Frequently Asked Questions

What does HSE stand for?

HSE is High School Equivalency and is replacing the terminology for general education diploma that has been previously used.

When does the HSE Graduation take place?

The 2014 HSE Graduation will take place on Tuesday, May 13, 2014. Traditionally, the ceremony begins at 7:00 p.m. each year.

Where will the ceremony be held?

Comerica Theatre, 400 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85003 (the corner of 4th Ave. & Washington St.)

Who is eligible to participate?

HSE students who officially enrolled in and completed Rio Salado College’s College Bridge Pathways in-person or online HSE preparation classes.

Why should I participate?

Participating in the HSE Graduation gives you an opportunity to reflect on the challenges you’ve overcome during your time as a student and it allows your family and friends to recognize and celebrate your accomplishments. Walking across the stage to receive your degree or certificate creates a memory of this important milestone as you take the next step toward your future.

Can I receive my HSE diploma without participating in the HSE Graduation?

You are not required to participate in the HSE Graduation in order to receive your diploma.

What is the deadline to apply?

The deadline to apply is Friday, May 9 by 5:00 p.m. Please go to the location where you attended classes and register to attend graduation. If you are calling on the last day to register, please call 480-517-8110.

How do I apply to participate in the HSE Graduation?

Go to your class location and fill out the HSE Graduation form.

You will then receive additional information regarding instructions by regular mail on how to graduate. Please make sure that you return all required forms back to the office per the instructions that will be sent to you via regular mail. Please remember to include your latest e-mail address so that we may send you updates over e-mail.

When does the ceremony take place?

The 2014 HSE Graduation ceremony date is Tuesday, May 13, 2014 and traditionally, the ceremony begins at 7 p.m.

Do I need a ticket?

Ticketing is not required for this event. It is an open event for the graduates, family, and friends of Rio Salado College.

How do I request special accommodations?

The venue used for the event is an ADA compliant facility. Interpreters will be available for the hearing-impaired. To arrange for additional accommodations, please contact Lily Beth Brazones at (480)517-8135 or

What should I wear to the ceremony?

Students who participate in the ceremony MUST wear the official cap, gown and 2014 tassel which will be distributed to the graduate after check in at the convention center. Appropriate attire should be worn under the cap and gown. The cap, gown, and tassel will be distributed to the graduate after check in at the convention center.

How do I get my cap and gown?

Graduates will be able to pick up their cap, gown, and tassel on the day of the graduation. After checking in at the venue, graduates will be directed to the robing area where the caps, gowns and tassels will be handed out.

How much does it cost and what is included?

There is no charge to the graduate. The cap, gown, and tassel are free of charge to the graduate. You may keep the tassel, but please return the cap and gown after the ceremony.

What should I expect to happen the night of the event?

Graduating students will be asked to check-in beginning at 5:00 p.m. in the main lobby of the Comerica Theatre. Students will be given a postcard and will be asked to fill it out with their information. At 6:00 p.m. students will line up and prepare for the processional. At 7 p.m., Rio Salado College President, Dr. Chris Bustamante, will lead a single file procession of administrators, faculty and graduating students to the stage. Dr. Bustamante, guest speakers, and a student speaker will address the 2014 graduating class. Graduating students will be asked to stand one row at a time and approach the stage. Graduates will hand their postcard with their name to the Master of Ceremonies. The emcee will introduce the student as he or she crosses the stage. A photographer will take a photo of each graduate as they shake hands with Dr. Bustamante. A second photo will be taken as the graduate exits the stage. The student will then return to his or her seat. After all graduates have been recognized, the emcee will introduce the graduating class of 2014 followed by a recessional led by the people on the stage. The graduates will follow. Once all of the graduates have exited the hall, the audience will be dismissed. It is best to arrange a meeting spot with your family prior to the ceremony as the post-ceremony crowd can be difficult to navigate. Please remember to return the cap and gown after the ceremony at the Robing Room.

How do I order graduation photos or DVDs?

Visit to view proofs of the photos taken during the ceremony. Photos can be purchased directly from Grad Trak Graduation Images by calling 1-800-261-2576.

Orders for DVDs of the ceremony will be taken at the event. You may reserve your copy prior to the start of the ceremony or shortly after the conclusion of the ceremony. DVD's cost $20 and must be paid for at the time the order is placed.

Is free parking available?

On-street parking is free AFTER 5 P.M. only. It is approximately $1.50 an hour during business hours. Garage parking starts at $12. Rates may vary depending on downtown events. Plan to arrive early for the best parking and to avoid traffic delays. If possible, consider taking the Metro Light Rail. For additional questions, please call the College Bridge Pathways/Adult Basic Education at (480) 517-8110

HSE Graduation