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How Much! Rules for College Graduation Monetary Gifts

written by: •edited by: Wendy Finn•updated: 12/7/2011

Should you give money to a family member or friend who has just graduated from college? Are there rules for monetary gift etiquette for college graduation? Often, it depends on how you found out about the grad and who the grad is. This article takes a look at giving money to recent graduates.

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    The Graduate and the Degree

    Often determining the appropriate monetary gift for a college grad depends upon who the graduate is as well as their achieved degree. First off, if the graduate is a close family member such as a niece or nephew, child, or grandchild, a monetary gift is definitely the correct etiquette. If a friend or co-workers mails or hands you a graduation announcement for their child, unless you are invited and plan to go to either to the graduation ceremony, party, or both, you aren’t obligated to send the grad money. On the other hand, no matter who the graduate is, if you plan on attending the graduation ceremony or party afterwards, you should consider gifting to the grad.

    The degree the grad achieves is also important. If they’ve completed their undergraduate degree and you attend a ceremony or party, a gift is a must. If the grad goes on to a higher degree and you are again invited, skip the monetary gift and just send a congrats card.

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    How Much Should You Give?

    Gift House Wikimedia Commons The question of how much you should give to a college graduate as a gift is also important. If it’s a relative and you are an important part of their lives, a college degree was a huge effort on their part, so consider giving between $25 and $50 dollars.

    If the graduate is the child of a friend or co-worker, again it may depend upon how close you are with that friend or co-worker. Even so, the children of friends or co-workers aren’t family so consider a monetary gift of $25 dollars or below.

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    Does It Have to Be Money?

    It’s becoming more common these days for even grads to create wish lists at certain department and big box chain stores to let ceremony and partygoers know what the grad needs to begin a career. This can be especially important if the grad has accepted a job that means relocating.

    Even if the graduate doesn’t create a wish list, you can always ask the parent(s) of the grad to find out what they need or desire. The amount you spend on a gift should be determined on how well you know the graduate and if you plan on attending the ceremony or party.

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    Summing Up Grad Gift Etiquette

    Just because there is monetary gift etiquette for college graduation and the grads that achieve success, it doesn’t mean it’s always followed to the letter. Only give what you can afford; if the standard $25 is too high for your budget, consider a lower amount. Every dollar will be appreciated by the graduate and will be put to good use. Of course you could also consider other gifts that a graduate might find useful, such as a gift card or vouchers for a favorite store, or even something more useful like a nice pen or a practical gift.

    Image Credits

    • Gift House: Wikimedia Commons
    • Thank You: Wikimedia Commons

Gifts for College Graduation

Deciding on gifts for college graduation? Our expert advice will provide you information for monetary etiquette, funny college gifts, the average price you should spend for college gifts and much more.
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