At 15 of California State's 23 campuses, students have to pay a graduation fee, which has been increased to as much as $100 on some campuses, the Oakland Tribune reported.
"There is a fee for everything," said Natalia Aldana, a Cal State East Bay communications major and journalist who graduates in June. "I think it's really unfortunate that they have to charge students for everything they do, including graduation."
"We already have to pay to be here, and we've got to pay to leave," said Donnisha Udookon, a Cal State East Bay student.
Cal State spokesman Mike Uhlenkamp said the fees came out of the state's Master Plan for Higher Education, which states that a "tuition fee" can only be used for instruction costs, so many campuses must find the money elsewhere.
At San Jose State's Department of Health Science and Recreation, attending the graduation ceremony this year will cost students $75. Some students there said they are boycotting the event.
"You've worked so hard," said Rebecca Krueger, who was so incensed she started a blog about it. "It's this time of honor and celebration, and you're hit with this fee just to participate. You feel nickel-and-dimed."