From the Editor: Tuition plus grad fees? No, thank you

While looking at colleges, we tend to look mainly at the sticker price on each school and decide from there what institutions are financially best for our families. What schools don’t make apparent are the extra fees that are attached to tuition, which can then increase our college spending by thousands.

To apply to graduate at Rider, you follow a simple five-minute completion process and then are asked to pay $85 to submit the form to the school. Why does every student need to pay an extravagant fee in order to commemorate all of the hard work and dedication that has gone into the past four years of our lives?

According to university spokeswoman Kristine Brown, the additional charge will offset the cost of the graduation application processing, academic attire and diploma processing.

When asked how he felt about the additional charge, senior accounting major Joe Gant said, “I already pay almost $200,000 [over four years] to go here and they really want an extra $85?”

Rider’s application fee to get into the university is $50. The fact that we pay less to get into the school than to leave is quite puzzling.

I am sure there are plenty of Rider students that are scrounging up money to pay for monthly groceries and textbooks each semester, never mind this extra charge. This is something that Rider should consider changing in the future.

Brown said that Rider has been discussing the idea of a graduation fee for years now because many other universities charge a fee, plus the cap and gown payment. She said Rider has worked to keep this fee as low as possible. Students must pay it even if they choose not to participate in the ceremony.

The charge was just introduced to this year’s graduating class and has nothing to do with moving the ceremony’s location into Trenton, according to a Rider News article from Feb. 7.

Senior behavioral neuroscience major Melissa Rasimowicz said she would understand a small fee, but $85 is too much. She believes that we pay the high tuition to have the privilege of attending Rider for a great education, and receiving this extra fee is silly and almost exploitative.

Full-time students, who take 12 to 18 credits each semester, pay up to $40,570 annually. There are also per-semester student charges, which include a $145 student activities fee and $225 technology payments. Students who attend Rider pay too much to have graduation fees tagged onto our final bill.

Rider does not have the most expensive graduation fee in New Jersey. Stockton students pay $165 to submit their graduation applications, and forms sent in after the deadline are $225. Kean requires students to pay $100.

According to U.S. News, experts say that colleges can charge an extra $2,000 to $3,000 a year in additional fees, which include commencement.

Meanwhile, students at Seton Hall and Marist simply sign a paper and submit their applications with no fee attached.

In addition to the commencement application fee, student athletes were also asked to pay for their regalia to wear over their graduation attire.

Senior public relations major Montana Morris said, “I don’t understand it. What was our last four years of tuition going toward? As an athlete, there’s a lot of hard work, time and community activities we do,” she said, referring her time on the tennis team.“I feel that the $33 sash that we wear at graduation should be covered by the athletic department to show their pride and support in us having represented Rider Athletics.”

Many soon-to-be alumni are involved in different honor societies and Greek affiliations, which are additional costs to wear the well-deserved cords and regalia at graduation.

A Rider News poll revealed that of 40 voters, 33 said that they are upset about the commencement fee.

Students at Rider pay enough in tuition and room and board, and many will already be swarming in student debt after graduation. The extra charge is unnecessary.

The weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by the opinion editor, Hayley Fahey.

Printed in the 3/7/18 issue. 

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