How Much Money For College Graduation Gift

How Much Money For College Graduation Gift

Celebrating a college graduation is a joyous occasion, marking a significant milestone in a young person’s life.

As loved ones, we often want to express our pride and support with a thoughtful gift. But when it comes to money, navigating the appropriate amount can feel tricky.

This guide aims to provide clarity and help you choose the perfect monetary gift for your graduate.

How Much Money For College Graduation Gift

Over the last two decades, the average cost of attending college has increased by 134%, and many recent graduates are now facing higher tuition fees on top of other factors like inflation. When determining the appropriate graduation gift, take the graduate’s circumstances into account. Do they intend to take out student loans? To what extent will their family assist? Do they face additional financial difficulties? Consider their degree of need when making a gift.

1. The Relationship: Closer relationships, like parents and siblings, naturally call for more generous gifts, potentially supporting future education or career aspirations. Friends and acquaintances might receive smaller contributions, perhaps combined with a personalized item.

2. Your Finances: Be realistic about your budget and avoid overspending. Prioritize other financial obligations and explore creative gift options like group contributions or handmade items.

3. The Graduate’s Needs: Assess their financial situation and tailor the gift accordingly. Consider contributions to future goals like education or professional development.

4. Local Customs: Respect local cultural norms regarding graduation gifts. Researching expectations demonstrates cultural sensitivity.

Suggested Amounts:

  • Distant Relatives or Acquaintances: $15-$20, recognizing the decreasing frequency of communication.
  • Friends and Close Relatives: $20-$50, reflecting the close bond and expectation of a more substantial gift.
  • Parents and Immediate Family: $100-$500
  • Grandparents: $50-$1000
  • Children of friends or colleagues – Giving a gift to the children of a neighbour, coworker, or other acquaintance is a kind gesture. Although you can spend whatever feels right if you don’t know the graduate personally, $30 to $50 is usually appropriate.

Alternatives to Cash:

1. Gift Cards: Provide flexibility and allow the graduate to choose something they need or desire. Popular options include Amazon, Target, department stores, or stores related to their interests. Consider personalizing them with a handwritten note.

2. Experiences: Create lasting memories with tickets to concerts, sporting events, travel adventures, or cultural outings. Choose experiences aligned with their interests for maximum enjoyment. Consider experiences offering learning opportunities like workshops or conferences.

3. Contributions: Donate to a cause they care about, demonstrating support for their values and social change. Contribute to a fund specifically designed for their future educational or professional goals, signifying long-term support.

4. Personalized Gifts: Add a sentimental touch with handcrafted items, framed photos, engraved keepsakes, or artwork with personal significance.

Tips for Giving a Graduation Gift of Money

Give What You Can Afford

You should think about your finances and your ability to give when thinking about making a financial gift. You may have to give less if you have a fixed income. However, if you have extra money to spare, you might decide to donate more.

Think About Special Circumstances

The graduate’s circumstances must also be considered. Did the individual graduate from any of the various levels with honours? A monetary gift that is greater than usual could be given in exchange for this.

Give the Cash Gift at the Appropriate Time

You want to make sure that you correctly give the financial gifts. A graduate should be given more than just a wad of cash while they’re still in their cap and gown. It’s best to put it in a card with a personalized message unless you’re inventive. Furthermore, giving anything during the ceremony itself is discouraged. This is because the graduate could become disoriented in the chaos. If they have an open house, wait to give it to them or send it by mail. If that’s not feasible, wait until you have a private conversation with them before giving them a card.

Future Goals

Consider the graduate’s plans and aspirations. A contribution to their education fund, professional development courses, or travel experiences can be a powerful investment in their dreams. This demonstrates your belief in their potential and willingness to support their journey.

Additional Tips:

  • Focus on thoughtfulness: Even a small gift given with love is meaningful.
  • Present the gift beautifully: Wrap it nicely or include a thoughtful card.
  • Write a heartfelt message: Express your pride and best wishes for their future.
  • Don’t feel pressured to conform: Choose an amount that feels comfortable for you.


Choosing the perfect graduation gift is more than just a financial decision. It’s about acknowledging a significant accomplishment and expressing your heartfelt support for the graduate’s future endeavours. While monetary contributions are a common tradition, remember that the most meaningful gifts are those that reflect your genuine affection and care.

While the amount of money you give is certainly one factor to consider, it shouldn’t be the sole focus. Personalized gifts, experiences, and contributions to a worthy cause can carry even greater weight, demonstrating your understanding of the graduate’s interests and values. A thoughtful note expressing your pride and best wishes adds a personal touch that money simply cannot buy.

In a world driven by material possessions, focusing on genuine connections can create lasting memories and strengthen your bond with the graduate. Spending quality time together, engaging in meaningful conversations, and offering your unwavering support are invaluable gifts that transcend any monetary value.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is an appropriate amount of money for a college graduation gift?

A: The amount can vary based on your relationship with the graduate and your budget. It could range from $50 to $200 or more, depending on factors like your closeness, financial situation, and local customs.

Q: Should the amount of money for a graduation gift vary based on the degree earned?

A: While the type of degree may influence your decision, the gift’s value is more about celebrating the accomplishment rather than the degree itself. Consider the effort and achievement regardless of the degree type.

Q: Are there cultural or regional norms that dictate the amount for a graduation gift?

A: Yes, gift-giving customs can vary by region and culture. Some areas have customary amounts or specific traditions for graduation gifts, so it can be helpful to consider local practices.

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