Opinion: The Added Cost of Graduation

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Graduation is a right of passage in the United States of America. It signifies the end of one chapter and the beginning of another, as we have probably all heard from one of our high school commencement speakers.

After all the hard work students have put into their academic careers, they will do just about anything to open that new chapter, and usually it includes paying out a lot of money.

The initial sign of graduation costs can come well before the semester of the student’s graduation. The petition to graduate form must be filled out at the beginning of the semester prior to graduation, or else a $30 fine would be incurred.

If the petition to graduate form is not filled out until the same semester as anticipated graduation, the fine will increase to $60. This fee is small compared to some of the other costs that come from not only the ceremony, but also the cost of travel, tickets, accommodations, and, if you so desire, graduate school.

Since graduation is so important to the student, it’s very common that family members travel from across the country to witness the special day. Often times, the family will spend a large amount of money to pay for hotel rooms, dinners and additional graduation tickets for the family.

Students at the commencement for Fall 2015, which takes place on Dec.12, will be allocated six tickets for undergraduates, and five tickets for graduate students. Students planning to attend the Spring commencement, which takes place on May 6, will see that number cut to four tickets each. This decrease in the number of tickets will almost certainly lead to students competing for the few tickets that won’t be given to students’ family members.

Some students, however, are not complete with their academic career upon reception of their bachelor’s degree. For students that elect to continue their education, the bill is incredibly high before tuition is even considered. For admission to graduate schools, students usually have to take a test.

This test is either the General Graduate Readiness Examination (GRE), the GRE subject test for their area of concentration, the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), or the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).

All of these are expensive; $160 for the GRE, $150 for the GRE subject, $300 for the MCAT, and $170 for the LSAT. Upon completion of the test, they will send your test scores to between three and five schools for free. After that, a fee is incurred to send test scores.

This fee is $27 for the GRE, $30 for the GRE, and $36 for the MCAT. The final costs would be the cost of requesting official transcripts to send to schools at $10 each, and the application fee for each university, which ranges from $30 to $100. Students will therefore be paying upwards of $1000 to apply to around five graduate schools.

Whatever the situation for each student, it’s not a bad idea to be prepared to stretch that ramen diet a bit further at the end of the semester. Though the added cost of graduation is sometimes unexpected for some, it will all be worth it when you get that diploma.


  1. Is it really all worth it when you get that degree? How many years do most people with bachelors take to pay off student loans? Its typically a down-payment for a house. Add in the time value of spending time in school instead of having a paying job or learning a trade.