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By Rebecca Tucker

In the coming weeks, Ryerson’s class of 2008 will be forking over plenty of cash for commemorative grad photos, but it’s unclear where their money is going.

The photos, taken by Stephen Lassman Studios Ltd., earn the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) $17,000 profit, according to a budget report released in August.

The RSU are responsible for coordinating photo appointments for Ryerson grads.

According to RSU VP Finance and Services Chris Drew, the union has an agreement with the company where they make a small commission — between 10 to 15 per cent — from every student who gets their photo taken.

“It’s not a very large commission,” Drew said. “We’re certainly not in the business of having a huge markup.”

RSU President Nora Loreto says the deal is a simple one.

“The relationship we have with Lassman is that we give him space to take photos, and he takes them,” Loreto said.

Lassman Studios have been taking grad photos for Ryerson for 20 to 25 years.

They offer similar services to the University of Toronto and York University.

Ryerson students who wish to have their photos taken by Lassman Studios must pay a $20 sitting fee, which Loreto says is a standard, city-wide fee.

The fee covers proofs and a class composite photo, but students must pay extra if they wish to order prints for their friends and family.

A representative for Lassman studios refused to provide dollar amounts for individual prints, and would not comment on how much the studio earns from grad photos.

With some universities in Ontario anticipating up to 3,000 graduating students in 2008, Ryerson could be cashing in even bigger than anticipated on grad photo sentimentality this year.

But some students, like Scott Hibbard, say having photos taken through the RSU doesn’t deliver enough bang for your buck.

“I didn’t buy any,” said Hibbard, who graduated last year. “My parents were more than happy to take their own. I didn’t want to be in one of those class composites, anyway.”

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