by Genny Boots, News Writer

College is about the experience. At Pacific Lutheran University, that experience ends with a walk across the Tacoma Dome stage, a diploma and a $100 dollar fee.

To graduate, PLU seniors have to pay a mandatory commencement fee of $100 with the graduation application.
After spending four years paying for tuition, books and course fees, this last charge to the student account is often met with complaints and annoyance.

“I think it’s kind of ridiculous,” senior Ashley Marcy said. “We just put so much money into our school. Graduation should be exciting rather than ‘pay more money.’”

Commencement is the official graduation ceremony for PLU.

This year, the event will be at the Tacoma Dome on May 23 with King Harald of Norway as the commencement speaker. After the ceremony, a reception will be held at the Gonyea Residence with President Krise and Baccalaureate.

The annual grumbling has not fallen on deaf ears. The Board of Regents and Budget Advisory Council have begun the process of detailing the budget for the upcoming years. All university fees, including the commencement fee, are being reexamined.

The specific $100 fee goes toward the various event costs of commencement.

“It provides some of the funding for things like printing the diplomas, having the diploma cover holders. It also provides things like paying for the Tacoma Dome, paying for those events, paying for the parking lots,” Senior Advisor to the President, Kris Plaehn said. “It goes to pay for those specific components of commencement.”

And those components add up. “It is not a small fee. We would be the first to admit that,” Plaehn said.

“I think they are really looking at what are we charging for, are we charging the right amount, how do we compare to our competitors and so on,” Plaehn said.

When applying for graduation, students are prompted to accept or decline the fee, and by declining, the entire application will be denied.

Students graduating in September or that are not participating in the ceremonies are still required to pay.

“If I had a choice there shouldn’t be one, or they should be more transparent about what that is supposed to pay for,” senior Hailey Olafson said. “They are not transparent at all about where that money goes.”

The commencement fee is being revised for its accuracy, but the intent is to make sure that students are getting a graduation experience that is as good as it can be, said Plaehn.

To find more information about graduation, go to
For more information about money allocation at PLU, check it out here. ◼︎

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