After four to five years of tuiton, expensive, no one can argue that. Graduation though, is the cherry on top of the college expense sundae.
Danny Snow drives 120 miles round trip, four days a week, from northern Idaho to attend Eastern. The anthropology and fine arts double major is finding it difficult to balance all her expenses with the addition of graduation costs.
From class rings, announcements, cap and gown, tassel and even the diploma frame, these costs can add up quickly.
Robin Milligan knows first hand the costs of graduation and the effect it can have on one’s bank account. Milligan graduated last year without walking. Paying the last two quarters of her college tuition out of pocket, she said she was strapped for cash and could not attend commencement. Milligan also said that she was six months pregnant at the time.
“It was the costs mainly. I didn’t have any money. I had paid out of pocket for the previous two quarters and I didn’t have anything left,” Milligan said.
Milligan said that her husband is also graduating this year, but cannot afford to walk because of the costs.
When discussing with friends that she would be unable to graduate, Snow’s friends decided to chip in together to help pay for Snow’s graduation costs. Snow said that this is a problem facing more Eastern students than it appears.
“I think a lot of people who can’t afford graduating don’t really want to talk about it. It’s just a little embarrassing,” Snow said.
Cap and gown together are $21.40 and tassels are $3.95. The application for graduation is $37.17 per degree — Milligan had triple majored in humanities, art history and studio art. This totaled the costs for her graduation application at $111.51. Milligan said that the charge for each degree became expensive.
“I feel like there’s already so many fees tacked on already, at least the costs of the cap and gown [should be included],” Milligan said.
Snow believes that the cap and gown should be included in student’s tuition. Snow obtained her associate degree at North Idaho College. She said that the cap and gown costs were included in the tuition.
“I worked for years to get the degree. I figured that it would be nice to walk, but I couldn’t afford the extra costs on top of it,” Milligan said.
Mlligan said that she attempted to waive some of the costs by speaking to someone about the issue, but said it was difficult to speak to anyone about the costs.
“I wasn’t given any information about graduating until it was pretty much the deadline to graduate, and this year with my husband graduating, he didn’t get any information on it. They don’t tell you there’s any costs … and then all of a sudden when you go to do it, there’s this fee and this fee.
It’s dumped on you at the last minute,” Milligan said.
Milligan said if she would have known in advance about the ald the detailed graduation costs, she would have been able to prepare, but given she was paying out-of-pocket for her school at the time, it became “insurmountable.”
“It’s bad enough that they charge you for your diploma. It costs me $35 for each one of the diplomas after I had already paid for school the whole time,” Milligan said.
John Wilson, an employee of the Riverpoint bookstore, said that he had never seen a student who could not afford the costs and cited that Eastern’s caps and gowns are cheaper than Washington State University.
“Frankly, I’ve never had a student come in and tell me they couldn’t afford it. Whether the one’s that didn’t come because they couldn’t afford it, I couldn’t say. … We don’t feel too bad about our pricing,” Wilson said.