The amount of money to spend on a college graduation gift depends on the person's budget and his relationship with the graduate. In 2014, Cleveland.com generally recommended between $20 and $50 for relatives and between $15 and $50 for friends.
After deciding on a budget, it's important to consider whether to give the graduate money or a gift. If the graduate is not having a party, mailing a card with a monetary gift is appropriate. If a party is scheduled or the budget is small, giving a gift is an acceptable choice. According to U.S. News & World Report, putting extra time and thought into a less expensive gift is often more meaningful than a large, costly gift.