Graduation is a Profitable Business

IT’S only a few months to go before graduation season and already there are the plans by you and your family to hold a big blowout to celebrate your commencement party prior to your entry into the harsh, unforgiving world of the labor force.And there are a lot of people out there celebrating with you as you walk down the aisle. No, it’s not your friends and not even your classmates. It’s the many industries and businesses that earn some considerable moolah from graduation expenses.They may not exactly issue cash advances or payday loans but these folks earn some profit ranging from the sale of class rings, graduation caps and gown designs or rentals and others. They build a steady clientele over the years and it’s not a dying industry.According to an Associated Press report by Justin Pope, camp and gown rental fees are charged along with graduation fees that come up to a high US $160 by some schools. This from spending an average $40,000 a year in college expenses for a typical four year course.Multiply that sum with the hundreds of thousands of students and one has a substantial business going on around here with many ancillary enterprises profiting from the years of education poured in by these young folks. For this people, graduation is Christmas time.Pope cites the Jostens company which reported US sales of $425 million last year for the production of class rings, yearbooks and diploma frames. The sum doesn’t factor in earnings generated from graduating high school students, also a lucrative market.Meanwhile the BU bookstore offers a cap and gown package of US $75 complete with regalia and $10 for generic written announcements even in the age of the Internet.Its so-called “master package” which consists of 25 personalized announcements plus a diploma frame costs $265. For those graduating with a doctorate the gown costs a hefty $600.Throw in the class ring priced anywhere at $311 to $545, one yearbook for $70, a river cruise for $5 and buffet dinner at $25 a pop and your forehead is about to get a few more creases along with your pocketbook.Usually it’s the caps and gowns that the college and high school students can’t hope to avoid since this is a general expense. According to the North American Association of Commencement Officers, about half of the colleges rent caps and gowns to students while the other half sells them.Prices for either rental or sale range between US $13 to $65, the association said. Though there are ways to save up on that; couples usually borrow each other’s gowns saved from the previous year and families have also been known to share their graduation gowns and caps–provided they fit.At any rate, there are few parents who would deny their children the chance to spend for a once-in-a lifetime occasion to graduate from school. There are even parents who make some quick online loans just to finance their children’s graduation, while some save up on money for years just for this event.So the guilty feelings set aside, it’s time to at least temporarily forget the money earned by these people off of you and think about spending some for your children and your family who deserved this after everything they worked hard to achieve.

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