A $150 dollar graduation fee: another unnecessary payment that Fairfield University lays on you? Or the price for a commencement that you will remember for the rest of your life?

“The fee covers the cost of commencement and various activities, which is an expensive operation,” said Academic Vice President Dr. Orin Grossman.

“Tuition just doesn’t cover cost. It is a special fee for a special thing, and one way or another people have to pay.”

In years past, it has been traditional for seniors to pay for graduation, and it is standard business to have a graduation fee, according to Grossman.

“The cost of commencement is around six figures,” said Grossman. “The $150 dollar fee is appropriate for the event.”

After four years of expensive tuition, some students say they are shocked by another fee the university charges them on the way out the door.

“I understand that they are putting a lot of effort into making a memorable graduation ceremony for us,” said Marissa Lanteri ’04. “However, why not just include it within the tuition senior year?”

According to Grossman,the university must recoup the cost of graduation from seniors one way or another.

“Either tuition has to be $150 more, or it is put in as a fee,” said Grossman. “Parents can argue about any fee, but the cost of higher education is a difficult issue and it’s expensive.”

Fairfield has done studies to compare graduation fees to different universities. The fee the university charges is very similar to other schools, Grossman said. And 75 percent of the cost of commencement is for the precautionary rain plan, where they have to rent the Arena at Harbor Yard.

“Frankly I think it’s ridiculous, especially because we’re going to have to pay for every other event that happens within that week,” said Tanya Chavez ’04. “What’s the $150 for anyway, our caps and gowns? I would think the school could at least give us that much.”

The event, held on the back lawn of Bellarmine Hall, is expensive to set up and the university has to pay Fairfield Police to be on site during the event as well.

“I know graduation is a once and a lifetime event, so the fee doesn’t bother me,” said Joe Fomenko ’04. “But if the $150 is just for the diploma, you can tell Father Kelley to e-mail it to me and I’ll print it out myself.”

Other students were more philosophical, saying graduation is the culmination of four years of work, making friends, and having the best time of your life. You can’t put a price tag on an event that will remain with you forever.

“I can understand why people would be frustrated with having to pay a graduation fee,” said Frank Marx ’04. “But everyone looks forward to having a nice event and the reality of it is that, we can’t have a memorable event and have it come cheap as well.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.