As college students, it’s fairly stereotypical that we’re tight on cash — and guess what, most of us are. Consequently, the majority of us work hard for the money that we make and put it toward the things we need.
Back in November, New Jersey voters approved an increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 an hour. This is a great way for any student who makes minimum wage — and many who work on campus since many were paid $7.25. Even though an extra dollar an hour may not seem like much, every penny counts. Many of us would know how to make that small bonus go a long way.
Unfortunately, for student workers at Rider on campus, they’re not going to be seeing that extra money. The pay rate will go up a dollar to $8.25, and proportionately more for those previously paid at levels above the minimum. However, Rider plans to cut student hours so no one will make more money than he or she already does. Students will continue to make the same total amount of money but work fewer hours. Technically, students aren’t losing any money, but they’re not gaining any either.
According to a message from the Office of Disbursements, the extra money that would be needed to fund the pay increase isn’t available because of the tight budget Rider has this year. The message states, “Unfortunately, due to the university’s current financial circumstances, the additional $270,000 necessary to both increase hourly rates as a result of the change in minimum wage and to maintain the same number of hours cannot be funded by the operating budget.”
It’s understandable that the budget is extremely tight this year — we’ve seen that in the recent tightening of class sections. However, it’s unfortunate that hardworking students have to suffer. It wasn’t much of a pay increase — not nearly the $10.10 an hour President Obama is calling for as a national minimum wage.
There are different ways to go about increasing pay, and taking away students’ hours isn’t the right way to go about it. Neighboring schools TCNJ, Monmouth and Fairleigh Dickenson aren’t cutting the hours of their student workers; they’re raising pay and keeping the same hours. Rider should take note.
Countries all over the world pay workers more in terms of minimum wage than the United States. According to a study by buisnessinsider.com, Australia leads countries around the world with a minimum wage that converts to $16.88. Six other industrialized countries also top $7.25 an hour, even though the U.S. economy is by far the largest in the world. Students in the expensive East Coast may find little comfort in knowing our minimum wage beats Poland’s $2.83, Russia’s 97 cents and Sierra Leone’s sad 3 cents per hour.
The cut in hours could result in students quitting their on-campus jobs and looking for ones off campus that offer them more hours and more money than Rider does.
If their hours stayed the same, some students wouldn’t even have to seek jobs off campus, since it’s more convenient to have them on-campus. Not to mention students wouldn’t have to juggle multiple jobs to ensure that they have enough money to pay for their day-to-day expenses.
Some student jobs require more work than others, and some already are not being fully paid for all the work they do. For certain jobs, students simply have to sit around and only help someone when it’s needed. For others, they work more than their allotted number of hours a week. Ideally, a new pay scale should be created in which students get paid based on what job they do and how much work is actually done, but the least that can be done is pay students the money they deserve.
Ultimately, there’s not much we can do about the situation until the budget is sorted out. There isn’t enough money to pay everyone for the normal hours that they work. However, next year, Rider can sort out the budget and give the student workers their hours back and the pay increases that they so rightfully deserve.
The weekly editorial expresses the
majority opinion of The Rider News.
This week’s editorial was written by the Opinion Editor, Danielle Gittleman.
Printed in the 2/5/14 edition.