Higher wage may not mean more money

Who wouldn’t like a wage increase? A federally mandated minimum-wage increase seems like a great thing for student employees, but, for some students, the increase may not result in more money. Instead it will raise expenses for some university departments that are already expecting cuts.

The minimum-wage will increase from $5.85 to $6.55 per hour beginning in July. Any student employee making lower than that will be automatically given a raise to meet the federal standard.

For students with a Federal Work Study, the increase may not actually result in more money.

Because students with FWS can only receive up to a certain amount of money based on their economic status, a minimum-wage increase may just mean that those students will be working fewer hours to obtain that money.

While the increase could have a positive impact on the budgets of student employees, it could also have negative impact on the university’s budget.

Institutionally based work-study employees may also be asked to work fewer hours because of budget limitations.

Certain departments may need to compensate for the lost work time by delving into institutional funds to pay student employees, according to Penny Asalon, associate director of Student Financial Assistance.

However, she emphasized that most departments already pay their student employees more than minimum wage.

As of two years ago, Asalon reported, students on average were making $6.25 per hour, and she expects the figures are higher this year. Therefore, she does not feel that it will have a significant impact on the University budget.

“Until the budget is set, anything is up for debate,” Asalon said. “Hopefully, [student wages] are the last thing to be cut because in most departments they are needed.”