Graduates celebrate after receiving their degree. Photo by Anel Alijagic

University is expensive, but something that flies under the radar is the cost of the final hurdle many students face when entering the world of work. That is, Graduation Day. You might not know this, but graduation costs a lot of money.

The final “financial barrier for the poorer students,” is what the CEO of the Sutton Trust (Charity) described it as, but it hasn’t caused as large a storm as one would think. Through Falmouth University, the standard rate for gowns to rent is £45. Now that’s a lot just to stand up, walk over and collect your degree, right?

The costs don’t stop there; Tickets for one person are priced at £15 and only two guests are allowed to watch you collect your award.

This means that if you wanted your parents and a sibling there to watch you pick up your honours, you’d have to sacrifice one or more of your family members.

If they wanted to experience the event through the lens of a camera, they would have to pay £30 and upwards for photographs and an additional £20 for the video.

This means students would be forking out over £100 on graduation day, a fee most students would struggle to pay on top of the university fees, accommodation rent and basic needs like food and water.

Although it seems that at Falmouth there is an expensive ceremony, the university here is not the most expensive graduation ceremony going, UCL have costs of £180 and upwards for theirs, and Kent charges its graduates £40 to be at their own graduation.

There is however, a small silver lining for our students to an otherwise high-cost final “barrier.”

If students decide not to rent out their graduation gowns, they are alternatively available online through websites like and (£24-£40) which sell different colours and designs with them claiming, “why rent when you can buy cheaper?”

On top of all this, the ceremony is  recorded by a filmmaker, who prices the film and sells the moment each graduate walks on stage for a costly £20-£40 extra on top of what you pay for tickets, gowns and photographs.

This is extortionate to say the least, after all the hard work and effort students put in to get their awards, some cant even attend the moment they have strived hard to achieve in their academic lives because of the extortionate prices that are inflicted upon them.

That’s not to mention the students that travel across the country and have to spend additional money on hotels and overnight stays.

Some universities like Newcastle have in recent years adopted a new strategy of sponsoring and alleviating costs for students from poorer and debt struck backgrounds and we can only hope this catches on for all the other institutions that continue to charge £100+ for graduation.