Finishing Your Degree

Finishing Your Degree - Things you need to know

What do I need to do in order to graduate on time?

The following is a checklist of items that must be completed by the time you finish your last course if you do not want a hold placed on your account, which will delay your diploma and official transcripts from being sent to you.

1. Submit the Petition to Graduate form six months of graduating; 

2. Pay the $150 graduation fee. Please note: financial aid cannot be applied toward this fee; 

3. Successfully complete all courses required for your program; 

4. Meet the required grade point average (GPA), as specified in the Ashford University Academic Catalog; 

5. Pay all fees, tuition, and balances in full; and 

6. Clear any holds. Please contact the department that placed the hold for details on how to clear it, if one should exist. 

    When should I petition to graduate?
    The Petition to Graduate form should be submitted within six months before your estimated graduation date. Your Student Advisor will notify you once this has occurred and let you know that you qualify to submit your petition. If you plan to attend the upcoming commencement ceremony held on the Ashford University campus in Clinton, IA, specific deadlines to submit the petition for each ceremony can be found on the Graduation Information page. Petitions received after the deadlines will be forwarded to the next commencement ceremony date.

    If I am not attending a commencement ceremony, do I have to pay the graduation fee?
    Yes, the graduation fee does not correspond to the commencement ceremonies. The fee is a program requirement for all students and covers the cost of the printing and shipping of your official transcripts, the processing, printing, packaging, and shipping of your diploma, and the final audit of your degree.

    How do I pay my graduation fee?
    Upon processing of your Petition to Graduate, your account will be charged the $150 graduation fee. At that time, you can pay the fee in your Student Portal or you may contact your Student Advisor to make payment arrangements. Despite what may be reflected on your student portal ledger card, federal student aid funds cannot be used to pay this fee.

    When will I receive my diploma, and what will be printed on it?
    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, student teaching, internships, 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, your major, your graduation date and any honors you may have earned. Any applicable specialization 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.

    When will my official transcript reflect my degree awarded?
    Degree completion is recorded on your official transcript within 30 days after completion of all program requirements including, but not limited to, credits earned, GPA, examinations, student teaching, internships, and balances paid in full. The transcript request webpage has an option to send the transcript after the degree is posted. Transcripts will not be released until your account balance is paid in full, including all acquired balances and the graduation fee.

    How do I request my official transcripts?
    Once your degree is awarded, one official transcript will be mailed to your current address on file. You can order additional official Ashford University transcripts at $10 per copy, using a major credit card. Click here for additional transcripts information.

    I've lost my diploma. How do I order a replacement?
    Please fill out the Request for Replacement/Duplicate Diploma form and send it to

    How do I request a recommendation from a faculty member?
    Complete a Request for Recommendation form, located in the Registrar Forms under My Forms in your Student Portal. Select Online Forms, then Forms to fill out the Request for Recommendation. Please be aware that requests for recommendations are fulfilled at the instructor's discretion. Instructors may choose to fulfill a request right away, may require a longer timeline to write letters, or may decline to fulfill requests. You may direct questions concerning this process to the Office of the Registrar at

    How do I order my cap and gown? 
    If you are NOT planning to attend a commencement ceremony, you may purchase your cap and gown at the Student Store at any time. If you are a student and you are planning to attend a commencement ceremony on our campus in Clinton, Iowa, 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 wait until the next available ceremony.  

    What size is the diploma?  
    Ashford University diplomas are 8½ inches by 11 inches.

    How do I prove I have earned my degree?
    If you need to prove that you have earned your degree for an employer or other third party, you can either provide them with a copy of your official transcripts (see “When will my official transcript reflect my degree awarded?”), or you can fill out an Enrollment Verification Request form, located in the Registrar Forms under My Forms in your Student Portal. Select Online Forms, then Forms to fill out the Enrollment Verification Request.

    I need to have my diploma or transcripts notarized, whom should I contact?
    Students requesting to have their diploma and/or transcripts notarized by an Ashford University official must mail the Diploma/Transcript Notarization Request form along with the requested documents to the mailing address indicated on the form. This form can be found on your Student Portal under ‘Registrar Forms’. If multiple copies of the documents need to be notarized, the official requests for duplicate documents must be submitted and fully processed by the Registrar’s Office before the notarization process can proceed. All documents to be notarized must be mailed with the form in order to complete the request. Please note: Ashford University cannot have your documents attested by any state or government body. Once the document has been notarized by the University, it will be mailed to the address indicated on the form, where it will be the student’s responsibility to have the document attested if needed.

    I have a question about completing degree requirements, whom should I contact?

    Your Student Advisor will be happy to assist you.