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Meredith eliminates December graduation, cites cost

Posted April 27, 2009

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— Meredith College plans to eliminate commencement ceremonies for December graduates beginning next year as a cost-cutting measure.

The decision was shared with students on April 17 after a meeting of the college budget committee. A college spokeswoman said students who complete their degrees in December can march in the larger spring commencement.

Meredith axes December graduation Meredith axes December graduation

"If there was any way possible for them to keep it, I think that they should try to keep it and cut other places," student Allie Hargrove said.

Sophomore Katherine Thomas said that graduation is one of the traditions that binds students together at the 118-year-old women's college, which is the largest in the southeast.

"I feel like it makes a lot closer, because you get to experience a lot of things together," Thomas said.

Students who complete the requirements for graduation in August 2009, December 2009 and May 2010 will be eligible to participate in the May 2010 commencement exercises.

"We certainly understand their disappointment, but we did try and let students know as soon as the decision was made so they can make plans," said Kristi Eaves-McLennan, executive director of marketing at Meredith.

Melyssa Allen, news director for the college, estimated that 100 students typically participate in the winter commencement exercises. Discontinuing the event will save about $15,000 a year.

Eaves-McLennan described the decision as one of many "difficult decisions" that have to be made to cut costs by $2 million next year.

Four percent of the college's work force will likely be cut, while tuition and fees will go up 4 percent to $24,440, she said. Major construction projects, such as a new student apartment building, that are already under way and have been budgeted for will continue.

"I think it is definitely going to be harder for some people to continue going here, and I think it is going to affect how many people decide to start coming here," Thomas said.

Enrollment, though, looks strong for next year, Eaves-McLennan said. The college has received more deposits from incoming freshman than at this point last year, she said.

Since the economy is likely pinching students' and their families' budgets as much as the college's, Meredith has increased financial aid by $1.4 million for next year, Eaves-McLennan said.

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  • james27613 Apr 28, 2009

    I believe the ceremony is being cut, not issuing the diploma.

  • rogers922 Apr 28, 2009

    squawk08 I think degrees should still be issued and then if the student wants to walk in May, then let them walk in May.

    I have to agree - when you apply for a job after you complete all your coursework some places not only want your transcripts (which will state that the coursework is completed but degree is not yet awarded) want to see the degree. I know I want my degrees on my office wall as they are a point of pride for me and my family.

    Yea, Meredith should give them their degrees at least in December. At least give them that point of pride and dignity.

  • smartcookie Apr 28, 2009

    I am a Meredith Alum and graduated at the December ceremony. I am saddened to see it go and understand that many students can not come back to walk in the Spring ceremony, thus eliminating all chances of them walking and being a part of a ceremony. Anyone who has been to a spring graduation knows that it is hectic and hard to navigate parking and seating. Some students CHOOSE the fall graduation as a nice alternative to the chaos that is part of the spring ceremony. I understand budget cuts are needed, so how about cutting back on changing the flowers every season - how much would that put back into the budget?

    Of course, we don't know exactly where the rest of the money is being cut from, but it is sad to see that some of the money is coming from an activity that DIRECTLY affects the students.

  • squawk08 Apr 28, 2009

    I think degrees should still be issued and then if the student wants to walk in May, then let them walk in May.

  • texasncgirl Apr 28, 2009

    Not to mention that part-time student tuition has absolutely skyrocketed! A 100% increase. Makes me furious because I am a full time working woman who is trying to put herself back through school and I feel like I, along with many other working women, are penalized because we cannot go full time.

  • princeje Apr 28, 2009

    The $75 graduation fee (which is going up to $100) is used to pay for the diploma, it's certification, graduation gift, and lifetime transcripts. None of the graduation fee actually goes to graduation.

    Many students are furious with this decision, mainly because of the lack of time that seniors had to change plans. Many who planned on graduating in December could have graduated in May, but they didn't want to kill themselves with a heavy schedule. In addition, many students who were not at a budget forum that was held 2 weeks ago still don't know that December graduation has been cut.

  • affirmativediversity Apr 27, 2009

    Every graduating student MUST pay a graduation fee and it can add up to several hundred dollars by the time you get knit-knoid for everything...do the fees not offset the costs or is it a matter of redistribution of profits made of the back of graduating students?

  • Timbo Apr 27, 2009

    Makes sense. The weather is nicer then anyway.

  • wcumom Apr 27, 2009

    Well it sure feels like the end of the world when it's YOUR wallet the money comes out of!

  • HappyGirl08 Apr 27, 2009

    Well, it won't be the end of the world. I completed my degree in December and just went back in May to walk. We didn't have a Dec ceremony either.