Daily 49er

A less than convenient fee

With questionable graduation fees and inflated pricing on commencement regalia, CSULB gets the last laugh

For students struggling to make ends meet the costs of graduation are an extra struggle.

For students struggling to make ends meet the costs of graduation are an extra struggle.

For students struggling to make ends meet the costs of graduation are an extra struggle.

Amanda Recio, Social Media Editor

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Of all the unnecessary charges I’ve incurred during my time at Cal State Long Beach, none have compared to one I paid last semester during the application process for graduation. It was then that my heart sank, as I realized the university imposes a mandatory fee of $45 just to let them know that I will be completing the necessary 120 units of coursework to bring my college career to an end.

As if the anxiety of ending an 18-year relationship with academia wasn’t enough to deter students from commencement ceremonies, our hard work is rewarded with more fees that don’t seem to have any real benefit to our educational advancement.

Ask any representative from the Enrollment Services office at Brotman Hall and they will all tell you the same thing: the $45 fee is used to “finalize the graduation process and verify requirements.”

Students who work diligently for so long to pay for their college degrees should not be rewarded with even more fees to complete it. It’s like making a home-cooked meal and then paying to eat it.   

On top of the initial fee to apply for graduation, students then have to worry about commencement regalia, and the costs keep stacking

Students who wish to get a cap and gown must rent it from the university bookstore with packages starting at $39.99 and going up to $300. Then comes the tassel, cord and all the material things that make up the picturesque vision we all have of college graduation when we are children.

The picture of graduation we see in television shows and movies growing up will have us believe that it is all lighthearted fun. What the movies don’t tell us is that paying for commencement regalia could possibly mean not having enough money for groceries this week or not being able to pay your cellphone bill on time.

Of course, the perks of participating in commencement ceremonies are obvious. That iconic moment you walk across the stage and look out to a sea of your peers is an experience most only have once, if at all.

Many students support participation in commencement as it serves as a visual representation of the effort they put into their academic careers, or for the family and friends who supported them through the four or more years of hard work and sacrifice. Whatever the reason may be, there is no denying that our students deserve their 15 minutes of fame, but why does it have to be so expensive?

Perhaps if the university were more transparent about what the mandatory fee goes to, I would feel better about giving them even more money. Furthermore, if our university’s financial aid were able to waive the graduation fee the same way they do for some student’s college applications, students might feel like the university is acting in their best interest.

Because there is an apparent amount of disregard for students’ financial situations, it makes our last few experiences with the university an unpleasant experience.

My advice to all graduating seniors: get a used or borrowed cap and gown and don’t forget to smile for the camera; I’m sure the university’s contracted professional photo company will be happy to overcharge you for slightly awkward pictures of you up on stage.  


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