Over the past few nervy weeks students the length and breadth of the UK have come to the end of an anxious wait as GCSE and A-level results are revealed.
Those A-level students achieving the results they needed will, in the coming months, be setting of into the unknown where their futures will be forged in the fiery world of university life.
The costs associated with university study are well known to all – seemingly on an unstoppable upward curve with fees topping £9000, a rental market on the up and the cost of living a far cry from the halcyon days of chez mum and dad.
After three years of hard partying, hard bread and hard graft most will come out the other end with letters after their name and a world of opportunity at their feet, having a final send off at the much-anticipated graduation ceremony; a chance for generations of family to come together, celebrate and share in your proudest academic achievement to date.
It might seem cynical, then, that many universities charge per head for students’ nearest and dearest to attend the graduation ceremony. After all, graduation day should surely be a celebration of the hard work and achievement of both university and student, the culmination of a three-year partnership where the mutual hard work on both sides is recognised and rejoiced. A great number of students relied on the support of their families for those three years, should they really be asked to dip into their pockets one final time?
Students attending graduation ceremonies will often have family coming from far flung towns and cities incurring petrol and accommodation costs. Then there are the gowns (on average £40), the photos (ranging from 20 – £200) and all the other extras (balls, parties etc).
Nottingham Trent University, for example, charge guests £25 per head – that’s £50 straight off the bat for parents alone. Added to the associated costs set out above (not to mention three years worth of support and bail outs), graduation day can have a nasty sting in the tail.
I understand there are overheads – marquee hire, VIP scroll disher-outer (technical term), but £25 per head? Nah. Squeezed students and parents could rightly feel their last pip just got popped.
My advice is that when studies are over, don’t ditch the budgeting until graduation day is done.
A handful of tips for graduation day frugality
* Ok, you risk looking like a bit of a party pooper but check your university’s policy book – not all make it compulsory for you to wear the flowing gown and silly hat.
* If the thought of striding along the stage in jeans and a t-shirt is just too much to bear, remember that most universities have different departments graduating on different days. Find a friend or two from other courses, get your heads together and split the cost of the robe rent.
* Find someone who’s from the same area as you and organise a car share or minibus hire for your rellies. Divide the cost of that pricey petrol.
* Get talking to arty types at your uni – you’ll find that photography students are more than willing to take fantastic photos for you at a much better price. Support your own and they’ll support you!