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Graduation Attire: How Penn State Stacks Up Against Other Big Ten Schools

It’s that time of the year again, seniors. With less than half of the spring semester left, graduation is right around the corner. As hard as it might be to accept, it’s time to start finalizing those last minute preparations, like securing your cap and gown.

After pouring thousands of dollars into your education, securing your cap and gown for commencement is just Penn State’s final way of thanking you for all your money. For Penn State seniors, cap and gown prices are not great, but compared to the price you’ve spent on textbooks over the years, they’re not that bad, either.

For the full undergraduate regalia (including a cap, gown, and tassel), the Student Book Store downtown offers soon-to-be graduates the whole kit and kaboodle for only $39.99.

While paying $40 for an outfit that you’ll truly only wear once might seem silly, it’s part of the tradition and not terrible compared to other schools in the Big Ten.

To make you feel a little better, we decided to compile a list of some of the other Big Ten schools undergraduate regalia prices and see where Penn State’s stack up. Graduation is bad, but maybe realizing you’re paying way less for your attire will cheer you up a tiny bit.

Michigan State

The next-cheapest graduation bundle option comes from Michigan State. While undergraduate regalia comes in at $48, it’s still $8 more expensive than what Penn Staters have to pay for their get-up.


The University of Michigan’s prices are only $.98 more expensive than that of Michigan State’s, but they’re still $.98 more expensive. Michigan graduates pay $48.98 for their commencement attire. The price ain’t bad, but it ain’t Penn State’s, is it?

The Ohio State University

As perhaps the most difficult statistic to obtain (read: I had to call their student bookstore to find out the price), it makes sense that Ohio State should present the only unnecessary struggle in my research. All in all, while not outrageously expensive, Ohio State graduates pay $53.98 (plus tax) for their graduation package, and they can’t even order them online. That just seems old-fashioned.


Indiana University’s cap and gown prices might be nearly $20 more expensive than our own, but compared to the rest of the Big Ten schools we’ve covered so far, they’re also not terrible. Seniors pay $58.30 for their graduation package, which makes their prices only slightly more expensive than that of their neighbors in Ohio.


As the notorious “little brother” school in the Big Ten — you know, the one we all love to hate — it only makes sense that they should have the second-highest cap and gown get-up on the list. For all of the needed accessories to graduate, Rutgers seniors pay a whopping $86.98 for their commencement regalia.


Easily the most expensive undergraduate regalia package comes from the University of Maryland. Maryland graduates must pay $140 to secure their commencement attire, but perhaps it should be noted that their graduation package does include a bit more. Not only are seniors handed their cap, gown, and tassel when they purchase this package, but they also get their college’s departmental hood (if applicable) and a stole of gratitude.

All in all, while graduation is bad, Penn State’s prices actually aren’t. Moreover, they serve as yet another reminder that we all made the right choice in deciding to come to Penn State.

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About the Author

Emma Dieter

Emma is a senior from the ever-popular "right-outside" Philly area studying labor employment relations and PR. She's also the Student Life editor for Onward State. She has been a Penn Stater from cradle and will continue to bleed blue and white, 'til grave. She loves trashy romance novels, watching Netflix, and crying over cute videos of dogs. If you ever want to talk more with her about how great she is, or simply have other inquiries, feel free to email her at [email protected]


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