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How Much Money is Appropriate for a Graduation Gift?

As with many decisions surrounding graduation, there is no universally agreed-upon standard for how much money to gift a graduate. But there are some guidelines to help you make your decision.    

First, decide if it’s necessary to get the graduate a gift at all. You can respond to announcements with a simple card wishing them well. An invitation to a graduation party or ceremony should be met with a gift, but the size and amount depend on your relationship to the graduate.   

Distant relatives or friends usually send around $15 - $20, while close friends and relatives more commonly send around the $20 - $50 mark. Some families and family friends may choose to spend closer to $100 - $500, depending on their finances and the needs of the graduate. 

It is important to take into account what the graduate is planning to do after graduation and whether they truly need money. Graduates who are already financially sound may appreciate a meaningful memento instead so that you can concentrate monetary gifts on the graduates who really need them. If you would rather give an affordable and meaningful gift, you can get the student a graduation stole. This gift will be prominent in photographs and serve as a wonderful way to remember the day.   

Presentation also makes a big difference when giving money. Even a relatively small amount will mean more tucked between the pages of a book or folded into a sincere note. You can get creative and make a money tree or include graduation quotes.           

Money is a popular and appreciated gift for college graduation, but it is also a more sensitive subject than a particular gift. Evaluating all parties’ financial situations, your relationship, and how best to show you genuinely care, will help make a decision on how much money is appropriate.

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