Minimum wage increase will affect more than 2,000 students

Maura Zurick

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Ami Hollis, associate director of Career Services, said about 2,000 students have on campus jobs and make minimum wage.

“About 90 percent of that 2,000 work for Dining Services,” Hollis said. “The other 10 percent work for departments, labs, professors or Recreational Services.”

The raise in minimum wage is 30 cents for non-tipped earnings. It will increase from $7.40 t0 $7.70 Jan. 1, 2012. The national wage will remain at $7.25.

Kara Daugherty, junior applied communications major, said she has worked for Dining Services for three years and is excited about the increase.

“It’s about time minimum wage went up,” she said. “Thirty cents might not seem like a lot to most people. That gives college students a little extra spending money.”

Daugherty said it is hard for people to live on $7.40 an hour when prices of groceries, gas and other living expenses are going up.

“That 30 cents is much needed when you’re trying to pay for college and rent,” she said. “We’re poor college students. We’ll take what we can get. I know it’ll be hard for small business owners, but it’s also hard for people who are trying to get by and pay bills.”


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Lily Gustafson, senior Spanish major said, she works at the Kent Market at the Student Center. She is a student manager. She said she does not believe the increase will have major affects on students.

“It was only by a few cents,” Gustafson said. “We are all drowning financially right now so a few cents isn’t going to do much more for us.”

Gustafson said she does think it is a good thing that minimum wage is being raised because the cost of living is going up. She said students are also faced with other financial burdens like high tuition costs and school expenses, but she said it might have an effect on the hiring process for certain jobs.

“I think it will affect the number of students getting hired in certain jobs like small business employees or maybe fast food but not campus jobs,” Gustafson said. “ It depends on availability of work-study and the demands of each individual job. Short-staffing would only create poor customer service and result in loss of business.”

Gretchen Julian, the director of Recreational Services said 85 of her 182 student employees will be affected by the raise.

“The raise really won’t affect the number of students we hire because we have to maintain staff levels,” she said. “We are not over-staffed but we do want to run safe and friendly facilities.”

Contact Maura Zurick at [email protected].