Polk State College will hold commencement ceremonies this academic year and invites the graduates of 2020 and spring 2021 to participate on May 6, 2021. The College will host a virtual celebration on December 10, 2020, for fall 2020 graduates.

The in-person fall commencement ceremony that was scheduled for Thursday, December 10, 2020, will not occur. This decision comes with the health and safety of students, families, and employees at the forefront. Given the ongoing uncertainty presented by the COVID-19 public health emergency, the College determined that it is in the best interest of community health to avoid hosting such a large public gathering.

The College explored several alternatives and determined that it would be best to host a virtual graduation celebration on December 10 at 6:30 p.m., and a series of drive-thru events to allow students to pick up diploma covers, honors cords, and alumni items the week prior to the virtual celebration. Students are asked to monitor their College emails and for additional information as it becomes available.

The cancellation of the December in-person ceremony will not impact students graduating and receiving their certificates or diplomas by mail if they meet all graduation requirements.

It is important that eligible students complete the graduation application, which officially notifies the College of a student’s intent to graduate. Students may submit their graduation applications through Passport under “Advising.” The application’s deadline is Friday, October 30, at 5 p.m.

Please see more information below. The College thanks students for their continued understanding cooperation during this unprecedented time. Please direct questions and concerns to

Graduation Details


Graduation application deadlineFriday, October 30, 2020, 5 p.m.
Ceremony informationVirtual Commencement Celebration
Thursday, December 10, 6:30 p.m.
More information will be provided via, College email, and social media closer to the virtual event.
Academic HonorsAcademic Honors are based on grade-point average (GPA) and described in the College catalog under “Regulations.” Honors cords are given to students based on the term preceding the graduation term. If a student earns academic honors after the Registrar has certified the final GPA, the transcript will reflect that.
Honors Program DistinctionStudents who graduate from the Honors Program will have a note on their transcripts and an Honors seal that will be displayed on their diplomas based on their final GPAs.
Graduation posting and diplomasIt takes up to 30 days for graduation status to post to student records. Each student record is carefully reviewed to ensure requirements have been met. Students should contact an advisor by emailing or calling 863.297.1000 with questions about whether or not they have met all requirements to graduate.
Diplomas are printed after all requirements for the semester have been completed and all graduates have been validated. Students should ensure their addresses are accurate when submitting their graduation applications because they will be used to deliver diplomas. Diplomas are mailed approximately six to eight weeks after the end of each semester – spring, summer, and fall.
Certificates are printed after each cohort completion and will be delivered to addresses the College has on record for those students within six to eight weeks of completion.
Account holdsStudents should check their Passport accounts for account holds and obligations including library fines, tickets received on campus, and other fees. Students will not receive their transcripts or diplomas until all holds are resolved.
FeesThere are no graduation fees.


Read the transcript

Download the virtual yearbook

Graduation billboards

Billboard art

Find and download your billboard here!:

HAVEN/LKLD magazines

The May 2020 issues of HAVEN and LKLD magazines are dedicated to the Polk State Spring 2020 Graduating Class! Each graduate will receive a copy in the mail and they are also available in newsstands across Polk County. Read more here:

Frequently asked questions

  1. Graduate Accolades:

    We want to honor you at graduation. Tell us your story so we can share your success with others. Complete the Graduate Accolades Form and send it to

  2. Graduation Application:

    The application process begins by applying online through PASSPORT under [Advising]. Applications open each term beginning the day after the Add/Drop deadline.

  3. Graduation Application Instructions:

    The graduation application screens provide many details about graduation. Please read them carefully. You will receive a detailed email at your address with complete graduation instructions. If you do not qualify to graduate after grades are posted, your application will be removed. You may apply again during your term of completion.
    Please complete the graduation survey also found as a link in PASSPORT under [Advising].
    Please complete the graduation accolades form at the end of the application online.

  4. Diplomas:

    Diplomas are printed after all requirements for a term have been completed and all of the graduates are validated. The address on your Graduation Application will be used. Be sure it is accurate! Diplomas are mailed approximately 6-8 weeks after each graduation – spring, summer, and fall.
    Certificates are printed after each cohort completion. You will receive them in the mail using the address Polk State has on record within 6-8 weeks of completion.

  5. Fees:

    There is no Graduation fee.

  6. Holds Be Wise!

    Check Passport for obligations such as library fines, tickets you received on campus, and other fees. Check with the Graduation Coordinator for any additional holds you may have. You will not receive your transcript or diploma until all holds are resolved.

  7. Photographs:

    Graduation photographs will be taken the night of the ceremony. The photographer will contact graduates with special photo packages that can be purchased.

  8. Graduating with Academic Honors:

    Academic Honors are based on GPA and described in the college catalog under the Regulations section. Honor cords are given to students based on the term preceding the graduation term. If you earn academic honors after the Registrar has certified your final GPA, your transcript will reflect that.

  9. Honors Program Graduates:

    Be sure to wear your regalia as an Honors Program Graduate. We are proud of our honors students and honors program graduates. If you graduate from the Honors Program a note will be on your transcript. An honors seal will be displayed on your diploma based on your final GPA.

  10. Graduation Protocol:

    The Commencement ceremony is a most dignified event. Decorum and courtesy are very important for graduates and their guests.
    All graduates and members of the general audience should stand and remove hats following the lead of the stage guests.
    No air horns, balloons, bubbles, beach balls, or similar items are allowed in the ceremony. The use of noisemakers may be intended to show one person’s pride in a graduate, but it can also ruin the chance for another family to hear the name of their graduate announced.
    If you need to use the restroom, leave your cap on your chair.
    You may not leave until the ceremony concludes.

  11. Caps, Gowns, Regalia:

    Caps and gowns are purchased from the bookstore in person at either campus. IF YOU WRITE ON OR DECORATE YOUR CAP, you must do so tastefully without vulgarity or inappropriate content. If your mortarboard is deemed excessive or in poor taste by an administrator you may be required to remove the decorations, purchase another cap, or may not be allowed to participate in the ceremony.

    Regalia, other than honors regalia, is provided by your clubs or organizations. Regalia must be approved. High School graduation regalia should not be worn. You cannot wear pins, sashes or decorative items outside of college-approved regalia.

  12. Tassels:

    Tassels should be worn on the RIGHT side. After you officially have been conferred your degree at the end of the ceremony, you will be directed to move your tassel from the right to the left.
    Bachelor graduate regalia includes a tassel and cord in the traditional color of drab representing the discipline.

  13. Announcements and Invitations:

    Many students choose to order personalized announcements or invitations to send to their families and friends. We recommend you order these from the bookstore before the graduation application deadline.
    Due to space limitations at the RP Funding Center, student guests will need to obtain an admittance ticket. Students will be limited in the number of guests allowed. See the ticketing information at the top of this page under Graduation Details.

  14. Phi Theta Kappa Stolling, Golden Key International Honour Society, and Nurse's Pinning:

    These ceremonies are separate from Commencement. Contact the club sponsor or the nursing program director for details.

  15. What to Wear:

    Graduates must be attired in full academic regalia to participate in the ceremony. This includes medallions, pins, stoles, and cords if provided to them by an approved organization or club of the College.
    Female graduates — Business attire. No flip-flops or beach-type sandals.
    Male graduates — Dress shirt and tie with long trousers. No flip-flops or beach-type sandals.
    Guests — Business casual.

  16. Rehearsal:

    There is never a rehearsal at Polk State College for commencement. Therefore, it is very important for students to arrive on time to check-in.

  17. Tickets:

    Graduation will require tickets. See the ticketing information at the top of this page under Graduation Details.

  18. Access for Disabled Persons:

    The ushers will direct you to special seating. One guest may sit with the disabled guest and in some instances more. Seating with the disabled guest is subject to availability and demand on a first-come-first-serve basis.

  19. Reception:

    No reception is provided after the ceremony. We encourage you to celebrate at one of the fine local restaurants with family and friends.

  20. Hotels and motels close to the RP Funding Center:

    Hyatt Place Lakeland Center (Right by the RP Funding Center)
    525 West Orange Street
    Lakeland, FL 33815
    Ph.: (863)413-1122

    The Terrace Hotel (Historic Hotels of America)- Downtown Lakeland
    329 E Main Street
    Lakeland, FL 33801
    Ph.: (863)688-0800

    Hampton Inn & Suites (Approximately 3 miles from the RP Funding Center)
    In the Lakeside Village Mall Complex
    3630 Lakeside Village Blvd. Lakeland, FL 33803
    Ph.: (863)603-7600

  21. Ceremony Participation Deadline:

    If you met the deadline with your graduation application, you can choose to participate late. You must complete a graduation application online, and secure a cap and gown. For assistance, contact the Graduation Coordinator at 863.298.6815 or 863.297.1010 extension 5278.

    You cannot just “show up” at the ceremony and expect to walk.