BY ERIN HALBEISEN
Photo courtesy of COD. Graduating class of 2018.
College of the Desert is providing ceremonial caps and gowns free of charge to all COD graduates this year.
This is the first time in the history of COD that graduating students will receive free graduation attire. Graduating students can benefit from an estimated $70 in savings.
Dr. Oscar Espinoza-Parra, the Dean of Enrollment Services, is taking the lead on this new program to save graduates money. Parra said, “This is an effort to reduce the cost for our students, especially for those who face financial barriers, and to encourage them to participate in the celebration that they’ve worked so hard for.”
The contribution is provided by Student Services and the College of the Desert Foundation. The COD Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing financial support for COD students.
Students are very pleased about the new offer. COD student Donna Negron, who is planning to graduate this fall said, “That is great! We have all worked so hard to get to this point, and it is an honor to wear that cap and gown. Some students spend enough money at the school as it is, so it’s great to have this accomplishment appreciated and paid for by the school.”
COD student Monica Chimitt, who is also graduating this fall said, “What a blessing. We’ve made it this far having the school help pay for books and tuition and to have one more gift from the school is amazing.”
COD students Stephanie Lavariega and Darlene Ramirez are both planning to graduate fall 2020. Lavariega expressed some concern about the new program. She said, “I hope the school will continue to provide free grad attire so that I can benefit from it too when I graduate.”
Ramirez, who is a plEDGE and EDGE student, said, “My entire education has been paid for by COD so far and it would be awesome if the school would help me pay for the final part of it.”
The commencement ceremony will take place on May 24. Students must attend Grad Fest in April to receive their free cap and gown. Parra also gave a hint that a contest will be held for graduates closer to graduation time. More information regarding commencement, the Grad Fest event and the contest will be announced here later in the semester.
Important note for graduates: Do not forget to submit a degree application for commencement through the Student Self-Service Portal by Feb. 15. Also, you must commit to participating in the commencement ceremony at the COD Bookstore by May 10.