There’s a graduation application fee, and students are not happy


Alex Kirkpatrick/The Simpsonian

Simpsonian file photo

by Morgan Frideres, Assistant Copy Editor

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Simpson’s registrar, Jody Ragan, implemented a graduation application fee in August, so students will now have a $100 charge on their accounts after applying to graduate.

Students are required to submit their graduation application one year in advance during their junior year. The fee is implemented for this fall, so students turning in their graduation applications for 2019 will be the first class to pay.

However, students weren’t aware of the fee and don’t understand why it was implemented.

Ragan said the fee will be used to help cover the expenses of evaluating and rewarding the degrees, along with other related expenses for commencement.

Ragan said the college had a graduation application fee before she started working for Simpson but ended it in 2011.

“I think it was probably, at the time, to see if we could get by without having that to offset the costs,” Ragan said. “And having that be the last thing that students have to pay before they leave probably went into that decision as well.”

Ragan looked at areas where the college was spending a significant amount of funds, then at places where they could enhance payments to offset those costs.

“So the dean asked me to look at what the other colleges were doing and most colleges have either a college application fee or a graduation fee to offset the costs,” Ragan said. “So they felt that was a place that we could go back to having that fee.”

She sent information to the dean about the proposed fee, and he took it to the cabinet where they made a decision. The amount of the fee was made by the dean through the budgeting process of the cabinet.

“We did look at the costs associated with commencement and evaluation and rewarding of the degrees and looked at what other schools were charging as well,” Ragan said. “Most schools were charging anywhere between $50 and $150.”

Seniors, such as Kyle Hovey, weren’t even aware of this new fee.

“I’m surprised I haven’t heard about it at all, unless they sent out an email or something that I didn’t see,” Hovey said. “I think that’s a lot to just spring on the students who don’t know about it.”

Ragan said students do not have to pay when they submit their graduation application, but it will be charged to the student’s account after they submit their application.

Students are not happy about the new fee, though, and need more information. Junior Trey Thompson doesn’t see why students should have to pay extra.

“We have not been informed by campus, we have not been informed by anybody,” Thompson said. “I don’t understand why we have to pay extra for something we should be rewarded by for our accomplishments of our four years.”

Junior Tre Loge would rather pay more money for other things at Simpson.

“The only thing I’m paying $100 around here for would be cable,” Loge said.

Hovey also suggested the fee be included in tuition rather than charged to students’ accounts.

“You turn in the graduation application and then we send a list of students that have done that to the business office, and that charge is put on the student’s account so then that charge stays on there until it’s paid,” Ragan said. “Obviously if students are over a certain amount at certain times in the semester, the business office puts holds on their account.”