EDITORIAL: $150K for four graduation tickets

Rowan University has limited college graduation tickets from eight to four. - Arts & Entertainment Editor / Chelsea Valcourt

Roughly 40 classes, 900 hours and an estimated $147,312 to $152,676 have all led to this very moment. It’s the moment many of us have dreamed of since we were high school seniors, perhaps even younger. It’s the moment when our name is announced and we walk across the stage to receive our diploma and close a fundamental chapter in our lives.

Filled with pride, we’ll look out at the crowd of our four closest friends and family members and think of those who couldn’t be there to share in the joy of such an honorable and important accomplishment.

Four tickets — that’s all we’ve got. Graduates of 2022 each received eight tickets for their graduations, and within the span of a single year that number has been cut in half.

The location is the same, outside the beautiful Bunce Hall on University Green — meaning there is enough space for eight guests per graduating member. From 2022 to 2023, there has only been a 117-student increase in the undergraduate population, not all of whom are participating in graduation ceremonies. The only substantial change from last year to this year is that the university decided to have fewer ceremonies and stack more majors together, making ceremonies longer and increasing the chance the individual graduate is lost in the mix. 

Graduates will still have access to six tickets for the University Commencement ceremony held in Richard Wackar Stadium which includes the entire 2023 graduating class. How is it that Rowan can accommodate six guests each for the entire graduating class, but not even six guests each for much smaller, more personal ceremonies?

Lucky graduating members may be able to get more tickets through a lottery drawing but won’t find out until at most three weeks before their ceremonies. For some people, this may be too late of a notification to get off of work or have family fly in. It may also lead to conflicts within families and friendships as it forces graduates to decide who their first and second options are.

Four tickets are enough to cover both parents and perhaps two grandparents. This means that if you have siblings, you’re out of luck. If you want to bring your parents and your two favorite siblings, their significant others — and yours for that matter — will have to wait on the sidelines. 

Students graduating this year enjoyed only a year and a half of truly normal college experiences. Most have gone into tens of thousands of dollars in debt. With raising costs and inflation, it’s only going to get worse for them.

Rowan, the school U.S. News ranks 198 out of 443 colleges nationally, has the ability to open new degree programs, expand the Chamberlain Student Center in less than two years and build a new Science building, yet they’re unable to provide accommodations for eight guests per graduate for arguably one of the most important moments of their lives.

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