Staff Editorial: It’s crunch time

Staff Editorial

City College officials have proposed a plan to switch some 355 work-study students who currently receive biweekly paychecks onto a once-a-month pay calendar. A proposal is in the works that would implant this plan by July 1, the beginning of the next fiscal year.

The Channels strongly opposes this plan and sees it as penalizing the poorest students who live paycheck-to-paycheck. With budget cuts in mind, administrators are trying to cut costs by cutting student services.

City College is facing budgeting crises. All departments were asked to draft a proposal to save the college money. This plan is just an idea. It is with good intentions but the trade off is too great. We understand that the college is desperate for savings, but they should look elsewhere.

Students receiving financial aid have historically depended on biweekly paychecks at City College. Forcing some of them to quit their jobs by changing payroll schedules is a short-term solution.

Reducing paychecks to a once-a-month basis would place unneeded pressure on disadvantaged college students who struggle to budget their money over a one-month period.

With the demands of costly rent checks, bills, and other expenses bearing down on their shoulders, students need every break they can get. Also, City College must continue to extend its helping hand to new students, especially those getting acclimated to an expensive new region.

Yet there are valuable arguments to be made for this plan. Issuing biweekly paychecks requires an estimated 72 hours of overtime a month that is paid to staff members in the payroll department. The equipment is old and rundown and something must be done to increase efficiency.

Colleges are an educational institution not one’s parents. They shouldn’t be held responsible for student’s budgeting woes. Joe Sullivan, vice president of business services, also stated most student employees use their jobs as a source for supplemental income.

The problem with this plan is that it doesn’t put a dollar figure on the issue. The college administration needs to be more forthcoming with the issues of cost and savings concerning payroll schedules, particularly when reducing a long-standing student service.

Claiming that this change will only affect a small number of students is a cop-out. It doesn’t solve the problem of an aging payroll system. It doesn’t overhaul the obsolete equipment in the payroll department. It doesn’t help hire a capable full-time employee. And it most certainly doesn’t make that statement true.

It is true; City College is a place of higher learning, yet it’s also a place of higher standards. In this case, the ends don’t justify the means. Taking away one payment is not a worthy sacrifice. At City College, students are the customers, without students, administrators don’t have jobs.

Administration should examine other options to cut costs. Now is not the time for quick fixes. Until the issue is solved on a larger scale, more small changes will arise. Although overhauling the ancient payroll process would be expensive, it is a long-term solution to an already long overdue problem.