How Much To Give For College Graduation

How Much To Give For College Graduation

Congratulations! Your loved one is about to embark on a new journey after years of hard work and dedication. As you celebrate this milestone, you may find yourself wondering, “How much should I give for a college graduation gift?” This is a common dilemma, and the answer isn’t one-size-fits-all. Let’s navigate through this decision-making process together.

How Much to Give for College Graduation?

While there is no set amount for college graduates to receive as gifts, most give away between $100 and $500. Giving more is acceptable because these graduates will be beginning new careers, possibly moving, and repaying student loans. Once more, how much you contribute is determined by how well you know the student. Etiquette experts advise adding $100 if the recent college graduate is receiving a Master’s or PhD.

Understanding The Significance Of College Graduation Gifts

Graduating from college is a noteworthy achievement that signals the conclusion of an extensive educational journey and the start of a new phase in the graduate’s life. Graduation presents are given to graduates as a sign of appreciation, support, and encouragement as they move on to the next stage of their lives. Although there are many different ways to give something, giving money gives the recipient the freedom to spend the money however they see fit.

Factors to Consider When Deciding the Gift Amount

Financial Capability: Your college graduation present budget should be the basis for how much you give. It’s critical to think about your spending plan and figure out how much you can contribute comfortably. Even though it might be tempting to contrast your gift amount with that of others, keep in mind that everyone has a unique financial situation.

Relationship With The Graduate: The amount of the gift is largely dependent on the nature of your relationship with the graduate. Compared to friends or acquaintances, immediate family or close relatives might choose to offer a larger gift. When choosing the gift amount, take into account the importance of your relationship and the degree of emotional connection.

Future Plans And Goals: Take into account the graduate’s plans and goals when deciding the gift amount. If they are planning to pursue further education or have specific financial obligations, a more substantial gift could provide valuable support. Conversely, if they have secured a well-paying job or have expressed a desire to support themselves financially, a smaller gift amount might be appropriate.

Regional/Cultural norms: When it comes to giving gifts, different places and cultures might have their own customs and expectations. Take into account the traditions of your particular community or cultural background; these can provide some insight into the right amount to give.

Cost of living: Consider the cost of living in the graduate’s planned residence or place of further education. A larger gift might be appreciated to help with their transition if they are going to a costly city or have big financial obligations coming up.

Practicality: Take into account how useful the gift is. Recent graduates frequently have expenses like paying back student loans, paying for a job search, or moving into their first apartment. A gift of money can give them the freedom to distribute the money where they most need it.

Creative Ways To Gift Money For Graduation

Let’s talk about how to give a college graduation gift now that you know how much money to give.

Of course, the envelope with a check or cash is perfectly good. But what if you want to use it in a slightly more imaginative way?

Here are a few of the most inventive ways to give money as a graduation present for college:

Make a Dollar Bill Lei: The dollar bill lei is a classic sign of love and good luck for your college graduate’s future. They’ll love wearing their lei at graduation—and they’ll love spending the money after graduation, too.

Stuff It Into A Piggy Bank: Rather than shoving cash or a check into a graduation card, give your college graduate a piggy bank full of money. They’ll know right away that the present is money, but they’ll appreciate the piggy bank twist.

Money Pull-Out Box: What’s better than receiving money for college graduation? Receiving “unlimited” money for graduation. The money pull-out box tactfully hides how much money you’re willing to give the college graduate while allowing them to use a gift that keeps on giving long after they walk the stage.

DIY Money Cake: Fans of DIY projects will appreciate the delivery of cash on this gift. You can make your money cake with as many layers as you want—presentation is key. To make a money cake, just roll up your dollar bills into cylinder shapes. Then secure them around the layers of a foam cake dummy set.

Cake Money Pull Box: Can’t decide between a money cake and a money pull-out box? You can give your favorite college graduate the best of both worlds with the money pull box inside of a cake! Just bake a cake and cut out part of the bottom. Then place the money pull box in the opening you created.

Pizza “Dough” Box: A college graduate loves a pun as much as the next person, especially when there’s money involved. The pizza “dough” box is a clever concept that allows you to give your loved one cash in a creative, funny way.

Other Gift Ideas for a College Graduate

While there are no strict rules for gift-giving, here are a few ideas that are commonly appreciated:

Cash or Gift Cards: Monetary gifts are versatile and allow the graduate to use the funds as they see fit, whether it’s for future expenses or a special treat.

Books: Consider gifting a book related to the graduate’s field of study, a motivational or inspirational book, or a book that aligns with their interests.

Practical Items: Useful items for their next phase of life, such as a laptop, professional attire, a briefcase, or a practical gadget, can be thoughtful gifts.

Experiences: Treat the graduate to a memorable experience, such as a weekend getaway, tickets to a concert or sporting event, or a spa day, allowing them to relax and celebrate their accomplishment.

Personalized Gifts: Consider customized items like engraved pens, jewelry, or a personalized photo album to commemorate their college journey.

Subscriptions or Memberships: A subscription to a useful service like a professional magazine, online learning platform, or gym membership can be both practical and thoughtful.



Giving a graduate money as a graduation present is a useful and adaptable way to recognize their accomplishments and assist them as they start their post-graduation journey. It’s crucial to weigh your financial situation, your relationship with the graduate, local and cultural customs, personalization, and the graduate’s future aspirations and plans when deciding how much money to offer.

You can choose a gift amount that is both meaningful and appropriate, showing your support and best wishes, by adding these factors together.
Whatever you choose to give them as a college graduation present, it will make a significant difference in their life. Your encouragement and support will be treasured and remembered as they set out on new adventures and follow their dreams.


1. Should I give more money if the graduate is continuing their education?

Considering the additional expenses associated with further education, giving a more substantial gift could be a thoughtful gesture to support the graduate’s educational pursuits.

2. Should I consult the graduate’s parents or close relatives before deciding on the gift amount?

While it’s not necessary, consulting with the graduate’s parents or close relatives can provide valuable insights and ensure your gift aligns with their expectations.

3. Should the relationship with the graduate influence the gift amount?

Yes, the nature of your relationship plays a role. Close family and friends might consider a higher budget, while acquaintances or distant relatives can opt for more modest gifts.

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