The cost of graduating

As the school year winds to an end, seniors are rushing to the Kennel Bookstore to purchase all their graduation needs, some on a budget, while others are too excited to notice price tags.

Fresno State’s main graduation ceremony is May 23, less than two months from now. Graduates were relieved to pay their very last tuition payment to the university this semester, but unfortunately, college costs won’t end there for them.

The big decision is whether to simply walk away from the university with a nod, or plan to attend the multiple ceremonies offered wearing a cap and gown and notify, by mail, all your closest friends and family of your achievement. This decision will be the difference of paying nothing or hundreds of dollars for the special event.

Amy Guinn, 31, graduating with a masters in rehab counseling, is the first in her family to graduate from college and said it is a very special event for her and all her loved ones. It is important for her to share her special day with family, but said that she was very cautious when purchasing her announcements.

“I only ordered what I needed,” Guinn said. “I made a list and made sure to order the exact amount of invitations.”

Guinn added that getting graduation pictures were out of the question.

“I found out last minute that I was going to be able to walk,” Guinn said. “It’s very exciting, but a budget is important and some things have to be cut out.”

Corrina Rubio, 20, works in the downstairs Kennel Copy Center where graduation announcements are ordered. She said that she hasn’t heard of any complaints about prices.

“The cost we provide isn’t that bad,” said Rubio. “The only complaints I’ve heard are about the tax prices going up, but other than that, it’s pretty affordable.”

Personalized announcements are $1.50 each and an additional 25 cents for the ceremony card insert.

Andrea Montoya, 25, graduated in May of 2008 with a degree in agriculture education. She was in the Kennel Bookstore picking up a frame for a diploma and said that attending the ceremony and purchasing all the items for it is worth it.

“The prices aren’t bad,” Montoya said. “You grumble and gripe about it and then the day comes and it’s totally worth it.”

Montoya even purchased two “Stoles of Gratitude,” which cost $25 each. She gave one to her mother and one to her grandparents. The stole is given to someone who stood out in supporting the graduate through life and their education. It’s gifted as a thank you for the encouragement and love. It also dresses up the otherwise plain black gown.

To attend graduation ceremonies, all that is required of the graduate is to purchase a cap, gown and tassel. The package for these items for a bachelor’s degree comes to a total of $29.42 (with tax) and $57.76 (with tax) for a master’s degree, which includes the hood. Graduation packages are also available for $25, and offer a year membership to the Alumni Association, a Bulldog t-shirt, chrome Fresno State Alumni license plate frame, and coupons for graduation items.

“It’s a big step in your life,” Montoya said. “You can justify spending a little extra on yourself for graduation. With all the time and effort, you earned it.”

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