How Much Does Graduation Cost?

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Graduation is the light at the end of the tunnel for most university students. The hard work, stress and exams have finally come through, you have passed your degree, and now you get to graduate! However, graduation can be a stressful time too for students. Many have very little money or are struggling after their long degree, so not knowing how much graduation costs can mean some even choose not to attend. However, in this article we will explain the costs associated with graduating, so you can understand how best to save money, but also how to have the most fun you can at this important time of your university career.

In the UK, the typical cost of graduating is around £200. This includes tickets for you and your guests, gown and cap hire, photographs and food for you and your guests. The cost varies depending on what university you attend, but it is usually quite expensive, especially for struggling students.

While this should have given you a short answer to your question, please read on for the full details of the cost of graduation in the UK.

Do universities charge for graduation tickets?

Unfortunately, for most students, there is a cost associated with graduating. However, one item that is usually free is tickets to graduation. Most students are allowed 2 free tickets which are automatically allocated to them, however, sometimes this cost a small amount of money.

After the 2 automatic tickets, students can usually order guest tickets if they have more people that they would like to invite to their graduation. These are usually allocated once the university knows how many people want extra tickets and how many spares they have.

The price of extras is different depending on which university you attend, but they are often around £15-30. Check out this article from BBC news to find out more prices. If you are concerned about money and the other expenses of graduating but still want extra tickets, don’t worry.

Just wait until other students have bought tickets and see if you can buy spares from them closer to the time. Some students buy more than they need and sell them cheaper closer to the time as they no longer have the same number of guests coming, and often want to get rid of them.

If you do not have any specific guests in mind to come to your graduation, it is recommended that you wait before buying guest tickets. Not only are they cheaper closer to the time if you find someone to come at the last minute, but also if you need to sell them later it can be very stressful.

Also, you are unlikely to be able to sell them for the same amount you bought them, meaning you lose money. Further to this, university graduations are often live-streamed due to COVID and for people who cannot attend for other reasons.

If you cannot secure as many guest tickets as you want, make sure to ask your university for a link to a live stream if they have one, to send to your other guests or family.

How much does university graduation cost in the UK?

An investigation in 2013 found that most graduates spend over £200 on fees associated with graduation. The full details can be found in this article from The Guardian website.

While this again depends on the university, graduating can be very expensive, even if you only get the bare minimum of tickets and hiring a gown. Of course, some students also choose to purchase a hood and robe, or have photographs taken, which can be very expensive.

Please see the next section for individual costs associated with graduation. While it can be expensive, most students do choose to attend graduation as it is a special memory of finishing their studies where they can celebrate all their hard work.

However, if you are struggling with the cost of university graduation, consider asking guests to pay for their own tickets, or other costs such as hotels. While it can be embarrassing, many parents and friends are willing to help students out in order to see them at this special point, even if it can be expensive.

Graduating can definitely be expensive. If you want to have the best graduation you can have, check out this article from Think Student to find out how to get a first class degree.

What costs are associated with graduating university?

We have already discussed the costs of tickets to graduation at a UK university. These tickets usually include the cost of a meal at the university and commemorative programmes for you and your guests. However, this is by no means all the costs associated. 

Typically hiring a gown costs around £40, while some universities may have you buy a gown for about £60. This is expensive but sadly required by most universities, especially those with colleges such as Cambridge and Oxford where you might be required to wear a specific college gown.

A graduation cap (think the kind that gets thrown in the air) usually costs around £10-20, and these are not usually required in the UK.

Another common cost is for a graduation hood. This is usually bought by those who expect to wear an academic gown regularly, or by those who sing in choirs as hoods are sometimes required in the church.

A hood usually costs £30-40; however, they need to be bought directly from the university so costs can vary. Check out this website from Graduating Gowns to get a more of an idea of what they will cost.

Official graduation photographs, hoodies, DVDs and other memorabilia from the university can significantly increase costs. The typical cost for a photo shoot of 2-5 photos is around £150 for graduates, and this only increases if they are official university photos.

Some students spend over £200 on only photos, which is more than the rest of the graduation put together.

Other less obvious expenses include accommodation for the night before or after, travel costs such as plane and train tickets (which are especially expensive for international students), and food for you and your guests.

On top of this, a dress or suit to wear under your gown and hair or makeup appointments to look perfect for the special day can cost even more money.

Do you have to go to graduation at UK universities?

At UK universities, while it is encouraged to go to graduation, it is not compulsory. You can still graduate and get a degree if you do not attend the ceremony at the end.

For many universities there is also the opportunity to attend online via a live stream, however, sometimes universities still require tickets to be bought for this.

If you are looking for ways to reduce the cost of graduation, look at hiring a gown and cap, as well as a dress or suit to wear under it. Check out this article from Think Student to find out how easy it is to hire a graduation gown. 

Outfit hire is becoming more and more common, and you can get a really nice outfit for a lot less money than if you bought it. Also, look at taking your own photographs, which can be a lot less expensive than getting official university ones, and no less professional or high quality if you are a good photographer.

For more information about student finance and reducing the costs of university, check out this helpful Think Student article.

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