With graduation coming very quickly, there are many excited seniors out there ready to be done with school. There are so many happy things associated with finishing college, but honestly, the biggest shock I have faced is the cost of my family members to come attend my graduation.

I am originally from South Carolina, and almost all my family, with the exception of distant relatives, live in South Carolina. The cost of plane tickets for my mom and dad to travel a few days before and leave a few days after is about $1,500. Rental cars are around $40 a day, which is adding up to about $300 over the period of six days, including gas costs.

My parents are staying with grandparents in the area for free, relieving them of the costs of hotels. My other set of grandparents, who are spending around $1,700 in airfare from another part in South Carolina and around the same in rental cars, are going to stay in hotels. Hotels in the Ogden area range from $50-$150 a night. These costs seriously add up.

Along with costs of travel is, of course, the cost of food and amenities while in town! The idea of graduation is supposed to be a happy time, when tuition is done and a job can start paying off, but the graduation ceremonies are a very costly tradition.

The family members traveling out are not the only people spending money on graduation. A lot of graduates are sending out invitations, which cost anywhere from $70-$100. The many relatives who receive these announcements generally feel obligated to send anywhere from $20-$100 as a graduation gift.

If 20 invitations are sent, with $20 returned with each invitation, that is $400 coming from many people. This is not including those who will send more than $20 in a gift. The costs for graduation continue adding up.

If there is a party being thrown for the graduate, there can be MANY additional costs going into the planning and supplies. Food for guests can range from $10-$25 a person, while alcohol, if consumed, costs a lot more. A cake, depending on how many people, ranges from $20-$50.

Photographers are available at graduation to take pictures, which they send out with proofs for purchase after graduation ceremonies. These photographs can cost from $10-$150, depending on which package and shots are chosen.

Want a frame for that degree? They cost upward of $140 in the bookstore with the Weber State University logo on them. If you want a frame for a picture AND a degree, plan on spending more!

Never did I imagine that graduation would cost so much, but now that I am here, I can honestly say that I did not prepare financially for the burden of graduation. Also, there’s the thought that job-hunting can take a few months. Each graduate should have money put away for bills when that job doesn’t magically appear after graduation.

I am still excited to graduate, but definitely scared at the same time. 

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