The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Seniors shouldn’t have to pay for graduation

You must pay to graduate. Not only have you, your parents or a scholarship paid for you to attend this glorious institution for four years, totaling more than $120,000 – now a little bit more must be added in order for you to exit with a diploma crediting you with those four years of work. As a graduating senior, I am a bit perplexed at this “graduation/diploma fee.” Why, after paying to apply here and paying to attend classes here, must we pay to walk across a stage and be recognized for our hard work here?

Recently, seniors, you must have received an e-mail explaining how your student account has already been charged this small graduation fee of $40. Admittedly, $40 is a small number in comparison to what you’re used to SMU charging you, but it seems superfluous to force seniors who have taken 120 or more credit hours and spent countless hours reading, writing and studying to reach this culminating point in their lives to pay, yet again, for proof of their fine SMU education.

There are many things we do not have to pay for here: admission to athletic events, to Meadows museum or to the Dedman Center. We do pay our ever-increasing tuition, which seems like one big admissions fee altogether. I fully understand that an institution such as ours requires large sums of money to pay faculty and staff and to operate, but, having just looked at SMU’s Web site, it costs $41,705 to attend SMU for one year (this includes room and board, but without these tuition is still over $30,000).

We have paid for our time here; we shouldn’t have to pay to leave honorably. I would think the university could afford printing some diplomas and letting us walk across a stage.

Class of 2007, it may be too late for us. They have already hit our accounts for the money. To quote the recent e-mail, “This e-mail serves as official notice of the graduation fee now in effect that has now been assessed to your SMU account. Please be aware that this fee must be paid before May 16th to ensure that your account is clear in time for you to receive your diploma at the Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 19th.”

It also includes a warning: “Graduation fees not paid by that time will result in a hold being placed on the diploma and transcript.” But it does not include an explanation as to why they are charging us, yet again, more seemingly unnecessary fees. They could at least offer us some reasoning for where our dollars are going in all of this.

I have to ask you, SMU administration (or whoever thought of these extra costs), do you not charge us enough money as it is? And where does all of our money go anyway? And why does it not go to the academic departments greatly in need of better funding? I suppose that is another article for another day…

It devalues the hours spent in a classroom, the hours spent outside the classroom, and the tuition dollars spent to earn that SMU diploma to make us pay yet another fee. If I didn’t want to graduate so badly, I would just protest the fee altogether and never pay.

Unfortunately, I do want to graduate because I have a job waiting for me, so SMU has me trapped. But I will not go quietly. So while it is too late for us, the graduating seniors of 2007, it is not too late for future classes. Do not allow them to force you to pay for something you have already earned the right to do.

Do not allow them to make you pay for your graduation.

About the writer:

Lauren Cook is a senior history major. She can be reached at [email protected].

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