FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GRADUATION AND COMMENCEMENT?

Graduation is the completion of all degree requirements as recorded on the official transcript. Commencement is the ceremony in which degrees are conferred on candidates who are eligible to graduate for a given term. Participation in the commencement ceremony does not imply that you have officially graduated.

WHAT IS REGALIA?

Academic regalia is a traditional form of clothing for academic settings worn by those who have been bestowed a university degree. At Cal State LA, candidates obtaining a bachelor’s degree wear a black gown (bell shaped sleeves), black cap, and black tassel. Candidates obtaining a master’s degree will wear a master’s gown (longer closed sleeves), black cap, black tassel, and hood associated with their degree discipline. Candidates obtaining a doctoral degree will wear a black robe (with three velvet bands on each sleeve and velvet running down the middle front of the gown), black tam, gold tassel, and doctoral hood associated with their degree discipline.

HOW LONG IS EACH COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY?

Each Commencement ceremony will last about 1 hour and 30 minutes or less depending on the size of the college. Graduating candidates and their guests are expected to remain for the duration of the ceremony.

WHEN CAN GRADUATING CANDIDATES RESERVE GUEST TICKETS?

Candidates who graduated in fall 2018 or winter 2019 OR have approved graduation applications, and are on track to complete all their degree requirements by the end of spring 2019 or summer 2019, will be able to confirm their participation and reserve guest tickets at Grad Fair on April 10 and 11, 2019, at the Golden Eagle Ballroom from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. (student I.D. required). After Grad Fair, starting April 22, 2019 at 8 a.m. (PT) through May 3, 2019, at 5 p.m. (PT) graduating candidates can reserve their guest tickets online.  After the May 3rd deadline date and time, all eligible candidates are not guaranteed to be able to participate in the ceremonies and/or able to obtain guest tickets.

HOW MANY TICKETS CAN GRADUATING CANDIDATES RESERVE?

Graduating candidates who confirm their participation during Grad Fair or during the online registration period of April 22, 2019 to May 3, 2019 are able to reserve up to 7 guest tickets.

Due to safety, security, and capacity constraints all guests attending the ceremonies, including infants and children, will require a ticket to enter the venue. Each ticket has a unique bar code and is specific to a ceremony. Once a bar code has been scanned, any copies of the same ticket will not be valid and will not allow entry into the gymnasium. A ticket does not guarantee a seat.  Saving seats is not permitted.  Parties should enter together.  Once the venue reaches capacity, guests will be directed to the alternate viewing location at the Golden Eagle Ballroom 1 & 2. The alternate viewing location do not require a ticket to attend. 

IS THERE A CHARGE FOR TICKETS?

No, tickets are free of charge. The University does not support and authorize the sale of Commencement tickets. Tickets that are bought or sold are subject to invalidation by the University.

DO GUEST TICKETS GUARANTEE SEATING?

Commencement tickets are distributed in excess of capacity due to graduating candidates reserving tickets and not using them and/or guest no-shows. In addition, the fire marshal can reduce the number of guest seats due to safety. Once the venue reaches capacity, guests will be directed to the alternate viewing location at the Golden Eagle Ballroom 1 & 2. The alternate viewing location do not require a ticket to attend.

DO GRADUATING CANDIDATES NEED TICKETS?

No, tickets are only required for guests. However, graduating candidates must register and confirm their participation during Grad Fair or during the online registration of April 22, 2019, at 8 a.m. (PT) until May 3, 2019, at 5 p.m. (PT) by reserving guest tickets. After the May 3rd deadline date and time, all eligible candidates are not guaranteed to be able to participate in the ceremonies and/or able to obtain guest tickets.

CAN GUESTS RESERVE THEIR OWN TICKETS?

No, only candidates who graduated in fall 2018 or winter 2019 OR have approved graduation applications, and are on track to complete all their degree requirements by the end of spring 2019 or summer 2019, may reserve guest tickets at Grad Fair or from April 22, 2019, at 8 a.m. (PT) through May 3, 2019, at 5 p.m. (PT) online.

DO CHILDREN NEED TICKETS?

Due to safety, security, and capacity constraints all guests attending the ceremonies, including infants and children, will require a ticket to enter the venue. Strollers are not allowed inside the gymnasium but guests with infants, may bring an infant car seat and can be placed on the seat next to them if available. A ticket does not guarantee a seat.  Saving seats is not permitted.  Parties should enter together.  Once the venue reaches capacity, guests will be directed to the alternate viewing location at the Golden Eagle Ballroom 1 & 2. The alternate viewing location do not require a ticket to attend. 

IS THERE ACCOMMODATION TO FEED AND CHANGE A BABY?

Yes. We have a lactation and infant changing room inside the Physical Education building a few doors down from the main doors of the University Gymnasium. The ceremonies will be livestreamed at this location. Only ticketed guests are allowed in this space.

CAN GRADUATING CANDIDATES HAVE GUESTS WITH THEM WHEN THEY CROSS THE STAGE?

No, guests including children are not permitted on stage, in the Academic Recession, or in the graduates’ seating area. There are no exceptions to this rule

WHAT TIME SHOULD GRADUATING CANDIDATES AND GUESTS ARRIVE?

Graduating candidates should plan to arrive at the check-in location at least 60 minutes before the ceremony start  time. Graduating candidates must bring a valid photo ID (University or government issued) for verification. Guests may arrive as early as 90 minutes before the ceremony start time. The doors to the gymnasium will close five minutes before the ceremony and will reopen after the national anthem. 

ARE THERE IN-AND-OUT PRIVILEGES AT THE GYMNASIUM?

Once guest tickets have been scanned, there are no in-and-out privileges.

WHAT ITEMS ARE PROHIBITED INSIDE THE GYMNASIUM?

The following items will not be allowed inside the venue:

  • Alcohol
  • Balloons
  • Beach balls
  • Beverages
  • Bicycles
  • Bottles and cans
  • Cigarettes and E-cigarettes (the University is a tobacco and vape-free campus)
  • Chairs
  • Coolers
  • Drones
  • Drugs
  • Fireworks
  • Flags with poles
  • Food (baby food permitted)
  • Large or oversized umbrellas (must fit in their bag)
  • Large size purses, backpacks, satchels, and duffel bags
  • Laser pointers
  • Mega phones
  • Pets (except for service animals)
  • Rollerblades
  • Signs larger than 16” x 20”
  • Skateboards
  • Strollers
  • Weapons (including chains, firearms, knives, spiked jewelry and belts, sticks)

ARE PETS ALLOWED INSIDE THE GYMNASIUM?

Pets are not allowed inside the gymnasium. However, Commencement welcomes service animals. Service animals are working animals trained to perform tasks for the benefit of individuals with physical or mental disabilities such as guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, alerting and protecting people prone to seizures, or other tasks directly related to a disability. Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the American with Disabilities Act.

HOW CAN GRADUATES ORDER COPIES OF THEIR COMMENCEMENT PHOTOS TAKEN ON STAGE?

During check-in of the graduating candidates, they must complete the back of the name card to ensure receipt of the digital proofs. The name cards are used for the Name Readers and the photographers. Grad Images will be taking pictures of the graduating candidates on stage. After the ceremonies, electronic proofs are emailed to the graduates for purchase of their photos.

WHEN DO GRADUATES GET THEIR OFFICIAL DIPLOMA?

Graduates will receive their diploma by mail after official certification that they have successfully completed all degree requirements. Please allow up to 6 weeks. After the degree is awarded, graduates can track the progress of their diploma using the following link: https://www.michaelsutter.com/calstatela.