guaranteed an extension.

When should I start receiving email communications regarding commencement?
Spring: You should receive the first email with cap and gown ordering information on February 26, 2014. If you do not receive this email, please confirm with the Registrar Department that you are cleared to attend the ceremony by emailing graduation.information@ashford.edu.

Fall: TBD

Attending the Commencement Ceremony

I am registered for one commencement ceremony, but I would like to attend another. How do I request a switch?
Please contact graduation.information@ashford.edu. If you are requesting to change to an earlier commencement ceremony, you will be asked to complete a Commencement Exceptions form.

What is the difference between "graduation" and "commencement?"
"Graduation" is a process consisting of completing all academic requirements for your degree, settling all financial obligations, submitting the Petition to Graduate (PTG) form, and obtaining University approval.

"Commencement" refers to the ceremony, officiated by the President of the University, which is an opportunity for students to share the excitement and importance of their academic and honorable accomplishments.

What is there to do at the Ashford Commencement Celebration?
The emphasis of the Celebration, which takes place the day before the commencement ceremony, will be to allow students to personally meet their instructors and the Ashford staff who support them through their academic journey. Some events also include a kids' fun zone, tours, photo opportunities with the president and "Champ," Ashford's lovable mascot, history presentations, and more!

Where can I find detailed information regarding commencement activities?
When your PTG form is approved and you are cleared to attend commencement, you will be placed on the commencement mailing list and begin receiving detailed information. You can also find basic information on the Graduation page on the Ashford website: http://www.ashford.edu/student_services/graduation.htm

Do my family members and friends need tickets to see me walk at commencement?
Not at this time. Seating is first come, first serve. In general, there is plenty of seating for all your guests.

I require accommodation for a disability during the ceremony. Where do I request assistance?
Spring: Please email the Office of Student Access and Wellness at campusaccess@ashford.edu a minimum of two weeks prior to the ceremony.

Fall: Please email the Office of Student Access and Wellness at access@ashford.edu a minimum of two weeks prior to the ceremony.

For those individuals who need large print or Braille programs these will be available on a first come, first served basis, unless requested in advance. Assistive listening devices will also be available upon request. Please contact access@ashford.edu regarding your needs.

Will there be a commencement rehearsal for students to attend?
No; because we are primarily an online university and it would be very difficult to arrange a rehearsal around thousands of travel schedules, there is no formal rehearsal. Students attending the spring commencement ceremony are encouraged to watch the video rehearsal here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIocXsA4ao4. A video for the fall ceremony will be available soon.

I plan on bringing children to commencement. Is childcare offered on Saturday or Sunday?
No; unfortunately Ashford University cannot and will not take responsibility for minors during any commencement event. Children under the age of 18 should always be accompanied by an adult.

Cap and Gown

How do I order my cap and gown?
You must have completed a Petition to Graduate, be eligible to attend, and have indicated that you will participate in the ceremony to receive communications on how to purchase the regalia for the ceremony. Please note: do not order a cap and gown until you have received this communication as it will contain specific directions that must be followed to ensure your participation in the event. If you do not follow those directions, you will be removed from participating in the ceremony and will have to wait for the next available ceremony.

View the current costs of the graduation regalia.

When should I order my cap and gown?
As soon as your PTG form is approved, and if you clicked YES to attending the commencement ceremony in the PTG form, you are ready to order your cap and gown. To order your cap and gown go to the following website: http://colleges.herffjones.com/college/ashford/.

What is the deadline to order my cap and gown?
Spring: Monday, March 31, 2014. Orders placed after this date may incur additional fees.

Fall: Monday, August 25, 2014. Orders placed after this date may incur additional fees.

Does my cap and gown come with a tassel?
Your cap will include a black tassel. Herff Jones also offers souvenir tri-colored tassels that you can order separately. Please note that you must wear the black tassel to the commencement ceremony.

What happens if I do not order my cap and gown before the expressed deadline?
You will be removed from the commencement ceremony. We cannot guarantee that you will be granted an extension. Please make it a priority to observe the posted deadlines. If you do miss the deadline and would like to appeal for an exception, please email graduation.information@ashford.edu.

I have a cap and gown from a prior commencement ceremony. May I wear my old one instead of ordering a new one?
In order to maintain uniformity, only Ashford University caps and gowns, ordered from the approved vendor, may be worn. If you ordered an Ashford cap and gown for a previous ceremony and did not attend that ceremony, please email graduation.information@ashford.edu for more information.

I need written verification that I am attending an Ashford University commencement ceremony in the near future. How do I request this verification?
Students requesting official documentation to verify their intent to attend the commencement ceremonies being held in Clinton, Iowa must submit the Commencement Participation Verification Request form located on the Student Portal under 'Registrar Forms'. If the requested documentation will be sent to a foreign embassy or government to gain approval for family members to visit the United States for the ceremony, please ensure that you submit the form at least three weeks before the deadline to submit documentation to the embassy. Forms will be processed within 7-10 business days and documentation will be mailed out via standard United States Postal Service to the address indicated in section three (3) of the form. Ashford University can only provide documentation about the student's enrollment with the University and their intent to attend a commencement ceremony. We will not provide personal recommendations based on a student's character.


Will I receive my diploma during the ceremony?
No, you will receive a purple leather diploma cover with a letter from the President of the University. Your diploma will be shipped to you when you complete all degree requirements, as specified in the Academic Catalog.

When I walk across the stage and receive my diploma cover, does that mean I have graduated?
No; commencement is a celebration of your anticipated graduation, and you do not receive your actual diploma at commencement. Your degree becomes official when it is posted to your transcript, not by your participation in commencement.

When will I receive my actual diploma?
Your degree will be conferred and your diploma and transcripts will be released once you have met all degree requirements including, but not limited to, credits earned, GPA, examinations, and balances paid in full. Diplomas are generally ordered within 30 days of completion of all program requirements and payment of all related tuition and fees. Once the diploma is ordered, it will take six to eight weeks to arrive. Diplomas, certificates, and transcripts will be withheld until all accounts at the University are paid in full. Diplomas will not be issued at the graduation ceremony. Once orders are placed, mailing addresses cannot be changed. Please make sure your address is up to date and accurate before finishing your last course. Your diploma will state your name as indicated on your Petition to Graduate form, your major, your graduation date and any honors you may have earned. Any applicable specializations or minors you've earned will not appear on your diploma, but will be indicated on your transcript. The date of degree conferral recorded on your diploma will reflect the date you complete all course requirements.

Honor Students

Do honor students receive their cap and gown for free?
No; this idea is a very common misconception. All students are required to order and pay for their own cap and gown before the expressed deadline.

Do honor students receive their honor cords and stoles for free?
Yes; students who qualify for academic honors or who are in an Ashford University Honor Society may pick up their designated cords or stoles at commencement Check-In. There is no cost to the student for honor cords and stoles.

What is the difference between Academic (Latin) Honors and Honor Societies?
Academic honors are achieved by attaining an overall GPA for 3.50 or greater. Undergraduate candidates, who achieve an overall GPA of 3.50 or higher according to the official University criteria, will graduate:

  • Cum Laude: 3.50 - 3.69
  • Magna Cum Laude: 3.70 - 3.89
  • Summa Cum Laude: 3.90 and above
  • Academic honors are signified at commencement by wearing a stole around the neck.

Honor Societies are exclusive groups that students are invited to join, based on a number of qualifications. Ashford sponsors chapters for the following societies:

  • Alpha Sigma Lambda
  • Golden Key
  • Phi Theta Kappa
  • Ashford Junior-Senior Honor Society – Clinton Campus Only
  • Mu Sigma Eta– Clinton Campus Only
  • Scholars Institute – Clinton Campus Only
  • Sigma Tau Delta – Clinton Campus Only

Honor societies are signified at commencement by wearing a braided cord around the neck.


Ceremony Information

When and where is the spring 2014 commencement ceremony?
Sunday, May 4, 2014
iWireless Center
1201 River Dr.
Moline, IL 61265

College of Education / College of Health, Human Services, and Science (all levels)

  • Check-in: 6 a.m. CST
  • Ceremony start time: 8:30 a.m. CST

College of Liberal Arts / Forbes™ School of Business (all levels)

  • Check-in: 1 p.m. CST
  • Ceremony start time: 3 p.m. CST 

There is no cost to park at the iWireless Center.

Does Ashford have a general schedule of events to help me plan my trip?
Yes. The following is a general schedule of events for the weekend of commencement.

Saturday, May 3, 2014
Commencement Celebration Day at the Ashford University Campus, Clinton, IA
Faculty Meet-and-Greet, Honors Society Meet-and-Greet, Kids Fun Zone, food and music, tours, University history presentations, and more!

Sunday, May 4, 2014
Ashford University Commencement at the iWireless Center, Moline, IL

How early can I arrive to my ceremony?
Due to parking and general safety regulations, we ask that you do not arrive any earlier than 30 minutes prior to check-in time for your ceremony.

Visit the Clinton Convention and Visitors Bureau's website for information about Clinton and be sure to download their comprehensive Visitors Guide.

Where should I park and check in?
Students should park inside the parking garage, located on River Drive, directly across from the iWireless Center. Check-in is located on the Skywalk level of the parking garage. There are no parking fees.

City Guide

What airport should I fly into?
The closest airport is the Quad City International Airport in Moline, IL (Airport Code: MLI). Some people prefer to fly into Chicago (Airport Codes: ORD or MDW). The drive from Chicago to the Moline area is approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes.

In what area should I book a hotel?
Saturday celebration activities take place at the campus in Clinton, Iowa and Sunday commencement ceremonies are in Moline, Illinois. These two locations are approximately 45 minutes driving distance from one another. Many prefer to stay in Moline, IL or Davenport, IL, due to closer proximity to restaurants and convenience stores. However, hotels closer to Clinton, IA may feature lower-cost hotel rates.

Do hotels and car rental companies offer special rates to Ashford students?
Yes. The following is a general list of helpful information when planning your trip to the Clinton campus:

Travel by Air

  • Quad City International Airport (MLI) in Moline, IL, is approximately 40 miles from the Ashford University Clinton campus and is the closest airport to Clinton.
  • O'Hare International Airport in Chicago (ORD) is approximately 160 miles from Clinton campus.
  • Midway Airport in Chicago (MDW) is also approximately 160 miles from Clinton campus.

Hotel Information
Ashford University has reserved rooms at local hotels at a special "Ashford rate" for the families and friends of our graduates. In order to take advantage of these rates, rooms must be booked at least one month prior to the commencement date and you must mention Ashford University. Please note, rooms book quickly and discounted room rates are subject to room availability. It is wise to book your hotel as soon as possible.

Hampton Inn and Suites
2781 Wild Circle South, Clinton, IA 52732

Country Inn & Suites by Carlson
2224 Lincoln Way, Clinton, IA 52732

Oak Tree Inn
2300 Valley West Court, Clinton, IA 52732

Super 8
1711 Lincoln Way, Highway 30 and 17th Street, Clinton, IA 52732

Super 8
918 Westwood Drive, DeWitt, IA 52742

Crossings Inn and Suites
301 Jason Way Court, Davenport, IA 52806

Best Western Steeple Gate Inn
100 W. 76th St., Davenport, IA 52806

Comfort Inn & Suites
902 Mississippi View Court, Le Claire, IA 52753

Holiday Inn Express
1201 Canal Shore Drive, Le Claire, IA 52753

Quality Inn & Suites
1000 E. Iowa Street, Eldridge, IA 52748

Super 8
1552 Welcome Center Drive, Le Claire, IA 52753

Quality Inn & Suites
6605 N. Brady Street, Davenport, IA 52806

There are a limited number of rooms available, and we ask that you call to reserve your room as soon as you have received the date and time of your commencement ceremony.

Car Rental Information
Ask about Ashford University graduation rates to Clinton, IA from Moline, IL and Chicago, IL.

Avis Discount Number: J995188. The discount is available from one week before to one week after the ceremony. Book your reservation online.

Budget Discount Number: U394483. This discount code entitles you to 5-30% off your rental cost. To receive your special discounted rate, please call 800.527.7000 or book your reservation online. When booking online, click the "use an offer code" box on the home page.

Enterprise has great car rental deals for Ashford University graduates, families and friends. Book your reservation online.

Hertz Discount Number: CV# 022L3827. The discount code entitles you to 10% off your rental cost. To receive your special discounted rates, please call 800.654.2240. Or book your reservation online.


Ceremony Information

When and where is the fall 2014 commencement ceremony?
Sunday, October 5, 2014
San Diego Convention Center
111 W Harbor Dr.
San Diego, CA 92101
Sails Pavilion
Time(s) TBD

The daily rate to park at the San Diego Convention Center is $15.00. The rate may be increased up to $25.00 if there is a special event activity at PETCO Park. Payment is due at time of arrival and there are no in-and-out privileges. No overnight or RV privileges are permitted.

How early can I arrive to my ceremony?
Information to be provided.

Where should I park and check in?
Students may park in the Convention Center parking structure (fees apply), or there are many parking structures in the downtown area within walking or cab-ride distance.

City Guide

What airport should I fly into?
San Diego International Airport (Airport Code: SAN)

In what area should I book a hotel?
San Diego's downtown and marina areas are within close proximity to the San Diego Convention Center and the San Diego International Airport.

Does Ashford have a general schedule of events to help me plan my trip?
Information to be provided.

Do hotels and car rental companies offer special rates to Ashford students?
Information to be provided.

If you have a question that has not been answered here, please email graduation.information@ashford.edu.