September 21, 2019

Surprise! Graduation fees increase

On the journey to graduation, there are several steps that need to be taken for a senior to make that final move across the stage to collect their diploma. However, those steps can be more tedious than the actual coursework they’ve been  assigned within their majors.

The biggest sign of graduation for seniors comes in the sale of caps and gowns, but the biggest shock comes in the hefty price lopped onto those caps and gowns and various graduation fees. Of course, fees have increased again this year, much to the dismay of already in-debt seniors ready to graduate in May.

Graduating seniors have to pay $50 for processing of their various documents, almost $90 for caps and gowns and then an additional $50-$100 for announcements. Seniors have already spent tens of thousands of dollars on their education and administration is asking them to spend hundreds more to go through the pomp and circumstance. The Journal understands the importance of these rituals. The seniors on our staff have worked hard and have earned the right to walk across the stage and gain recognition for the work they have done.

The problem we see is that seniors are being nickel and dimed by the university. During our research for our article on graduation fees in this issue, we noticed that other schools have ways of circumventing the cost. For example, Washington University rents their graduation robes for as little as $50. Granted, the total of their graduation garb is close to a whopping $500 unrented, but the option is still there. There is no rental option for Webster University students.

In talking about this article, at least three Webster professors told us they bought graduation apparel for students who  couldn’t afford it. We applaud those professors for stepping up and helping their students.  Webster isn’t looking out for its students in the long run. We’re spending so much money on our education and yet can’t even afford the fees for graduation.

In one year, the graduation caps and gowns increased by $20. The Journal talked with another student who graduated last year and had to re-buy their robes this year and was shocked to find the rapid cost of the gowns. The Journal thinks this cost would be slightly easier to swallow if we had a few other options.

What if students could buy certain aspects of their costume and rent others. The Journal seniors are much more likely to buy a tassel and a cap and rent the hood and gown.

What if there was an opportunity for a scholarship that, along with books on an annual basis, students could also earn cap and gown as well?

Webster has been lucky enough to keep its head above the water during the recession. It should help its students do the same.

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