Proper/average High School & College Graduate $ Gift

Updated on June 08, 2010
J.R. asks from Abington, MA
8 answers

The season is among us and I have quite a few High School graduation parrties to attend along with a College graduation. My question is what is the average dollar amount gift people are giving nowadays? I also have different scenarios - where I have a nephew graduating from High School, I have a neighbor who I have know since she was born graduating from High School and then just my friend's children in town whose parties we are invited to. And is there a different amount given when you got to a High School graduation vs. a College Graduation? Any input would be appreciated - thank you in advance!

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers


answers from St. Louis on

I think I'd give the same amount of money for either: $25-30 unless you are family and in that case it's $50.

Edit My Answer
2 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Minneapolis on

This is a hard question to answer when each person's income base is so different. $100 for some people is the same as $10 to others (proportionally to their income). My rule of thumb is $50 to relatives and $25 to non-relatives. However, if I consider a long-term neighbor or child of a dear friend to be a "relative" then I do the $50.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I come from a family that is about 50/50 wealthy & working class. NO ONE in our family (to the best of my knowledge) has ever gotten a graduation gift. Starting out money, yes - but even that is in a pay it forward dynamic, but not graduating money.

So, from my experience, I would say ANYTHING is bonus :D :D :D

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I'm pretty much in line with the depends on how close you are with everyone. Non family, I'd go with a $20 gift card to Target or a grocery store close by their home/college. Family would get anywhere from $50-100. I don't think it really matters high school vs college b/c they both sort of need the same things!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I havd this dilemna and my teens suggested itunes gift cards. You can buy them in $10 and $25 amounts at Kmart so that is what we are doing. $25 iTunes gift cards for all graduates this year, college and high school.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I think it's nice to give something more practical than iTunes even though they love the music! For high school, I like to give a gift card to the college bookstore - they can buy their first college t-shirt or key chain lanyard, whatever. Also to places like Target or Bed/Bath/Beyond because they need stuff for their rooms. Of course, at Target they can always get an iTunes card themselves!

College grads are often going into the workforce so will have some income, but they may be setting up an apartment and need stuff for that. They may also have student loan payments to start, so anything that offsets that burden is helpful.

If you have a lot of people to include, don't go crazy breaking the bank. It really is the thought that counts. And of course, the closer you are, the larger the gift.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

$25 for the neighbor (unless you are very close)
$50-$100 for family
When you are just invited to the parties, bring a small gift (stationary, $15 gift card for a place near their college or Target)

** College graduation, $100 is pretty standard.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Hi J.,
I typically give $25-$50 depending on the relationship; casual friends and acquaintances receive $25 and close friends and relatives receive $50. A college grad tends to get the higher end of the spectrum to celebrate the significance of the achievement. However, as a rule of thumb I'd recommend giving whatever amount you can give cheerfully and comfortably.

Next question: Bring a Gift Because It Is Expected?