What Is the Average Amount of Money for a Graduation Gift?

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Opinions vary widely, but multiple polls suggest that most people expect to contribute about $100 either in the form of a gift or in cash for a high school graduation. Etiquette dictates that a gift is only necessary if invited to the ceremony or party; otherwise a card is appropriate.

A Retail Me Not poll revealed that some people expect to contribute as much as $163 for a high school graduation and more than $400 for a college graduation. Those numbers somewhat contradict other polls, however, in which people said they expected to contribute $50-$100. The National Retail Federation reported that the average family spent just under $100 for high school graduation gifts in 2012 and figured the distribution of that $100 at about $50 per graduate.