You shall go to the ball: Roar donates grad gown to hard up student after uni and SU fail

Johnny Tam / Roar News

A STRUGGLING King’s student who couldn’t afford her graduation gown was repeatedly rejected by the College and the students’ union – until Roar came to the rescue.

Self-funded masters’ student Katerina Papadakou couldn’t pay the whopping £50 gown – equivalent to her monthly food budget.

She wrote to her favourite campus watchdog, and in true Cinderella spirit Roar donated the money for a gown, which cost a whopping £50 to hire for the day, and an even dearer £300 to buy.

The Graduation Office suggested she “source a generic black gown and hire just the appropriate hood for the day,” adding she could “bring safety pins on the day of the ceremony” to pin the hood on.

The pricey piece of cloth was exclusively designed by fashion queen Vivienne Westwood.

Great example

Katerina was rejected by both King’s and KCLSU, and was told that no grants currently covered graduation-related spending.

However, King’s said there had been preliminary discussions for a new type of all-encompassing fund that would “extend beyond tuition fees to other costs (books, graduation etc)”.

Katerina told us: “Being able to attend my graduation ceremony not only filled me with joy, but I was also able to share this wonderful moment with my friends, colleagues, teachers and family.

“I will always be grateful to Roar for giving me the chance to attend my graduation ceremony. Roar has set a great example, one that I hope KCL will soon follow.”

A King’s spokesperson said: “King’s is working with KCLSU and Student Advice to identify key financial hardship issues for students and with fundraising to seek funds to cover these.

“While there is currently no specific fund to cover the cost of graduation, the aim is that a future hardship fund would have fewer limitations.”

KCLSU have been approached for comment.

Struggling to make ends meet? Get in touch with us at


Generous benefactor steps in for second student

A SECOND struggling student received identical responses from King’s.

The student, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “My dignity already felt eroded, scrabbling around to find work in an already saturated city.

“£50 for a day, for an outfit that I only get to wear once was an extravagance and expense I could not afford.

“I urge King’s to find a solution so that other people don’t miss out on their chance to celebrate their hard work.”

A generous benefactor stepped in to fund the student’s gown.


Need help? Who helps with what?

Student Advice Service. Gives advice.
King’s bursaries. Has money.
King’s counselling. Supports mental health.
Money Advice Service. Gives off-campus advice.


This article appeared in the February edition of Roar, which can be read here.

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