Georgia Tech discontinues summer commencement

Georgia Tech students, who expected to graduate next summer, won't be able to participate in a commencement ceremony until the fall because the college is cutting back to save money.

The college announced last week it will hold two commencement ceremonies, fall and spring, instead of three "to be fiscally responsible in all phases of its operations." The change will save between $35,000 to $70,000, spokesman Matt Nagel said.

Students will still be able to complete their degrees during the summer and they will receive diplomas six to eight weeks after the semester ends. But if these new graduates want to participate in an official Georgia Tech ceremony, they'll have to return to the Atlanta campus months later.

Some students have questioned why they can't participate in the spring ceremony instead.

"Students are able to walk when they have completed their degree requirements," Nagel said in a statement. "Georgia Tech wants to ensure that every student's experience for commencement meets the Institute's expectations for excellence."

About 450 students participate in summer commencement, compared to about 1,500 for fall and 2,300 for spring, Nagel said.

Tech had been reviewing graduation ceremony practices since 2009, Nagel said. Considering the number of students who graduate in the summer and the fact that it costs about as much as those held in the fall and spring, it made sense to eliminate the smaller event, officials said in a posting on the college's website.

Emory and Georgia State universities do not have summer ceremonies, while University of Georgia and Kennesaw State University still do.

Georgia State had proposed eliminating its fall commencement and offering only one in spring to save money because of scheduling concerns with the Georgia Dome. Officials there reversed the decision after students protested.