Berkeley, Calif. (CBS SACRAMENTO) — The University of California Berkeley is charging students for tickets to attend their own commencement ceremony, and if they refuse to pay the $10 ticket price their name will be left off the graduation program.

The university told The Daily Californian that the admission price for students is in addition to tickets for family members, although UC Berkeley graduates may purchase tickets to invite more family members than would be allowed at other free-ticket California commencement ceremonies.

The May 17 general commencement will be held at California Memorial Stadium, and the cost of student tickets is intended to absorb finances for venue rental, parking, snacks and security. The commencement speaker is House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat.

Pelosi’s office told the Washington Times that she is not being compensated for her services.

“[The money is] to absorb the cost of commencement,” Lila Blanco, director of external relations and the Office of Protocol at the university, told The Daily Californian, the school’s official newspaper. “[It is] huge”

According to the school’s official website, all graduates must purchase tickets for themselves and their guests, and the last day for graduates to buy tickets was April 30. Admissions tickets will not be sold at California Memorial Stadium on the day of commencement, and there is a $5 charge for printing tickets at the box office the day of the ceremony.

The smaller departmental commencement ceremonies – such as the English department – charge additional fees to attend the more intimate ceremonies. The English department charges $10 for its own ceremony, while the department of environmental science, policy and management charges $2 for each attendee.

Blanco noted that the commencement fees are not new, and have been in place since 2000.

Chancellor Nicholas Dirks will also be speaking at his first commencement since becoming chancellor at UC Berkeley.

According to the The Daily Californian, Stanford University, UC Davis and St. Mary’s College do not require graduates to pay to attend their commencement ceremonies.

Out-of-state tuition at UC Berkeley is $56,198 in tuition and expenses per year. For in-state students, tuition is $33,320 annually. Room and board is estimated to cost $15,180 each year.


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