Planning for graduation costs is key

Photo courtesy: FAMU University Bookstore

As the culmination of years of hard work and dedication, the arrival of graduation season heralds a time of both jubilation and contemplation for students nationwide.

However, amidst the jubilant anticipation, many find themselves contending with the weighty financial demands that accompany this milestone.

For Jasmine Butler, a spring 2023 Florida A&M University graduate in broadcast journalism from Jacksonville, the preparations for graduation were a blend of excitement and trepidation.

“I was keenly aware of the financial implications associated with the festivities,” she said.

To navigate this fiscal challenge, Butler took proactive measures, including prudent financial planning and judiciously trimming unnecessary expenditures. Chief among her expenses were the costs of graduation photoshoots and the obligatory cap and gown package.

“Investing in high-quality photos and acquiring the requisite attire were paramount,” she said. Additionally, the expenses associated with relocating post-graduation further underscored the multifaceted nature of graduation costs.

Reflecting on her financial stewardship during her senior year, Butler underscores the significance of leveraging scholarship funds, proactive saving and drawing upon her support network.

Yet, she stresses the universal importance of diligent saving. “Every penny spared should find its way into some form of savings,” she said, highlighting the enduring benefits of good financial management.

Alexia Panier’s journey through her spring 2022 graduation semester was marked by bustling schedules and financial obligations as she pursued her MBA. Despite the challenges, she approached the situation with unwavering faith and determination.

“I trusted that divine providence would see me through,” she said. Nonetheless, the financial realities of graduation weighed heavily as she grappled with expenses ranging from cap and gown fees to sorority chapter dues.

In hindsight, Panier acknowledges the significance of more meticulous budget planning in the months preceding graduation. While she appreciates her senior year experiences, she also understands the need for sound financial management.

“I wish I had crafted a more meticulous budget,” she said, underscoring the imperative of striking a balance between reveling in the moment and exercising financial responsibility.

Miami native Tiffaney Colebrook majored in psychology at FAMU.

“I’m someone who relishes in planning, so naturally, I began preparing for my graduation semester months ahead and commenced saving,” she said.

Tuition fees and the expenses associated with her graduation shoot were undeniably the most substantial financial commitments she had to confront during her senior year.

“I do wish I hadn’t felt compelled to splurge excessively at every outing and had been more willing to opt out of certain expenditures,” she said.

Colebrook highlights the exorbitant costs of lodging in Tallahassee during graduation season as a notable challenge. While many of her family members opted to drive back home after the festivities, she advises booking accommodations well in advance.

“Initiate saving early,” she advises earnestly. “Establish a dedicated savings account and allocate funds with each paycheck to ensure preparedness when the time arrives. Graduation season rushes upon you and being unprepared can quickly become overwhelming.”

Each account underscores the significance of prudent financial planning, proactive saving and judicious expenditures as indispensable strategies for navigating the financial terrain of graduation season.

For Tiffaney Colebrook, meticulous planning was key to navigating the complexities of graduation costs. Months in advance, she laid out her financial strategy, including saving diligently and identifying essential expenses. 

“I had my cap and gown money set aside,” she said, highlighting the foresight that eased her financial burden during senior year.

Despite the allure of indulgence, she advises fellow graduates to exercise restraint and allocate funds wisely. Moreover, she emphasizes the importance of early planning, particularly when it comes to securing accommodations for graduation weekend.