Polk State College is excited to celebrate its summer 2021 graduates in December with commencement ceremonies at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland. To plan accordingly and to help ensure the health and safety of all graduates, families, and employees, the College has administered a survey to all summer 2021 graduates to determine how many plan to participate. Fall 2021 graduates should note that they are not needed for this survey as they will be asked about their interest in participating in their graduation application.

Graduates of the Summer 2021 Class are urged to check their Polk State emails for more information and a link to the survey, which is due by 5 p.m. Friday, October 29. Completing this survey is critical. If a graduate does not respond to the survey, the College may not be able to promise them a spot in a commencement ceremony due to health and safety restrictions.

Commencement ceremonies are tentatively scheduled for Thursday, December 9, 2021, at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland at 701 W. Lime St. and will take place as long as health and safety guidelines permit. Graduates should continue to monitor their Polk State emails for specific details to come in mid-November about dates, times, and tickets for their guests to attend graduation.

Fall 2021 graduates should submit their graduation applications through Passport under “Advising” by October 29. More information about graduation and the application is available below. They should also monitor their Polk State emails for forthcoming information about their in-person commencement ceremony.

Polk State thanks all graduates and their families for their patience and understanding during this unprecedented time. The College looks forward to celebrating its graduates in December in a safe and healthy environment.

Graduation details

Graduation application deadlineFriday, October 29, 2021, 5 p.m.

Fall 2021 graduates must submit a graduation application. Summer 2021 graduates who plan to participate in commencement in December do not need to submit a graduation application but should complete the survey sent to their Polk State email addresses by October 29.

Ceremony informationThursday, December 9, 2021
RP Funding Center, 701 W. Lime St., Lakeland
Times to be determined.

– Students will receive information about their assigned ceremony and tickets for their guests via their Polk State emails in mid-November

– All ceremonies will be live-streamed on this webpage to allow remote participation.

– Face masks are strongly recommended per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, RP Funding Center, and Polk State guidelines.

TicketsCommencement ceremonies are free, ticketed events. Tickets are required for guests to be admitted to graduation at the RP Funding Center.

– Graduates who are selected to participate and have been assigned to a commencement ceremony will be notified via their Polk State emails of their ceremony assignment and do not need tickets to participate in their assigned ceremony.

– Guests must present tickets for the ceremony that their graduate is assigned to participate in.

– Children under the age of 2 may sit on an adult’s lap and do not need tickets.

– Those who are unable to attend graduation may view the ceremony live on this webpage. A video stream will become live approximately 15 minutes before each ceremony begins.

Caps, gowns & regaliaCaps and gowns are available through the campus bookstores.

Collegiate high school students may wear their black high school caps and gowns. Students may wear medallions, pins, stoles, and cords if provided to them by an approved organization or club of the College. Students should not wear regalia from their high school graduations.

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.


Spring 2021 Commencement Highlights


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

    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, gowns, and tassels may be ordered online at 

    However, items will not be available until April 2021. More information is forthcoming and graduates are asked to monitor this page as well as their emails for updates.

    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 & 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 & Nursing 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 requires tickets for guests of graduates. More information will become available closer to graduation time.

  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. Lodging

    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.