Originally created 05/23/00

The high cost of graduation



The goodies that go along with graduation can be costly for teens and their parents.

In addition to such standards as announcements, cap, gown and tassel, teens purchase other items as reminders of the milestone. Popular items include commemorative T-shirts, flannel boxer shorts, memory books, and, of course, an extra tassel to hang on a rear-view mirror.

Alfie Williams, 18, a senior at Davidson Fine Arts High School, spent about $250 on graduation supplies. She purchased a package deal in addition to cap, gown, tassel and diploma. The package included invitations, name cards, thank-you notes, return-address labels, envelope seals, photo covers and album, senior book, coffee mug, key ring, T-shirt and souvenir tassel. The package price was $159.80.

"I don't think it was worth as much as I paid for it," she said.

However, Alfie said practical items such as return labels and seals for envelopes and name cards do save time.

Not all students spend as much as Alfie, said Ron Snugg, area representative and supplier for Jostens School Products. The average senior spends between $115 and $130 on graduation goods, he said.

Announcements are about 60 cents each, but prices vary from school to school, according to custom-made designs, Mr. Snugg said. Students order as few or as many as they want, although most order 40 to 50 and spend about $30.

Seniors need only a cap and gown to participate in commencement exercises, but many schools offer accessories such as a collar monogrammed with school initials, which can add to the cost. The basic cap and gown costs $20 to $30. A collar is an additional $11.

Some school districts, such as Richmond County, include the price of diploma - $6 to $10 - with cap and gown packets.

Many students save money by wearing hand-me-down gowns from older siblings who attended the same school.

But teens agreed that money spent on graduation supplies is worth it - especially when graduation gifts start arriving in the mail.

Reach Margaret Weston at (706) 823-3340 or mweston@augustachronicle.com.