UoA to charge guests £13.20 EACH to attend winter graduations
Unprecedented move comes as University has spent upwards of £800,000 on ceremonies since 2021
By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco
Guests attending UoA graduation ceremonies this winter will have to pay for the privilege of watching their loved one graduate.
In a surprise move, the University will no longer provide graduating students with two free guest tickets.
Instead, guests will have to open their wallets- or be barred from the graduation hall.
According to the University's website, a £13.20 ticket will grant guests "access to the main ceremony hall and post ceremony reception where drinks and canapes are served."
All guests over the age of two will have to pay the full amount, with no concessions being offered for children or pensioners.
However, seating remains on a first come, first serve basis.
Access to the larger P & J Live complex will not be restricted, and those who don't wish to pay can stream the ceremonies on their personal device.
The ceremony will not be shown on screens outside the hall, as has been the case in previous years.
All tickets must be purchased via Ticketmaster and is provided as an e-ticket. A special "souvenir ticket" is also available, for an additional £2.95.
A paper copy of the e-ticket, the "souvenir" will be posted to your address one week after the ceremony.
The cost of general admission tickets for a family of four would be £53.80.
We have asked the University if fee waviers will be available for families who might struggle to pay for admission.
A spokesperson said:
“We understand the financial constraints facing people in the current climate and are continuing our 2019 commitment that students are not charged graduation fees.
“The initial move to P&J Live, driven by the lack of capacity on campus, came at a time of substantial change and disruption for our students. Graduates in those years had the end of their student experience severely disrupted by Covid.
“The University has absorbed all of the graduation venue costs to this point, in recognition of this unprecedented context and will continue to make a substantial investment in the ceremonies. Unfortunately, like many others in the sector, we are unable to absorb all of the costs of graduation celebrations on an ongoing basis.
“The large venue means graduates are not limited by capacity and can apply for as many guest tickets as they require with the ceremonies live-streamed free of charge for anyone unable to attend in person.”
The University's approach appears to be unique among major Scottish institutions; as a brief perusal of St Andrews, Edinburgh, and Glasgow Universities websites confirmed.
In addition to the Ancients, RGU also continues to offer graduates two free guest tickets.
A University spokesperson explained the rationale behind the move:
"The University of Aberdeen seeks to offer the best graduation experience to graduating students and their families. Since 2019 the University has not applied any fees for students to graduate and this will continue.
“As the size of our ceremonies have grown, the challenge of delivering an event fitting of the achievements of our students and to offer a space where they can celebrate in style, has also grown. Graduations are currently held at P&J Live.
“From Winter 2023 a ticket cost in line with the sector average will be applied to guest tickets. This will include refreshments, appropriate to the occasion and canapes, providing increased value to guests and graduates. The majority of the cost of the event will still be met by the University and the ceremonies will be live-streamed free of charge for anyone unable to attend in person.”
Since the ceremonies were moved to the popular events venue in 2021, the University has spent an estimated £800,000.
It is unclear if these prices will apply to 2024 summer graduations as well.