Every year University seniors pay a graduation fee – this year it’s $110 – as a part of the process of applying to graduate.
While adminstrators said these fees are a necessary part of the application process to be completed before added to the list of cleared seniors, some students said they feel differently about the expenses and the additional paperwork.
“You are not on the list to graduate right away,” Nancy Gonzalez, senior criminology major, said. “I had to go almost 10 times a week before I was cleared to graduate. I had already paid the $110, but clearly that was not enough. I had to waste time as well.”
When seniors fill out their paperwork for graduation they pay this one-time fee.
The revenue coming from the fees is used to help fund the activities and other aspects related to graduation, ranging from the ceremony to diploma printing. The money also covers any mailing that goes out to students regardless of their participation in graduation.
On top of the fees, seniors are encouraged to donate money for the class gift.
“They give you a suggested amount that you can volounteer,” Gonzalez said. “The lowest amount is random, something like $20.05.”
“It is kind of frustrating for other students that cannot afford it,” said Nadia De Leon, administrative assistant for CAPA and graduate student.
De Leon believed that the fee covered the costs of the cap and gown but later learned that she and others would have to additionally pay for the cap and gown.
“I know that they do it for doctoral and law students but get higher fees,” De Leon said. “If they do it for one set, why don't they do it for others?”
Masters, doctoral and law students are not exempt from having to pay an additional fee for their caps and gowns. These students are also required to pay a fee, said Mark McKellip, assistant registrar.
McKellip has done some research regarding graduation fees and how they compare to that of other schools. In his research, other schools that have smaller fees are, in general, supplemented with higher tuition fees for all undergraduates.
He compared the University of La Verne's fee to the University of Redlands’ $80 fee as being fair in both cases.
“Redlands does not have the same issues,” McKellip said. “They don't have as many students. We have to accommodate those off campus.”
McKellip believes Redlands' system is simpler compared to that of the University. For example, Redlands does not have to send as many correspondences than ULV and does not have as many degrees.
Raquel Poe, academic record counselor for Azusa Pacific University, says that the graduatestudents have an $80 graduation fee as well.
“We just call it a fee, we don't say that it goes toward something,” Poe said.
Undergraduate students at APU also have to pay the fee. This fee pays for diplomas, cap and gowns and other graduation expenses.
“Schools like Cal Poly may charge $20 but may charge one or two dollars more in regular fees which effect all students,” McKellip said.
McKellip was quick to point out the differences between graduation and commencement.
Commencement is just the ceremony, whereas graduation refers to everything that is related to graduation including all paperwork and preparation.
The fees are used to fund many of the activities.
Andres Rivera can be reached at email@example.com.