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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Students to see increase in work-study wages

<rleton raised the student wage rate to $9.75 an hour, increasing from the previous $9.28 per hour wage rate. While a forty-seven cent raise may appear minimal, it affects the majority of the campus. Nearly 80 percent of Carleton students are employed by the student employment office, according to Kris Parker, Associate Director of Student Financial Services.

The Carleton raise came in response to the Minnesota state legislature raising the state minimum wage to $9.50 over the summer. The student employment office increased the student wage rate above the newly mandated state rate because “it seemed appropriate that we would continue to pay students slightly above the minimum,” according to Rod Oto, Associate Dean of Admissions and Director of Financial Services.

“Carleton had been paying $9.28 per hour for many years without any changes, so many of us saw this change to the Minnesota minimum wage as a opportunity to review what we’re paying students,” Oto said. “We knew we’d have to go to $9.50, at the very least. So the question was, should we just do that or should we do something more?” To determine where the money for the wage increase would come from, Jane Rizzo, the Budget Director, assessed the efficiency of student employers. “She was able to identify a number of areas where the employers were not utilizing the full amount of money that they had been budgeted,” said Oto, “She went through the process of working with employers to see if they were willing to cut back on their budget to help pay for the increase and make the student employment program more efficient.” Additionally, “the budget has a little bit of room,” said Parker. Last year, the student employment office budgeted $3 million for student wages, but students only earned $2.7 million.

 “Part of the discussion in all of this is to reaffirm that students play an important role in helping us run the college. We just could not do it without help from the students,” Oto stated. “While some people believed going above the minimum was not necessary, we want to recognize that the time for our students is valuable.

“The more they can earn putting in an hour’s amount of work, the better for them to not just earn money for their college expenses, but also to then minimize the time they’re away from academic work,” he said. The current freshmen class of 2020 is also larger than usual, and the student employment office was briefly “concerned that the incoming class might gobble up the jobs because it requires more positions as a larger class,” Oto said. “We were able to absorb them without any problems.”

According to Parker, there were enough positions for all students who receive employment as a part of their financial aid award. In fact, there are still positions open. Parker added that the current number of students working for the college is expected to rise winter term after freshmen are settled on campus and students return from off-campus programs. Because there are currently open positions, students returning from abroad should be able to find employment. As for possible future increases in the state or federal minimum wage, Oto said that
“we’re not sure how that’s going to impact us. We’re pleased that we can offer students a little bit more than just the minimum, and I think it reflects the value we place on student employment and the time that students have to work. So we’ll see where it goes from here.”

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