Graduation and commencement ceremonies can get costly for students

ReAnne Rogers

Graduating students who want to participate in May’s commencement ceremonies may face high costs to receive their diploma on stage.

The first step that a student must take in order to graduate is to pay for the  graduation application after being approved by advisers.

Admissions and records is responsible for determining the cost of commencement and charging students for their graduation application fee.

The starting price for processing the application is $47. For a Spring 2013 or Summer 2013 graduation, the deadline to apply was July 6, 2012. After that deadline, an additional $10 would be added to the graduation application fee. The $47 payment covers a diploma processing fee of $10, an account overhead graduation check fee of $0.75 and the commencement fee of $36.26.

The Student Development and International Programs staff organize commencement.

“We coordinate the whole thing: commencement handbooks, getting in touch with departments and vendors and photographers,” said graduate student assistant in SDIP, Armine Karagyulyan, 21.

Every year the SDIP department hold a GradFest for graduating seniors. At the event, vendors such as Jostens, who sell class rings, and Herff Jones, a company that sells caps, gowns and grad packages, come out to show students their many options on items for their big day.

On the Herff Jones website, there are a few options that students have when it comes time for them to order their cap, gown and announcements.

The most expensive graduation package rings up at $383.80. That package includes 25 announcements, 25 thank you notes, 25 envelope seals, 60 return address labels, a black and red souvenir tassel, a rented gown, cap and tassel, a degree frame, one year membership in the alumni association and an alumni license plate frame.

Package two ($347) and package three ($314) come with the same items, but the degree frame shrinks in size as the price decreases.

The next less expensive package does not include a souvenir tassel or a degree frame and costs $153.

For the students who are less interested in taking home souvenirs after graduation, the cheapest package costs $40. It includes a rented gown, cap and tassel, a one year membership in the alumni association and an alumni license plate frame.

It is not an option to buy a cap and gown without having to return it as a rental.

If the graduate is interested in decorating their rented gown with a sash, it can cost between $40 to $150. A graduate can purchase a very basic sash with the letters C-S-U-N on it for $40.

An honors student who wants to wear the “Honors” sash and ropes has the option to purchase the sash for $40 and ropes for $14.

These costs are standard for Rochie’s Originals, a store that specializes in customizing clothing for Greek organizations on campus.

Any graduate who waits until the last minute and wants the more expensive items can expect to spend about $600, but students who plan ahead can spend as little as $87.

Other extras can be added on to the total cost of graduation with such items as class rings or hoods.

“I’m most excited about purchasing my hood,” said Jordan Briem, 26, graduate student in public health. “I have no idea how much it costs, I would like it to be inexpensive, but at the end of the day I’m going to buy it because I really want it.”