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Students disapprove of graduation application fee

With graduation right around the corner, seniors are making sure to dot the I’s and cross the T’s before it’s time to walk across the stage. A crucial part of this process is filling out the graduation application that includes a fee of $25 which does not cover the costs of a cap and a gown.

While some seniors are all set to graduate, others say the $25 fee is the only thing stopping them. Senior interdisciplinary studies major, Jarfaith Jones, said she is in the process of applying for graduation but because she hasn’t been able to get the money for the application fee, she has not been able to submit her application to graduate in the spring.

“I feel that it is unfair to have to pay the $25 fee just to graduate,” Jones said. “I think it should be free because we already get charged enough fees throughout college.”

According to the VSU website, the estimated cost of attendance for two semesters including housing is $16,336 for in state students and $29,818 for out of state students. Students often have to take out loans to pay these costs and end up over $10,000 in debt after they graduate.

“I feel that because of tuition and the extra fees that we’ve already paid, I think it should be included in that,” Ciara James, a senior communications major, said.

James also said students who have been paying tuition costs for four years should not have to pay an application fee when they already have to worry about paying that money back to debt collectors.

The fee, according to the registrar’s office, has been the same for almost 30 years and is used to pay for diploma supplies, mailing materials, diploma covers and honor medallions. It’s kind of hard to believe that these expenses cannot be covered without charging the graduates.

As a soon to be graduate, who is over $20,000 in debt, I can’t help but to agree with my fellow students. Graduation is supposed to be a joyous occasion in which all seniors can share their great accomplishments with their loved ones. Instead, for some college students these fees create a stressful environment for those of us who just don’t have the funds to apply.

Story by Jada Dukes, staff writer. Photo by VSU. 

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