By Joshua Vissers and Clayton Cummins
In the face of a projected budget deficit of $3.2 million for the 2014-2015 school year, administrators at Grand Rapids Community College are moving forward with several actions to mitigate the effects, the latest being a $1 increase for student parking in GRCC’s ramps.
“I know that they’re going to be upset,” said GRCC President Steven Ender, adding that he hopes the early notice will give students a chance to budget for the change or take advantage of other transportation options.
The parking increase will bump the price up from $2.50 to $3.50 per day for students parking in GRCC ramps. Students are taking the change in stride.
“It doesn’t really effect me,” said Kyle Snowdin, a freshman who is at GRCC five days a week. He uses financial aid money transferred to his Raider Card to pay for parking.
Jeffrey Gilman, who has attended GRCC part time since 2008, recommends students take the bus.
“Buy a bus pass at the Student Center,” he said. “It’s $9 for a ten ride (pass), that’s $1.80 a day, you’re already 70 cents ahead of the parking ramp here.”
Chad Hamilton, another first-year student, rides his motorcycle to school when the weather permits.
“I take the bus in the winter,” Hamilton said. “It wouldn’t really bother me.”
Abbey Leonard, a second year student and tutor at GRCC is concerned because of the student employees that park in the ramp to get to work.
“We are talking with the transit authority about some type of discounted bus pass that the student would use for the semester,” Ender said.
He also mentioned the possibility of further incentives to use the already established DASH lots and the new Silver Line, which is scheduled to open on the first day of fall classes.
The deficit comes after two years of falling enrollment at GRCC, which has decreased by around 3,000 students over the last two years, mostly due to the improving economy, according to Ender.
The parking increase announcement follows Monday’s vote by the GRCC Board of Trustees to increase tuition by 2.9 percent, another measure to offset the cost of dropping enrollment.
The administration is planning to cut “controllable expenses” like travel, supplies and support programs by $250,000 in another effort to keep the deficit under control, and will borrow $1 million from the capital renovation fund.
“We feel comfortable pulling that million dollars out of deferred maintenance, but we’re going to put it back in ‘15-’16,” Ender said.
For an in depth look at the 2014- 2015 budget, you can watch this video put together by Ender and GRCCtv.