Graduation fee increases, becomes one-time payment

by Shauny Silas, Staff Writer

San Diego State’s graduation fee and process have been updated to include a one-time $100 fee starting the December 2019 graduation filing period.

The updated graduation fee and process were addressed by Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Sandra Cook in an email to SDSU’s faculty and staff.

“With increasing costs for commencement and after reviewing the graduation fees for other universities, the decision was made to propose an increase to the graduation fee,” Cook said in the email. “The new one-time fee of $100 was approved through the normal approval process for non-mandatory fees.”

The updated process allows students to change their graduation date after filing their initial application without having to reapply.

Under the current graduation application process, students submit a nonrefundable $55 filing fee. Students who apply to graduate and must change their graduation date are required to repay the $55 filing fee every time they apply.

“The current graduation fee had not increased since 2007,” Cook said. “Due to an increase in overall commencement planning costs, including labor and venue costs, an increase was recommended.”

Director of Presidential and University Events Melissa Henss said the increased fee will allow the university to continue providing the same commencement experience to all SDSU graduates since commencement costs have increased over time.

“The $100 one-time fee covers the costs of the graduation evaluation, diplomas and diploma covers,” Henss said. “It also contributes to the actual costs of the graduation ceremonies.”

Cook said the number of students who do not graduate the first time they apply was one factor considered when updating the process to include a one-time fee.

We did look at the number of students who applied for graduation and either had it canceled by the university or canceled it themselves which would necessitate their reapplying and thus repaying the fee,” Cook said. “In each of the last four graduation cycles (2013 to 2017), there were over 1,000 undergraduate students and 600 to 800 graduate students who fell into those categories.”

California State University, Fullerton and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo were two universities reviewed that showed similar fees to SDSU’s new one-time $100 fee.

“We also found that, in some cases, the cost of commencement was covered by funds separately from a graduation fee,” Cook said. “In one instance, Humboldt’s physical plant does all the commencement set-up but then waives their fees.”

Film senior Taylor Pierce, who is graduating in May 2019, said he does not think having to apply for graduation multiple times is all that common, however this change will not go unappreciated.

“I don’t think anyone plans on applying to graduate more than once,” Pierce said. “But, I think those who do need to apply a second time or even third time, those people would be extremely grateful.”

Pierce also said he believes making students pay each time they apply may make them give more attention to whether they have actually met the graduation requirements prior to submitting their application.

Students can begin applying for December 2019 graduation on Feb. 6.