New Third-Party Vendor Prints PLNU Diplomas Amid Some Students Experiencing Delays 

Fall 2023 commencement. Photo courtesy of Point Loma Nazarene University.

Point Loma Nazarene University’s Office of Records is currently in the process of switching to Paradigm, a third-party vendor for diplomas, in hopes of improving diploma delivery times; however, graduated students are still experiencing delays.  

Although the records office says that diplomas will be delivered in approximately “11-13 weeks after the end of the semester,” some students have experienced a delay in receiving their physical diplomas. 

Adele Gargiulo, Lauren McCandless and Samantha Bruner, spring 2023 graduates all said they received their diplomas during the following summer, but not within the projected 11-13 week waiting period. Diplomas arrived in late September, approximately 21 weeks after commencement. 

Hunter Long, a fall 2023 graduate, is having a similar experience. Long said the school had originally promised diplomas to be delivered in March or April however as of April 9, she hasn’t received her diploma. While this is still within the projected time frame, Long said she doesn’t know anyone else who hasn’t received their diploma yet. 

According to Cheryl Gaughen, director of PLNU’s traditional undergraduate records, “100% of fall 2023 graduates who completed all degree requirements by Jan. 30, 2024, have had their diplomas printed,” except for “two fall students whose requirements were met after Jan. 30, 2024, who are awaiting diplomas.”

Gaughen added that most delays are due to students not completing all degree requirements or filling out diploma mailing requests, grades not being entered, financial holds and United States Postal Service (USPS) delays or complications. A list of all degree requirements can be found on the PLNU website under the traditional undergraduate catalog. 

Regardless of following these requirements, Long is still waiting to hear from the PLNU records office with updates regarding the cause of the delay. 

“I know that all of my payments went through and no academic holds were placed because I was able to order transcripts for grad school,” said Long. “So it seems like it’s just taking longer than normal but they haven’t reached out.” 

Since all of Long’s degree requirements were fulfilled, the responsibility for the delay may be at the hands of the USPS. 

Sara Kuhn, a spring 2023 graduate, has waited 11 months for her diploma and still hasn’t received it due to shipping complications and changing distributors. 

On Feb. 28, the records office responded to Kuhn saying that her “diploma was originally mailed out to the requested address on August 10th; however, the tracking for the diploma still shows ‘in-transit’,” which is “likely a mistake on their [USPS] end.”

According to the records office, tracking numbers are only available for 120 days, so they had no way of accessing further information on where her diploma is. 

In further efforts to obtain her diploma, Kuhn said she visited the records office on campus in March. She was told that the school had switched to a third-party vendor for diplomas, so they were unable to provide her with a printed version but claimed they would work on getting her a digital copy.

Kuhn said that she needs her diploma for multiple internship applications at international organizations.

“Outstanding delays of other diplomas have been due to non-delivery of a diploma by the United States Postal Service, diplomas delivered in damaged packages, or printing errors that were not discovered until after the previous vendor program was sunsetted and there was no availability to currently regenerate a diploma,” said Gaughen. 

Though the switch to a third-party vendor posed problems for Kuhn receiving her diploma, Gaughen doesn’t believe it should affect those graduating this spring. 

“The spring diplomas will not be ordered until all of the aforementioned processes are completed. Vendor setup is expected to be complete in early June just in time for us to begin ordering diplomas,” said Gaughen. “We are very hopeful most diplomas will go out sooner than expected but want to be cautious in our anticipated timelines.”

The records office projects that spring 2024 graduates who submit their diploma mailing request forms will receive their diplomas “end of July or early August.”

Gaughen shared advice for students who are still anticipating the arrival of their diploma or those who may await it after the upcoming graduation.

“It is really important to note that a diploma is not an official verification of a degree earned,” said Gaughen. “We recommend students who are awaiting their diplomas order their official transcript or submit a verification to our office to request confirmation of their degree.”