The cost of graduation: is it worth the money?

With fees rising to £9,250, the cost of education is high. The scrapping of the NHS bursary and maintenance grants paired with high rent and living costs means your time at University has a very large price tag.

It is perhaps because of these external factors that so many students raised concerns over the cost of graduation last academic year. As Beth Massey, Education Officer 2016/17 was coming to the end of her term, and graduation tickets went on sale – students began raising their concerns over the £20 guest tickets.

“Graduation does not just cost you £20 per guest”

However, graduation does not just cost you £20 per guest. Ede & Ravencroft charge £45 for gown hire (which is necessary to cross the stage), usually a dress or suit for the occasion would set you back another £45 at least. Travel to and from Nottingham has to be factored in, paired with accommodation which for 1/3rd of our demographic (international students) could come in at £1000+ depending on where they are travelling from.Each student receives one free ticket for themselves, but there is a charge if you want to celebrate with family on your big day. The tickets, from my experience, include refreshments in the East Midlands Conference Centre post-ceremony, a brochure and a seat for your family member to see you walk across the stage to receive your degree certificate.

“Where does the financial responsibility for the cost of graduation lie?”

I enjoyed my graduation ceremony – I enjoyed walking across the stage to collect my degree, hearing my then-future colleague Matt Bramley speak about his experiences at University, taking photographs outside on our beautiful campus and ending the day in a restaurant in town with my close family. None of these things are things that the university provided (bar potential spending for staging) with the money that I paid for my family to attend.

This raises the question as to where the financial responsibility for the cost of graduation lies. Is it for the university to subsidise guest tickets – after all, we have already paid nearly £30K to be here (and even more for international students), or is it for family that wish to see their children, grandchildren and siblings graduate?

Last week I passed policy at Union Council to mandate the Education Officer to lobby for a reduction in the cost of graduation, which is already one of my objectives for the year ahead. I would love to hear from you, about what you expect of your graduation ceremony – drop me an e-mail at or find me on Facebook as Cassie O’Boyle SU

Cassie O’Boyle

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Image courtesy of John Walker on Image use license here. No changes made to this image.


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