New ring options are still not affordable

Hubert Ning

The UT class ring is more than just a piece of jewelry or even a diploma — it is a reminder. It’s a reminder of cherished memories, unforgettable moments and lasting friendships. It’s a reminder that carries the weight of accomplishment, perseverance, dedication and hard work. 

And it is a reminder that many can not afford.

The University must offer more reasonable prices for their class rings. For years, students have argued for cheaper class rings and longed to be part of its ceremony. Yet, it is clear that this storied tradition precludes those without the financial means to take part in it. 

“To me, the ring is a symbol of accomplishment and a reminder that you are a part of the Longhorn family,” Plan II and finance senior Shoumik Dabir said. “Except what’s holding me back is that it’s too expensive. If it was cheaper, I’d definitely get one.”

In a conversation with Courtney Roehling, vice president of engagement at Texas Exes, it was clear that UT is aware many current students are financially unable to purchase a ring. Texas Exes is the UT alumni association responsible for overseeing class ring operations.

“We understand that not all students can afford a ring when they hit their 75 hours,” Roehling said. “We have many alumni that purchase the ring after they graduate.”

This is not to say that UT hasn’t tried to accommodate more students. 

“With our continued efforts to offer more options to students and alumni, we are now offering (more) additional metal options than we have previously,” Roehling said.

However, while Texas Exes has expanded ring options to include cheaper material, such as sterling silver, it’s simply not enough. Even with the new sterling silver option, the men’s ring is priced at $630 and the women’s ring at $480.

“I’m not sure $630 is worth the value of a silver ring,” Shoumik said.

And he isn’t the only student with this opinion.

“I’d consider purchasing (the silver ring), but just not at that price point,” mechanical engineering senior Vishal Gupta said. 

While the expansion of new material options is a step in the right direction, UT must do better. Not only is the price for the silver ring high, but prices for the traditional gold ring have also increased. Without any justification, the men’s 10 karat gold ring, the cheapest gold option that was previously valued at $1,000, is now priced at $1,115. 

Students simply cannot spare that much money to take part in a tradition. After toiling and building years of life-changing moments, the last thing they want to see is a four-figure dollar amount on something to “help remember it all.”

“We pledge to continue conversations to make purchasing a ring as attainable for students as possible,” Roehling said when asked about how UT might further accommodate those still unable to purchase any type of offered ring.

But a pledge is not enough.

If UT really does want to continue this conversation, then they need to put a price change on the table. If the UT ring really is more than any ordinary ring — if it really is an achievement and a symbol to be proud of — then we shouldn’t see it only on the hands of students from families with a higher economic status. 

This tradition is something that makes UT special. It is something that we are all proud to own and take part of. But it must be accessible to all students.

And it shouldn’t have a ridiculous price tag on it.

Ning is an electrical engineering and history senior from Katy, Texas.