Celebrating four years of hard work should not come with an inaccessible price tag. For too many Georgetown University seniors, however, the Senior Ball has created a frustrating and unnecessary financial obstacle without providing low-income families with time to prepare.

Tickets to the Senior Ball, which the student-led Senior Class Committee has advertised as an opportunity to celebrate the Class of 2018, cost $100 per attendee. Students often bring their extended families, meaning the total cost per student can reach $1,000.

While the SCC provided some discounted students with demonstrated need, the process of proving need was difficult to navigate and humiliating for students disclosing financial insecurity to their classmates.

Future SCCs should create a form to ease the process of requesting financial help purchasing Senior Ball tickets, in addition to fundraising more and spending less on senior week in exchange for the ability to offer discounted tickets to all who need them.

The Senior’s Ball’s unaffordability is apparent to those in charge. Nada Eldaief (SFS ’18), Senior Ball chair, told The Hoya she understands the cost is high.

Eldaief also emphasized the efforts the SCC has taken to make the event accessible to all students. Approximately 25 percent of the class — those with the most financial need, as determined by the financial need office — receive one free ticket and one ticket at half-price.

Even this generosity leaves a broad swath of students without discounted tickets or a means to accommodate for the high price. Thirty-seven percent of Georgetown students receive need-based financial aid, according to US News & World Report.

In addition to international students — who frequently receive less financial aid from Georgetown and are less likely to be qualified to receive the existing free and discounted tickets — the SCC must provide options for students outside of the allotted 25 percent of students who receive free or discounted tickets, in addition to the students who need discounted tickets to accommodate other family members.

Next year’s SCC can address the issues of its predecessors by better supporting students in need throughout the process of planning, buying tickets for and enjoying senior events.

Future SCCs must communicate the cost of the Senior Ball more clearly. According to Eldaief, seniors were first made aware of the $100 cost in March, giving students little time to plan how to afford tickets for themselves and their families. If the SCC does not have an exact cost to tell seniors at the beginning of the year, it should provide an estimate to help enable families to plan ahead if need be.

The current system, in which students who do not qualify for the discounted tickets — yet still experience financial need — lacks anonymity.

Students must reach out to their peers in the SCC or to the Division of Student Affairs. Then, they are placed on a waitlist and receive whatever free or discounted tickets are made available by discount-receiving students who choose not to attend the event.

This process alienates students in need who wish to avoid the embarrassment of bringing their need to their peers or administrators. Next year, the SCC should build the waitlist through a form emailed to all seniors.

In the spirit of inclusion, the SCC should also prioritize Senior Ball affordability by cutting other costs throughout the year. Other Senior events, such as Homecoming events or watch parties, can be cut or slimmed to make room for all who desire to attend the Senior Ball.

To maintain the preferences of the senior class, next year’s SCC should poll seniors in September to find events that can send their funds toward more discounted tickets at the end of the year.

The Senior Ball should be experienced by all graduating seniors as a last hurrah of their time at Georgetown before leaving the Hilltop. However, high ticket prices and an ineffective process throughout the year have made the event unnecessarily exclusive.

Future SCCs must offer more discounted tickets and communicate better with their classmates to ensure more students are included in important festivities.

The Hoya’s editorial board is composed of six students and is chaired by the Opinion Editor. Editorials reflect only the beliefs of a majority of the board and are not representative of The Hoya or any individual member of the board.

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