Opinion: Student Worker Pay Should Be Increased
As both a student and employee of Meredith College, I feel taken advantage of. Student workers on campus at Meredith make $8.25 per hour for their first year holding a job. Then, it increases by 30 cents every year afterward with a cap at $9.15 per hour. This pay rate is atrocious to any students working on campus at Meredith.
The minimum wage in North Carolina is $7.25 per hour, but the average adult makes $13 per hour in NC according to ZipRecruiter. That is almost $5 more than first-year student workers make at Meredith. According to Admissionsly, the average monthly college student expenses are about $2,000, which includes rent, car payments and gas, utility bills, cell phone service and food payments. If a student worker made $8.25 and worked for 40 hours per week, each month they would make $1,320. However, student workers are only allowed to work 10 hours per week at Meredith during the fall and spring semesters and 30 hours per week in the summer.
The minimum living wage in Raleigh for 1 adult with no children, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, would be over $16 per hour. Even if full-time college students aren't expected to be able to work full time, Meredith should demonstrate its commitment to providing a living wage by paying student employees at least $15 per hour.
Even if Meredith did allow full-time student work, few college students have the time to work 40 hours per week on top of classes and studying. My point still stands, though: if students could work 40 hours per week at Meredith, those hours would be wasted because students would still need to make nearly $700 more per month to cover the average cost of monthly bills. If these students also cover their own tuition without scholarships or financial assistance from parents or family, they would need to make even more. That’s a disgrace.
Paying students $15 per hour would enable students to have more flexibility and make them feel valued. Personally, I wouldn’t feel so overextended with my schedule if I could work fewer hours to make the amount of money I need. Meredith College’s low student worker wage is disrespectful to students’ time, which is scarce to begin with.
By Freya Dahlgren, Opinion Editor