The Price to Graduate


Jackie Collver, Writer

While freshman, sophomores and juniors were suffering through I-Ready exams for an hour and forty minutes on September 9th, seniors were sitting through presentations by Jostens and counselors about graduation and college options. 

Jostens, the company who sells caps and gowns to schools nationwide, gave a presentation to seniors at Helena High. Students were given a big envelope jam-packed with information. There was a gown and cap order form, a ring-size sheet, and a booklet of Jostens clothes and jewelry options, and a form for those options. 

In this booklet, students saw the prices of various senior clothing merchandise (like sweatpants, T-shirts, and sweatshirts), jewelry, and accessories.  

Sweatpants and joggers from Jostens website range from $32.95 to $43.95. T-shirts on their website are anywhere from $21.95 to $26.95, although a package of two is $29.95. A simple beanie with “2022” is $17.50, and sweatshirts are $44.95 to $55.  

These prices are baffling to me.  

Class rings, which can range anywhere from $265 to $540, are something that seniors will wear once or twice and spend hundreds of dollars on – except they aren’t for a fun experience, like a prom dress or tux.  

I’m not huge into senior merchandise – all I really want is a pair of sweatpants and maybe a T-shirt to wear at the senior all-night party this spring. I would have bought them through Jostens, but I am wary that the quality of these items won’t match their high prices. However, for students who want to purchase merchandise through Jostens, there are Bengal packages available. These are definitely a good idea for anyone who wants a lot of merchandise. One package includes two T-shirts, a keyring, a hoodie, a pair of sweatpants, and a tassel for $221. Bought separately, these items cost $257, including the over $50 shipping charge they would rack up. With that $221 spent through this bundle, it saves consumers a whopping $40.75. So, if seniors want a lot of senior merchandise, I think the Bengal mini package is for them. Not only does it save students and parents money, but it also gives students rad merch to show their class pride.  

There are other packages available as well, such as the Bengal package with a cap and gown, 25 custom announcements and photo cards, 60 Bengal return address labels, 50 Bengal seals, 25 thank-you cards, a senior hoodie, keyring, 2 T-shirts, and a tassel for $291, plus the $10.95 shipping charge. Individually, all these things and their respective shipping charges would cost $332.40, including the shipping charges to each item. This Bengal package saves buyers $31.40.  

At minimum, students need to have a cap and gown to walk at graduation. Without these items, students will miss out on one of the most important experiences of their young lives. Together, Jostens sells these items for $42. 

Unsurprisingly, this $42 can cause financial stress for some students.  

Luckly, there’s a solution. Thanks to Jostens and our hard-working counselors, the price to graduate may not be as daunting as it seems. There is financial aid available for students who can’t afford to purchase a cap and gown. These students are encouraged to talk with their counselor, who will then speak with Jostens about getting a reduced price. This is an amazing thing that Jostens does to help students. 

So, parents and students, don’t panic at the price tags. There’s help and packages available, so you won’t have to kiss your bank account goodbye.