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Empty pockets; financial obstacles of college graduation

by The Stylus
Tue, Apr 30th 2019 10:00 pm
COSTLY The debt accrued by students during their time in college can affect them for years to come. Although graduation signifies moving on in life, the fees continue to follow students through the commencement process, compounding on to the costs of rent, utilities, tuition and other costs students are responsible for.
COSTLY The debt accrued by students during their time in college can affect them for years to come. Although graduation signifies moving on in life, the fees continue to follow students through the commencement process, compounding on to the costs of rent, utilities, tuition and other costs students are responsible for.

May is upon us, spring has sprung, finals week is pending and the big day for thousands of college students is right around the corner. That day being graduation, of course. Where many undergraduates and graduates alike wait to walk with their diplomas in hand, others are juggling between paying for a cap and gown and their upcoming rent statement. 

In the past weeks, college students across the nation have been preparing for graduation, a period of gratitude, celebration and one burdened by fees. A commencement fee of $40, a cap and gown tag of $56.98, the list goes on… While The College at Brockport’s pool of fees does not stretch as far as other institutions, the total at the checkout can make or break a student’s bills for that month. 

Whether or not the grand total comes to a little over $100, the reality of digging into your pocket to pay the college once again in order to stop paying the college is inevitable.

The irony is hard to miss. Moreover, the total sum of these fees and its final destination on what it compensates is unclear and varies in each institution. 

Based on the majority of college graduation ceremonies, fees claimed are distributed among ceremony personnel, coordination expense, various diploma supplies and more. In hindsight, the idea of a student contributing funds for a celebratory event that recognizes their sole work of academic achievement is not necessarily an issue. However, students are responsible for a number of yearly fees, such as student fees, that are put in place for events and the concept of adding to that stack by incorporating fees for graduation is redundant. 

There is a need for finding balance between student and college when discussing outsider fees like the ones of graduation. In order to find such balance, colleges can make an effort to seek out less profit from the purchases of graduation caps, gowns and tassels, the majority of which are sold at campus halls such as on-campus bookstores. This shift can allow for assisting in graduation ceremony expenses for students and all other accommodations. 

In most cases, during the days that lead up to graduation, these locations see an increase in revenue and sales traffic from families and non-student purchases in college apparel and various college souvenirs. 

Having said that, the hike of business from book stores within the time frame of college graduation can aid in cutting down on the cost of a cap and gown set. Small-scale attempts to make graduation and its accompanying fees more affordable can have a large impact on the current perception of college graduation. 

The list of graduation fees expands beyond the forms of commencement and material fees. As the semester comes to a close, college students who are set to graduate within this month await their next stepping stone in their lives; a career. Whether or not upcoming graduates have secured a job, the large majority of them have invested in all of the possible ways to do so, most of which come with a price. 

In today’s era of career opportunity and job security, college students are told to prepare to face competition. While the idea of maintaining a good grade point average (GPA) and engaging with out-of-the-classroom activities is followed by the vast majority, the need to stand out in a sea of competitors is stressed amongst college students. That concept calls for action, regularly, one that consists of résumé building, honor society inductions and other efforts to rise to another level. 

Despite the growth that some of these methods offer, most are only attainable by purchases and fees. Résumés created by individual efforts are often told to be dismissed for ones made by professionals which can run up monthly fees, honor society awards are to commemorate academic achievement yet are almost always claimed after payments and the cost of an internship experience can also be taxing. 

While the value of displaying a wide range of qualifications cannot be understated, it appears that aspirations of landing a career with financial stability are chained together by a cycle of financial burdens. 

The attendance cost of higher education sits at a large sum and has only been rising with each passing year. Regardless of enrolling in a private or public college, the fees that cover education have a large influence on the financial futures of students.

The final cost for a college education should not be further extended by additional fees but should instead remain stagnant and be responsible for all that a college degree opens the doors to. No matter how small, supplemental costs are a concern for all who are pursuing an education. 

We at The Stylus believe in support for college students who face the trickling down of payments for their education and wish for a change in the current state of college fees. 

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