Work-study wage increase for 2020-2021

Weekly+Comic+by+Poppy+Onsrud%0A-+In+reference+to+%22Work-study+wage+increase+for+2020-2021%22+in+News.

Artist - Poppy Onsrud

Weekly Comic by Poppy Onsrud - In reference to "Work-study wage increase for 2020-2021" in News.

Starting on Jun. 1, Luther College will increase the baseline wage for student workers from $7.25 per hour to $8.25 per hour. This decision is the result of the efforts of a task force of faculty and students, directed by Assistant Controller of Financial Services Andrew Bailey (‘08) and Vice President for Finance and Administration Eric Runestad. The initiative began as a grant project and eventually became part of Luther’s financial action plan.

Due to factors such as a slightly decreased participation in work study and declining enrollment, the task force found that they could increase hourly wages and still maintain the same number of hours awarded to each student.

While Luther’s overall expenditures on the student work program will increase, the operating budget will remain the same due to lower participation. This means that no additional money will need to be put aside to accomplish the committee’s goals.

Bailey was particularly invested in this project because his own work-study job as an undergraduate was important in developing his current career.

“I know that it is certainly possible for students to bring the ideas and skills they are developing in the classroom into student employment opportunities and make a real difference by contributing to the community through their work,” Bailey said.

Students have found benefits and shortcomings within the current work- study system. August Halverson (‘23) has enjoyed the convenience of his job as a mover for facilities.

“It seemed like a convenient way to make some spending money while at college,” Halverson said. “I wouldn’t have to travel off-campus and deal with the stress of having a job that wasn’t as understanding of the fact that I am a full-time student.”

Nick Greseth (‘23) believes that while his position with Photo Bureau gives him valuable experience, the pay doesn’t accurately represent what he does.

“Photography is a specialized skill,” Greseth said. “And it is frustrating when I know how much I would regularly be charging to shoot an event, and I compare it to what I get paid now.” According to Bailey, the committee has plans beyond increasing the baseline wage for student workers. Some of these potential changes may address the concerns of student workers like Greseth in upcoming years.

“We hope to create opportunities for students that are exceeding expectations to make more [money] and for that to happen through a performance evaluation process,” Bailey said. “We also plan on developing some new positions that require highly specialized skills and have a higher wage associated with those positions.”

Bailey hopes that changes to the student work system will benefit both the workers and the college by increasing pay and raising expectations.

“The college will benefit from the talent and skills of the students, and the students will benefit from having meaningful work experiences,” Bailey said.

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