| 03.21.2018

Extra grad fee too much


You have put in four or more years at the University of Idaho. Countless hours have been spent studying, reading books, staying up until dawn the next day just to get the grade you deserve. Finally, you’ve made it. You are going to graduate and take part in the annual commencement.

But wait, you are going to have to pay one more fee in order to graduate.

Emily Lowe

Emily Lowe

As if in four years students have not spent enough money on college, UI asks for $25 in order to graduate. If one misses the payment deadline, that price rises to $60. Granted, it is only $25, which is nothing compared to the thousands of dollars spent on tuition, housing and books. Yet, is this last small fee really necessary?

The fee is used for the staff time for reviewing potential graduate records, printing and mailing diplomas and it also covers the fee of the black folder students gets when they walk across the stage at commencement, according to the UI Registrar’s Office. These are necessary items for graduation, but it doesn’t seem fair to make students who have already spent thousands on tuition to pay extra for it.

Tuition per year at UI for an Idaho resident is $6,784, which is higher than the two other popular public colleges in Idaho: Idaho State University and Boise State University. Adding to that bill are food and housing expenses. It becomes overwhelming for many students to even keep up with how expensive college is. It doesn’t help that students are required to pay that fee before they are allowed to graduate.

It isn’t wise of the university to leave a bad taste in the mouth of graduating students with one last required fee. Having one of the last memories of college being held hostage for an extra $25 could leave a student with negative feelings towards UI no matter the fee price. This negative feeling about UI could cause a decrease in yearly alumni donations.

Vandal Connect is a telephone outreach program that contacts parents, friends andalumni to gain financial support for UI to fund Vandal Athletics, the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival and other UI programs. Gifts start at $10, and annually UI raises almost over $5.9 million through Vandal Connect.       That is quite a large amount of money for one program. It seems that it could be feasible to pay for the graduating students’ $25 fee with a small amount of this substantial donation.

The Commencement held at the end of each semester is not free, nor are the caps and gowns. To spare the students additional expense, it would be wise of UI to look into a way to take a small portion of their budget and put it toward covering all graduation fees.

The graduates, after all, do deserve it. They put in countless hours and money and should graduate as a Vandal. That in itself should be a reward that any student should not have to pay extra for.

It is not right to charge students who have already spent thousands, and are most likely in debt by thousands of dollars, to give up one last $25 to graduate UI. Instead, administrators should find a way to use a small portion of the donations received to give to the students. Parents and friends should be willing to give up some money for a college that has done great things for their child. That won’t always be the case if graduates become frustrated with this requirement. Everything has a price tag on it in college, why should graduating, too?

Emily Lowe can be reached at the arg-opinion@uidaho.edu

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