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Frequently Asked Questions

How will you ensure the ceremonies are COVID-safe?

The university is adhering to the commencement guidelines provided by the state along with the strict health protocols instituted by Fenway Park. All graduates and guests will be required to fill out a health screening before they enter the ballpark, and adhere to Fenway's guidelines. If a graduate or guest fails the health screening, they may not enter the ballpark—no exceptions. 

Students who are enrolled in the Bentley COVID testing program will be able to get tested the week leading up to commencement.

What if I've tested positive for COVID-19 or am a close contact of someone who has?

Any student or guest who has tested positive or been identified as a close contact of someone who has within the past 14 days of the event are not permitted to attend by Fenway Park guidelines.

Should students get tested for COVID-19 before attending the event?

Residential students are required to test twice per week and not on back-to-back days. Non-residential students with access to campus are required to test once per week. These students are required to remain in the screening test program for the entirety of the spring term, which includes testing the week prior to Commencement.

Guests and students not enrolled in the screening test program are not required to provide a negative test result before attending, but if they feel ill in the days leading up to the event are strongly encouraged to seek a COVID-19 test. 

Do I need to wear a mask?

Masks are required at all times. We do not allow masks with exhalation valves, gaiters, or bandanas.

What should I know about Fenway's health screening?

All must complete Fenway's health screening before entering the ballpark. Guests do not have to provide a negative COVID-19 test but will be asked about current symptoms, temperature and COVID-19 exposure. The health screening can be found on the MLB Ballpark app the day of the ceremony.

Will the ceremonies be livestreamed?

Yes, we will livestream both ceremonies and they will be available on the Bentley University homepage

Will the ceremonies be recorded?

Yes, the commencement will be recorded. If you’re interested in a viewing the recording after the ceremony please contact us at commencement@bentley.edu.

How long will the ceremonies be?

The ceremonies could be last between 2 to 2.5 hours long. 

Who will be the keynote speaker?

Former Bentley University President Gloria Cordes Larson will be the keynote speaker for the Class of 2021 and Class of 2020 ceremonies. 

Read the announcement

How are tickets distributed and where is everyone seated?

Graduates who have confirmed their attendance will electronically receive ticket information soon. Graduates will be seated in groups of three with their two guests. We understand the great desire for additional tickets but we must adhere to the strict health code guidelines.
 
In advance of receiving tickets next week, graduates should download MLB Ballpark app. Once graduates receive their tickets, they will be responsible for forwarding their guest tickets. 
 
All seating will be in the stands; no one is permitted on the field.

Can I obtain tickets from other graduates who won’t need theirs?

Unfortunately, we cannot assist with transferring unused tickets between graduates.

What if a graduate or guests need special assistance?

If you or one of your guests require special assistance, there will be an opportunity to select 'accessible seating' when selecting tickets. If you require an ASL interpreter, please contact the Commencement Office at commencement@bentley.edu.

I missed the regalia deadline, what do I do?

If you missed the deadline, our regalia representative will have a limited number of cap and gown sizes available for purchase at Fenway at Gate D between 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. and 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Exact size matches cannot be guaranteed when making your purchase on-site. Please bring cash payment of $64.00 bachelor / $69.00 master's (cap, gown, hood and tassel).

How do I get my cords, pins or stoles?

Each department, organization and/or team is responsible for distributing these. Please contact them for more information.  

How do I get to Fenway Park from campus?

We encourage graduates to arrive with their guests, or utilize ride shares and other forms of transportation. View Fenway's recommended parking options here.
 
To help alleviate traffic and congestion on campus, the university will provide a limited number of shuttles which will depart campus at 8:00 a.m. Due to health guidelines, shuttles will only operate at 50% capacity. You must show a Bentley ID and seating is first-come, first-served. This shuttle is not a guaranteed ride; please plan accordingly.

Where can I park at Fenway?

Please find Fenway’s parking information here: http://www.redsox.com/parking.

May I bring a bag into the ballpark?

Bags smaller than 5”x9” are allowed with the exception of medical items and diaper bags. 

Will the food and beverage concession stands be open?

No, Fenway will not be opening their concession stands. Each guest is allowed to bring ONE unopened bottle of water. We ask that you plan accordingly.

Will the event happen even if it rains?

Yes, the event will happen rain or shine. If there are extreme weather conditions, we will communicate any changes.

How will graduates be recognized?

Due to strict guidelines, graduates will not cross the stage. All graduates will have their name read and their slide will appear on the big screen.

What photo opportunities are available?

We encourage you to take your own photos at Fenway. There won't be a professional photographer to take individual photos of each graduate due to restrictions.
 
You are welcome to visit campus that day for photo opportunities. Please share your photos on social using #BentleyU2020 and #BentleyU2021.

When is move out?

If you are a graduating senior you are permitted to stay until Saturday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m. Graduating seniors do not need to check out with an RA. Please remove all garbage and belongings and exit by 7:30 p.m. Graduating seniors with extenuating circumstances are permitted to request a late stay until Sunday, May 2 at 9:00 a.m. Please reach out to your Residence Director and submit a late stay request if you need to stay past 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 1.

When will I receive my diploma and will honors be recognized?

The last day of classes is Friday, April 30 so honors will not be calculated in time for the Saturday, May 1 ceremony. The university will announce honors when grading has been completed and it will be recognized on your official diploma and transcript.
 
Diplomas and a commemorative cover will be mailed directly from a vendor and it should be received by mid-July. If you need confirmation that you have graduated, please contact the Registrar's Office at registrar@bentley.edu.

Is the Bookstore on Campus Open on May 1?

Yes, the Bookstore on campus will be open on Saturday, May 1 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Am I able to purchase graduation announcements?

To purchase graduation announcements, visit the Balfour website.

As an international student currently outside the U.S., how can I attend the commencement ceremony?
  • Class of 2021 students – If you have been maintaining active F-1 status by taking a full load of courses, you can enter the country using your valid F-1 visa as long as you enter BEFORE April 30, 2021. Note: if you have applied for OPT you should also travel with your I-797 Receipt Notice or your I-797C Approval Notice from USCIS. If you are no longer maintaining F-1 status, you will need a tourist visa to enter the U.S., which can be obtained at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your home country. Please note that there are currently restrictions on travel to the U.S., so we highly recommend checking restrictions, quarantine and testing requirements regularly. 

•    Class of 2020 students – if you have been maintaining active F-1 status by participating in active OPT, you can enter the country using your valid (unexpired) F-1 visa, I-20 signed for travel, and EAD card, as long as you enter before the end date of your approved OPT period. If the F-1 visa in your passport is expired, you may be able to renew it in your home country in order to return to the U.S. If you are no longer maintaining F-1 status (either you did not apply for OPT or did not report employment on approved OPT), you will need a tourist visa to enter the US, which can be obtained at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your home country. Please note that there are currently restrictions on travel to the U.S., so we highly recommend checking restrictions, quarantine and testing requirements regularly.
 

How can my family members who are currently outside the U.S. attend the commencement ceremony?
  • Family members and friends who are planning to attend the ceremony in the U.S. should apply for a tourist visa (B-1/B-2 visa). Applicants must apply for a B-1/B-2 visa from a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. U.S. Consulates and Embassies are having a phased return to visa services; please visit the travel.state.gov website for more details on the visa services provided at specific worldwide locations.  For more information on how to apply for a visa, please visit the U.S. Department of State website. Please note that there are currently restrictions on travel to the U.S., so we highly recommend checking restrictions, quarantine and testing requirements regularly.
  • If your family or friends are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program, they do not need to request a tourist visa to attend graduation ceremonies. 
  • The U.S. Consulate or Embassy will expect the visa applicant to provide the following documents at the time of application:
    • Letter of Invitation (optional)
      • The CISS no longer issues letters of invitation to family members for graduation or tourist purposes, since these are not considered by consular officials in approval of a tourist visa. However, you may wish to provide your own letter explaining your student status and desire for your family to join you for the graduation ceremony. Please find attached a sample letter for you to fill out with your personal information to provide to the visa applicant: download the CISS Invitation Letter template
    • Details of Bentley University commencement ceremonies can be found here. Please contact commencement@bentley.edu for questions about the ceremony logistics. 
    • Enrollment Verification Letter (to confirm your student status)
      • To request an Enrollment Verification letter, visit the Registrar's website. You should request this letter at least two weeks before your visa appointment or travel date. 
  • Bank Statement/Other Documentation
    • As proof of sufficient funds to support themselves while visiting the U.S. your relatives may need appropriate financial documentation.  This could be a letter verifying employment or a bank statement. You may also need to submit Form I-134 Affidavit of Support.  If your visitors will pay for their expenses themselves, you are not required to complete Form I-134.
  • Proof of Intent to Return Home 
    • Documents that support the intent to return home include: proof of employment, property, business ownership, immediate family members who remain back home, or any strong ties to their home country. Copies of the return airline ticket or reservation will also be helpful.
Do I need an “invitation letter” to show to the consulate in order to get a visa?
  • For a tourist visa, you may wish to provide the consulate with an optional invitation letter explaining the purpose of your visit. This letter should be written by you, the student, as detailed above and also here:
  • The CISS no longer issues letters of invitation to family members for graduation or tourist purposes, since these are not considered by consular officials in approval of a tourist visa. However, you may wish to provide your own letter explaining your student status and desire for your family to join you for the graduation ceremony. Please find attached a sample letter for you to fill out with your personal information to provide to the visa applicant: download the CISS Invitation Letter template.  
Where can I find out what local COVID restrictions will be in effect for my trip?

Because COVID travel guidelines are constantly changing, we recommend checking the Massachusetts COVID travel website for the most current information.

Additional Questions?

Contact the Commencement Office at commencement@bentley.edu.