Departmental Obligations

In order for students to participate in commencement, as well as receive their diploma(s) and official transcript(s), all financial obligations to Cairn University must be paid. Unpaid fines accrued prior to April 15  are sent to Business Services for collection. Unpaid fines accrued after April 15  will result in the holding of diploma(s) and official transcript(s).

Business Services

University policy states that in order for students to participate in commencement, as well as receive their diploma(s) and official transcript(s), all financial obligations to Cairn University must be paid. The deadline for the payment is December 1st for Fall (December) commencement and April 15th for Spring (May) commencement. If you are on an official payment plan (Tuition Management Systems) the last payment on this plan would need to be made a month before the dates listed above. You can see if you have a balance due by logging onto your Self-Service account (Finance tab/Balance/Detail by Charge-credit). Payments can be made in person in the Business Services Office using cash, check or credit card or on line through the Cairn website or your Self-Service account using a credit card. Credit cards that are accepted both in person or on line/over the phone are Visa, Master Card, Discover, and American Express.

Students may want to leave any remaining credit on their account in the event of additional fines assessed from other departments (Library, Security, or Student Life). Unpaid fines from other departments accrued prior to April 15  are sent to Business Services for collection. Unpaid fines accrued after April 15  will result in the holding of diploma(s) and official transcript(s). These fines must be paid directly to the department issuing the fine.

A refund can be produced once you have submitted the request in writing via mail or email to the Business Services Office after graduation ceremonies are complete. Please make sure you include a mailing address where you will be located after graduation and make sure you have signed the request.

If you have questions, please contact Nancy Kochersperger at or 215.702.4522.

Safety and Security

In order for students to participate in commencement, as well as receive their diploma(s) and official transcript(s), all financial obligations to Cairn University must be paid.  Unpaid parking fines accrued prior to April 15  are sent to Business Services for collection.  Unpaid parking fines accrued after April 15  will result in the holding of diploma(s) and official transcript(s).  All Safety and Security fines must be paid in the Business Services office.

If you have any questions, please contact


In order for students to participate in commencement, as well as receive their diploma(s) and official transcript(s), all financial obligations to Cairn University must be paid.  Unpaid fines accrued prior to April 15  can be paid by cash, check or credit at the Library; anything unpaid by April 15  will be sent to Business Services for collection. Unpaid fines accrued after April 15 will result in the holding of diploma(s) and official transcript(s). Students with books still out after graduation will also have a hold placed on their diploma(s) and official transcript(s). 

Library accounts can be viewed at: If you have any questions or concerns, please contact

Financial Aid Loan Counseling Requirements

All students that have borrowed federal loans during any portion of their education at Cairn are required to complete Direct Loan Exit Counseling. This requirement is completed online at As you get started, it would be helpful to have available information about your income, financial aid and living expenses.  At the end of your exit counseling session, you will be asked for information that will be included as part of your federal student loan records.  You must provide the following: 

Name, address, email address and phone number for:

  • Your next of kin
  • Two references who live in the US
  • Your future employer (if known)

You will need your FSA ID username and password to Sign In, then look for the Complete Loan Counseling (Entrance, Financial Awareness, and Exit). Choose Exit Counseling (Required) at the bottom of the screen and follow the steps to start the process. 

  • Select the School State: Pennsylvania and School Name: Cairn University
    Click the Add School button
    Click the Continue button
    Follow the instructions to continue through the counseling session.

The counseling session typically takes about 20-30 minutes.  At the end you will click the Submit Counseling button that will send confirmation to the university financial aid office that you have completed this counseling requirement.

Contact Financial Aid at if you have questions about this process.

Commencement Banquet

Degree Completion graduating students are invited to attend a Commencement Banquet, Friday, April 15 from 6–7 pm. The event will be held in the Furman Dining Commons, MAC following the mandatory graduation rehearsal at 5:00 pm in the MAC gymnasium. It is important that all choosing to walk in are in attendance for rehearsal. The Banquet is an opportunity to celebrate with fellow students, family members, staff and faculty.

Everyone planning to attend should register for this event. Please RSVP by Friday, may 3. The Chapel and Reception is complimentary for the student and one guest. Additional tickets may be purchased at a cost of $20 per ticket. Payments can be made online, or if paying with cash or check, the nigh of the Banquet.

If you have questions, please contact Spencer Kulhanjian in Alumni Relations at or 215.702.4210

Exit Questionnaire

The required Student Exit Questionnaire is completed at Degree Completion Commencement Banquet on Friday, May 10. The data collected assists the University in evaluating its services as well as helps to create a community that provides an enriching experience for our students.  It also allows for student comments regarding their Cairn experience and an opportunity to suggest improvements.


Please be aware that professors must submit current semester grades for all graduating students by 10 am on Wednesday, May 8. If students have a course grade of “NR” or “I” from a previous term, it is their responsibility to contact the professor and request they submit a Change of Grade Form to the Registrar’s Office by the May 8 deadline.

Latin Honors

Undergraduate candidates who have completed at least 60 credits in residence are eligible for graduation honors.  Those who attain a scholastic average of 3.50 graduate Cum Laude. Those who attain a scholastic average of 3.75 graduate Magna Cum Laude. Candidates who attain a scholastic average of 3.90 graduate Summa Cum Laude.

Graduation Products

Generic graduation announcements, printed with the Campus Store name, seal, and ceremony information are available for purchase at the Campus Store.

Custom personalized announcements can be purchased directly online at

Additional announcement products are also available online.  These include thank you notes, envelope seals, tissue inserts, souvenir announcement covers, return address labels and appreciation gifts.

Diploma Frames are sold through the Campus Store as well as online. Custom matting is available and manufactured specifically for Cairn University including the University seal.

A limited collection of Cairn University custom rings are available for purchase.  Ring styles include the Cairn University name, seal and can be further customized to include major and degree.

Academic Attire

  • Caps and gowns may be picked up at the Campus Store after Wednesday, May 1.
  • Men and women are to wear dark shoes; men are to wear dark socks.
  • All graduates participating in the Commencement ceremony must arrive wearing full academic attire: cap with tassel and gown. Only University-issued honor cords and academic medals are to be worn with academic attire.


Campus Store

Campus Store hours are Monday–Thursday from 10 am–6 pm, Friday from 10 am–5 pm and Saturday 10 am–1 pm. Hours will be extended for Commencement: Friday, May 10, from 10 am–6:30 pm and Saturday, May 11, from 8:30 am–1 pm.

Tickets/Seating for Commencement

This is a special celebration for the University, its graduates and their family and friends. By following these guidelines, we hope to provide an honoring ceremony that respects the dedicated work of all those in attendance. Please keep the following in mind:

  • Tickets are not required for the Commencement ceremony.
  • Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Doors open at 9 am for open seating in the Mason Activity Center (MAC) Gymnasium. The gymnasium is wheelchair accessible; handicapped seating is available. Please see the seating chart for more information.
  • A designated drop-off area for baby strollers will be available outside of the gymnasium.
  • Attendees should be in their seats by 9:55 am. Ushers will ask individuals to remove any saved seats beginning at 9:50 am.
  • After 9:55 am, individuals will be instructed to view the graduation ceremonies from the overflow area, on the second floor of the MAC.
  • For the safety of all, backpacks and oversized bags are not allowed in the gym; attendees are requested to leave these items in their vehicles. All bags are subject to search.

Please keep in mind that, due to fire code restrictions, the ushers will not allow individuals to stand or sit in undesignated areas (on the floor or steps of the bleachers) and will ask them to view the ceremonies from the overflow area.

Commencement Ceremony Guidelines

  • Graduates should check in by 9:15 am in the MAC’s lower level (near the elevator) to receive a color-coded placement card. Graduates should come dressed in academic attire. Restrooms are available nearby.
  • Graduates should not bring any personal items (purses, cameras, etc.) to the lineup. Personal items should be given to guests for safekeeping as there is no secure area to store valuables. Cairn University is not responsible for lost or stolen items.
  • During the program, watch Dr. Todd Williams for signals to rise or to remove caps. Only men should remove caps for prayer.
  • Listen carefully for the cue to rise with the correct degree group and enter the line for the platform.
  • Tassels are to be worn on the right side of caps and remain there until after receiving the diploma cover. After shaking the hands of both the President and Provost, graduates should move the tassel to the left side of their cap.
  • Graduates should receive the diploma cover with their left hand freeing the right to shake hands with faculty.


Commencement Ceremony Conclusion

At the conclusion of the Commencement ceremony, board members and faculty will depart from the gym first. Graduates will exit next, starting with the last row. When exiting the gym, please continue moving outside into the circular driveway. Do not stop to greet family and friends in the MAC’s lower level.

When all graduates have exited the gym, family and friends may meet students outside. Graduates may return to the platform inside the gymnasium for photographs if desired.

In the event of inclement weather, board members, faculty, and graduates will be directed by the ushers to an alternate lineup area. Once the recessional has concluded, graduates may join their family and friends in the gymnasium.


Diplomas and transcripts will be printed following the Commencement ceremony and will be sent to the address indicated on your Graduation Application. Please notify the Registrar’s Office of any address changes after submission of the Graduation Application.  Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.


Cairn Security Officers will direct traffic on the day of Commencement. Handicapped parking is available in parking lot D. For all other parking lot locations please download the Campus Map.


Chappell Graduation Images will photograph graduates as they receive their diplomas. Chappell will mail each graduate a passport-size proof within a week of graduation. Graduates will have the opportunity to select from a variety of photo packages but are under no obligation to make a purchase.

NOTE: We ask that during the ceremony, family and friends remain in their seats to prevent interference with the ceremony or the Chappell photographer.

Special Needs

Graduates with special needs who require accommodations should contact the Registrar’s Office at 215.702.4293 prior to Friday, April 15.

Area Hotels

The Courtyard by Marriott and The Homewood Suites by Hilton offer a discounted rate for Cairn visitors. Be sure to ask for the “Cairn Commencement” rate when booking. You may also access a list of hotels in the area by visiting

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions regarding Commencement please contact: 

Karen Moore


Event Schedule

Friday, May 10

Time Event/Location
5 pm Degree Completion Commencement Rehearsal
Gymnasium, MAC
5:30-6:30 pm Hors d’Oeuvres Upper Lobby, MAC
6:30 pm Commencement Banquet Furman Dining Commons, MAC

Saturday, May 11

Time Event/Location
8–9 am Buffet Breakfast
All graduates, family, and friends are invited to enjoy breakfast.  COST: $5.75 per person (pay at the door)
Furman Dining Commons, MAC
9 am Gymnasium Doors Open
9:15 am Graduate Check-In
Gymnasium, MAC
10 am Commencement Ceremony
Gymnasium, MAC
12–1 pm Lunch Buffet
All graduates, family, and friends are invited to a buffet lunch.  COST: $6.75 per person (pay at the door)
Furman Dining Commons, MAC

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