Frequently Asked Questions about Graduation and Commencement

Q: What is the difference between Graduation and Commencement?  
A: Graduation is confirmation you have met all degree requirements.  Commencement is an annual ceremony for students who have or are expected to graduate in the current or next semester.

Q: What do I need to do to graduate? Isn’t it automatic?
A: Students who are completing the requirements for graduation in the current term of enrollment should complete an Application for Graduation via HawkNet. You should meet with an academic advisor if you have questions regarding what requirements must be met in order to graduate.

Q: Is there a fee for graduation?
A: No, there is no fee or cost to graduate.

Q: When can I apply for graduation? Is there a deadline?
A:The deadline dates to apply for graduation each year are as follows:
2/15 - Graduate Application Deadline for names to appear in the current academic year Commencement Program
4/15 - Spring Graduation Application Deadline
7/15 - Summer Graduation Application Deadline
11/15 – Fall Graduation Application Deadline

Q: Is there a graduation ceremony (commencement) each term?
A: HCC has only one graduation ceremony (commencement) which takes place on the first Friday in May. Graduates and candidates who graduate during any term in the academic year (September through August) should consider participating.

Q: Is there a limit to the number of family members and friends I can invite to commencement? Do they need to show an invitation to get in?
A: Currently, HCC does not limit the number of guests nor do they require an invitation for admission.

Q: Where do I go to purchase a cap and gown?
A: The HCC Bookstores located on each campus sell caps and gowns, honor cords and graduation invitations. These items are usually available in late March and the cost varies.  More specific information will be posted each spring.

Q: When will I receive my diploma?
A: Diplomas are printed and mailed approximately eight to twelve weeks after a student has been graduated. It is the responsibility of the student to have a correct permanent address on file Updates can be made at:
Q: If I lost my diploma or HCC did not have my current address, can I order a replacement diploma?
A: Yes, you may complete the Duplicate Diploma Request Form and follow the instructions for processing.
Q: How will I receive graduation or commencement notices or information?
A: All commencement information is posted on the HCC website by the beginning of April. Graduation notifications will be sent to the student via Hawk email.

Q: How do I prove I have a degree?
A: An official transcript with the student's degree credential is the only legal document.  The diploma is a wall display for decorative or ceremonial purposes.