SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – This December will mark the final winter commencement ceremonies for Sacramento State students. The university made the announcement Wednesday with six weeks to go before this year’s graduation.
“If they want to walk in a commencement, they can come back in May and walk in that commencement,” said Craig Koscho, a university spokesperson.
The university has hosted winter graduations since the 1970s, but rising costs have forced officials to re-evaluate the tradition. As an alternative, the university will consolidate and host all graduations in May.
“A lot of families are not going to be able to see their children or grandchildren walk,” said Julia Pettner, a third semester Sac State student. “It sucks.”
“It’s just kind of insane that they would come and cancel that and have them wait until spring,” Dawawn Nesbitt.
But Sac State spokesperson Craig Koscho told CBS13 rising costs left the university with no other options.
“We understand it’s an inconvenience but we’re also looking at what it costs them to pay to go through commencement,” Koscho said.
CBS13 took a look at the numbers: In 2016, students paid $63.50 to graduate. That fee increased by $13 dollars to $76.50 this year. And Koscho said keeping the winter ceremony, would have made the 2018 fee rise even higher.
“The commencement fees that each student pays to go through graduation is supposed to pay for the cover of the entire commencement,” he explained.
But last spring, the fees weren’t enough to cover the $152,000 ceremony and the extra costs came straight out of the university’s pocket.
“No matter how many students take part in each commencement, the amount of resources, the amount of staff, the cost for printing everything, remain the same,” Koscho said.
“You’re giving students like this big gap between graduating and spring where they could have graduated and had a job already,” Nesbitt said.
But Koscho told CBS13 the decision to cancel the winter ceremony won’t stop students from actually graduating in December; it’ll just delay their chance to be a part of the pomp and circumstance.