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Graduation fee helps cover commencement

An extra $35 could mean another trip to the grocery store this week or more than a week’s worth of gas. It’s also the final cost of a college career. ‘ Thousands of dollars are paid in full before the exuberant jaunt across the commencement stage, but the pomp and circumstance too, comes with a hefty price tag. ‘ Every University student is required to pay the $35 regardless of attendance at graduation ceremonies, upon submitting their graduation application. The fee is non-refundable, meaning that even if students apply and end up not graduating that semester they will have to pay the fee again every time the graduation application is processed. ‘ The extra cost to students can be blamed on the tuition freeze all across the state of Ohio said’ Joe Oravecz, associate vice president of Student Affairs. ‘ ‘As our costs are rising, it means less services for the students and the impact of the services we can provide,’ Oravecz said. ‘ This can mean larger classes, crumbling campus buildings, and extra fees tacked on to student’s bills that could normally be added to the general undergraduate Bursar tab. ‘ And the University is not alone. ‘ Owens Community College requires $10-$20 depending on the degree and Eastern Michigan University charges $95. ‘ Although some of the money goes to the ceremony, it also covers other necessary nuts and bolts. ‘ First, commencement is always on a Friday or Saturday, meaning that faculty and staff working these days are paid overtime. Then there are the diplomas, the diploma covers and transcripts. Even those who choose not to be present need these precious papers after graduation is over. Stuffing the envelopes, mailing the diplomas and paying for postage is usually the end of the process. ‘ But that’s behind the scenes. ‘ There’s still the cost of putting on the whole production. Music, set up and take down, as well as prepping a huge space for a massive amount of people. ‘ ‘Think of people putting on weddings,’ Oravecz said. ‘ Seniors at the University of Toledo don’t have to pay extra in January to walk in May, because they have been paying the fee in small increments for four years. Instead of a couple of bags of groceries a semester, it’s the price of a soup and sandwich. ‘ John Strunk, the media go-between for UT, said that a special service fee was added in 2002, before the tuition freeze, at $6.50 per student. ‘ ‘Now people can go diploma and transcript crazy,’ he said of students who want copies of extras after they graduate. Commencement is another line on the budget for UT every year. ‘ Ultimately, there is a question about whether students really care about the extra fees or if they notice at all. ‘ Of the people that attend the celebration in May, most of them, students and parents alike, may not really care. A minor frustration, another way for the University to pick through the pocket lint to grab some last-minute extra funds. ‘ Junior Sarah Jones was not even aware of the changes made in the last few years. ‘ A transfer student and upper-classman, she’s just going through the final push before senior year. ‘ ‘I think it depends on the person, so it’s not out of my bank account,’ she said. ‘I’m out of state too, so it’s on top of tuition for that already.’

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