The university has announced that students who do not attend their graduation ceremony will no longer have to pay the associated fees, in a major victory for outgoing VP Communities Jess Logan.
In a message posted to the Students’ Union website, Logan wrote that students who graduate in absentia next month will be the first to avoid the £50 graduation fees:
“This means that graduation remains available to all students, irrespective of their financial circumstances, and that the cost of the ceremony is now reserved for those wishing to attend the celebration.
“At such a momentous time in their University career, the Students’ Union believes it is wrong that financial pressures prove to be a barrier for students looking to receive their degree.”
The £50 fee will still apply to students who attend the ceremony.
The news comes at the end of a two year campaign to abolish graduation fees, begun by Logan’s predecessor, Lauren Marriott. In a poll carried out during her tenure, almost 95% of students and graduates said that £50 was not a “fair” price for students who cannot attend their graduation ceremony.
In the same poll, over 85% said that it was also not a fair price for those who do attend the ceremony.
Marriott ultimately ended the year disappointed, after the university said that they would be delaying their revision of graduation costs until the next academic year.
The campaign was then continued by Logan, who said she was “working towards” eliminating the costs for all graduates during a Union meeting in February.
Newly re-elected VP Education Matt Adie wrote of his determination to see through Marriott and Logan’s campaign in his election manifesto earlier this year:
“I want to harness the full power of the Union to have the University review the costs associated with graduating. At the minute, you work, stress and toil through a degree – only to be slapped with a £50 fee to celebrate actually earning it.
“I think it’s time for us to begin reviewing what students get for their money and start reducing the costs associated with graduation.”
New VP Communities Jamie Grant told Brig: “This is excellent news, and shows the value of patience and persistence in policymaking.
“Whilst the university may occasionally not tackle issues on the timescale we’d like, previous VP Communities Lauren Marriott and current VP Jess Logan have done a tremendous job keeping fees of the agenda, and bringing about this result.
“It will be up to myself and future Sabbs to build on this success, and ensure graduation remains an honour based on skill and talent, rather than bank balance.”