Campus questions student worker pay

Milton Bain, a student worker in the Student Recreation Center cleans equipment for student use. Many students said it is not fair for all student workers to be paid the same, as some of them have more strenuous jobs.

From office jobs to long hours in the sun, most students employed by the university get paid the same. With the exception of a handful of graduate students, jobs offered by the university will only bring in minimum wage.

These jobs range from desk work like library and residential hall positions to maintenance work, administrative roles, intramural sports officials and SOAR counselors, according to the university’s website.

Some students, like Frankie Miller, said workers should be paid based on the type of work they do.

“It’s not fair that everyone gets paid the same,” Miller said. “The people who work harder should make more money.”

Student Employment Coordinator Stephanie Smith said student worker pay is determined based on federal minimum wage guidelines, which require employees make $7.25 per hour.

“Within an academic year, we employ up to 500 students,” Smith said. “Student employees play a big role with the university. If student employees were not employed, there are a lot of roles that many offices would not be able to perform.”

Freshman Ali Kelly said paying students the same no matter what job they do is not preparing them for life after graduation.

“I think it should be like the real world,” Kelly said. “College is supposed to prepare us for the real world.”

The work study program offered by the university is available to all students who are taking at least six hours of classes and have a grade point average of at least a 2.0, according to the university’s website.

Students are not allowed to exceed 20 hours per week so they can balance their job and classes, Smith said.

She said most students employed by the university work between 10 and 12 hours per week, however, the number of hours worked varies on a student-by-student or job-by-job basis.

“Departments also employ Graduate Assistantships for graduate students which offer tuition scholarship and a monthly stipend,” Smith said. “Graduate assistants can work up to 29 hours per week.”

All vacant positions are posted on LionJobs on the university’s career website. In order to apply, students will need an approved resume connected to their account.

Smith encouraged students to apply for multiple positions in departments that interest them, particularly ones that relate to their field of study.

Any student interested in applying for the federal work study program should file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid on the government’s website, Smith said.

Editor’s note: For more information, students should contact the Office of Career Planning and Development, located in Room 202 of the GUC or by phone at 256-765-4276.