Diploma wait normal for UPJ’s grads

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Student Kelsey Jones browses diploma frames.

Keith Hartman, Copy Editor

In December, over 170 students were graduated from Pitt-Johnstown, and their diplomas already had been mailed last week.

“We’re really very proud at how fast we get our diplomas off to graduates,” said Registrar Marilyn Alberter.

“Whenever faculty from all the campuses get together, we (Pitt-Johnstown) always have ours out first.”

While some students may be impatient about the few weeks’ wait, the cause for delay is graduation verification and the holiday season.

Students must apply for graduation seven to eight months before their expected graduation date, but a student’s status can change in that time due to failing a class, dropping out or transferring.

The verification is completed by Assistant Registrar Lisa Hunter, who goes over each student’s transcript to check for discrepancies. For spring graduation, this task begins after the holidays and is done in a matter of days.

Students who graduate during spring semester should also expect their diplomas to arrive in the same amount of time. Even though there are no holidays to contend with, the registrar will have to verify over 370 students.

By comparison, diplomas for Penn State-Altoona students who graduated in December are not to have been sent out until Jan. 17.

This is not the case at St. Francis University or Juniata College, whose students receive their diploma as they cross the stage.

Pitt-Johnstown attempted this at one time. The process, however, proved to be too cumbersome.

Some students failed classes from their last semester or dropped out at the last minute, meaning that the diplomas, which had already been paid for, had to be shredded.

Recent graduate Carissa Ciciarelli had not received her diploma as of last Wednesday, but said she was expecting to receive it any day.