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With High Inflation, College Graduates Are Given the Option to Rent Caps and Gowns

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

With inflation so high, many college graduates are dreading one thing about commencement the most: The cost. 

From sashes, to balloons, to invitation cards, students and their families could end up spending hundreds of dollars. 

But, many students are finding relief, by renting their caps and gowns.

Tristin Waggener, who is graduating magna cum laude, was looking for a special honors sash in the Cal State Northridge bookstore. 

“I mean, I don't need to...but why not?” Waggener said. 

Many graduates are already facing staggering student loan debts. With inflation, they could be adding hundreds more with commencement.

“Exactly. But it's a once in a lifetime thing,” Waggener said.

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For the opportunity to celebrate four, or more, years of hard work.

"They've been locked down for two years, and they really just want to be a part of the ceremony," said Amy Berger, director of the CSUN campus store.

CSUN is one of several schools offering a nice break for panicked students tallying up their costs, giving them the option of rented caps and gowns.

A cap and gown for bachelors' students comes out to about $38.

If they choose to buy, that bill would be more than $200 bucks. 

USC, Occidental and Cal State Bakersfield offer the same option, which leaves more for diploma frames, balloons and more.

And it can get pretty pricey. A "bling" tassel is about $13 while an embossed invitation card comes out to about $25. 

Waggener says her job as a restaurant server will help her pay for most of what she wants, her mom and dad are picking up the photos. But her budget, with gas prices so high, will be about a $1,000 dollars. 

Kennedy Retiz, a CSUN senior, says her budget was closer to $300 dollars.

Retiz says she is not going to be buying announcement cards or bling tassels here at the bookstore, even though she works here.

And saving even more by not flying relatives in from Mexico or going to a restaurant afterward.

“We just decided, ‘you know what? let's just bring some food and we'll just make food at home,’” Retiz said. 

She says family is more important than everything else on her special day.

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